What used to be a luxury for companies of a large scale is now accessible to businesses of any size. E-commerce, the internet, and the ability to effortlessly connect with thousands of suppliers worldwide has made international expansion easier than ever. But getting a product or service overseas isn’t the end of the story – you need to know how to market your company in foreign countries.
Cultural differences, socioeconomic status, and consumer buyer behavior are all obstacles to international expansion. The varying preferences and marketing standards of each country make it difficult for businesses to market their products in foreign locations. Having an international marketing strategy is crucial to avoiding failure in global business. Here are some of our tips regarding marketing your company in foreign countries:
How to Market Your Company in Foreign Countries
If you are looking to start marketing your company in foreign countries, the following tips are some of our best advice.
1) Marketing Channel Preference
Everyone understands consumer buying behavior and marketing tactics in their home country the best. Whether it’s TV, YouTube ads, social media marketing, email marketing, cold calling – every industry has a certain marketing channel that works best for their product/service. However, many companies are surprised to find that these marketing-channel-to-industry correlations change as you move into foreign markets. What may be more effectively communicated through TV ads in one country may work better as a billboard in another.
The biggest tip regarding marketing channel selection for your product/service in another country is research. Make sure that you research how the industry you are pursuing advertises in the market you are moving to. Remember that the battle still exists between international vs. global marketing. Whether or not you want to custom tailor each marketing message for different foreign markets is up to you based on which strategy you select. Global marketing may work in foreign markets that are relatively similar to your home country, which leads to our next point.
2) Global vs. International Marketing Strategy
As we have covered in previous posts, you should select from one of two overarching marketing strategies. Global marketing and international marketing are both suitable options, but each requires different resources, employees, and approaches.
Global marketing aims at universalizing marketing messages. For example, suppose you are a footwear company that is based in the U.S. and is planning on expanding to the U.K. You have made commercials and Facebook ads while selling in the U.S. and you now need a marketing strategy for the U.K. From a global marketing approach (which aims at universalization), you would broadcast these same commercials and ads in the U.K. In other words, there is no specialization or customization done to the marketing messages to cater to a new audience – they are simply repeated in the foreign market you are pursuing.
An international marketing approach customizes marketing messages to cater to the preferences of each country. In our previous example, the footwear company expanding to the U.K. would study the market in the U.K. and develop specific marketing messages/ads that would only be displayed to the U.K. audience. This obviously requires more time, dedication, and perhaps a larger work force, but helps a country to fully adopt the culture of the market it is expanding to.
3) Staffing Requirements
Although global marketing and international marketing approaches require different levels of interactivity and customization of marketing messages, being properly staffed for any international endeavor is important. Marketing your company overseas is a difficult and demanding action and requires a great deal of commitment. If you have the ability to, it is smart to have an individual or team that is specifically devoted to your foreign markets. Analyzing costs, revenue, conversions, marketing messages, and supply is a lot of extra work that is bound to fall through the cracks if improperly staffed. If you haven’t yet, start looking for personnel to focus specifically on your international business.
International expansion is no small deal. Marketing your company in foreign markets is demanding and difficult at times. Depending on the market you are pursuing, you may be able to take a global marketing approach to ease the stress load associated with international business, but make sure you fully understand whether or not this approach is right for your company. We have heard plenty of stories of global marketing failures.
If you need any help with developing an international/global marketing plan, or would just like to learn more about the topic, feel free to give our team a call and we would be happy to help you!