Global marketing means promoting your products or services in multiple countries. It goes beyond sales, encompasses all the stages of interaction with your customers, and presupposes tailoring your brand to the needs of local audiences.
This is not an easy craft. In order to succeed in the global arena, entrepreneurs should approach it thoughtfully, conduct in-depth research and always keep in mind the unique characteristics of various national markets. In exchange for your efforts, you can expect to receive immense profits and build a stunning global brand image.
What is a Global Marketing Strategy?
While only the richest companies can afford to promote their products worldwide, for many others, an international marketing plan covers a limited number of countries or regions. As a rule, marketers distinguish between the following zones: Africa, Europe, Asia, the Middle East, the Pacific (including Australia), Latin America, and North America. If you work in only one country or zone, you are conducting local or regional marketing.
It is important to understand the difference between an international marketing strategy and an international production strategy. The latter refers only to manufacturing products, and does not cover their promotion and distribution to customers. You should not combine these two strategies. Hire separate teams for implementing each of them.
A comprehensive global marketing plan typically includes the following elements:
- Use of the same company name in all countries.
- Branded packaging, logos, storefronts, and other signs to help customers recognize your company among your competitors.
- Uniform style of advertisements.
- Equitable prices converted into local currency.
- Parallel sales events (discounts, promotions, etc.)
Each global brand strategy involves the creation of uniform standards that can be applied to multiple markets and fit organically into local environments. All clusters of your target audience should receive similar advertising messages that will be accepted and understood equally well, no matter where your customers are located.
Whie global marketing extends your influence, creates a unique image for your brand, and helps you stand out from your competitors, you will have to surrender some of the benefits of local marketing, including close communication with your clients and having a clear idea of their needs. You will also risk being beaten by niche companies in your local arena.
Still, the benefits a well-thought-out international marketing plan will more than compensate for potential losses. One great advantage is that uniform marketing tactics can be used multiple times in different regions, bringing you more profits with less effort.
Reasons to Engage in International Marketing
Some businesses hesitate to engage in global competition for fear of the unknown. But the truth is that even local markets are not entirely stable. Using the Internet as an effective and easily accessible promotional tool, nimble foreign competitors can intrude into your local niche and poach your clients.
In other words, if you do not reach out to new regions, someone will definitely reach out to yours. The best defense is a strong offense, so do not wait until international companies push you out of your market. Act now to offset future losses.
Here are some meaningful factors that should inspire you to scale your brand:
- Challenges are not always bad, since they help businesses become stronger and wiser. You have a chance to gain international experience and build a stronger brand.
- While your local competitors practice the same approaches from year to year, selling mediocre products at modest profits, you will be discovering new ways to improve your product, to deliver the utmost benefits to different categories of customers. As a result, you will build an extensive loyal clientele and generate large profits.
- If you leverage effective marketing practices, more people will find out about your company. They will become an active user community that helps you build a stunning brand image.
- Standardization allows you to invest fewer resources and time developing marketing tactics and materials. The Internet has made global promotion accessible and affordable. You do not need to spend tons of money to reach audiences in distant corners of the world. You can easily translate your advertising messages with just a couple of clicks or taps.
Prior to entering the international arena, most companies establish themselves in a local niche. As a rule, their scaling path includes the following stages:
- Trading in the domestic market.
- Trading in the domestic market + export to other regions.
- Launching company departments in foreign countries, and adapting to the preferences of local customers.
- Developing a uniform brand image that appeals to all client groups.
There are no specific timeframes for each stage, since the duration varies for different companies.
Basics of an Effective Global Marketing Campaign
Let’s consider in detail the key things you should do to successfully introduce your product to the international market.
1. Conduct In-Depth Market Research
It may be unclear how to advertise your brand to Asians if you have never been to Asia and know nothing about the habits and preferences of Asian people. Tactics that helped you succeed at home may prove absolutely useless in this new environment. Before venturing into uncharted territory, thoroughly study the needs, customs, and cultural norms of your future clients. Determine what trends interest them, and which channels people prefer for communication.
2. Develop a Marketing Strategy
Migration to an international market goes beyond translating your existing promotional materials into a new language. Find ways to tailor your brand to the local rules while at the same time preserving its uniqueness and uniformity. Determine which features you will customize and which can remain unchanged.
To avoid costly mistakes you should thoroughly plan all your activities, audit your initial resources, and visualize the results you want to achieve.
Answer the following questions:
- Why do I want to engage in global marketing?
- What benefits will I get?
- What metrics will I use to evaluate the effectiveness of my marketing efforts?
Then compile a detailed plan, specifying all steps towards your set goals.
3. Create Customized Messages
To preserve a unified image of your brand, you should translate the same messages to all your customers. However, the format, style and intonation of your appeals may need to be adjusted to specific audience clusters.
To customize your marketing strategy, use different presentation types for your products, tailor marketing events to national holidays and traditions, and select channels that are most popular in a certain country.
With customization, your company will fit organically into a local environment without appearing alien to your prospects, gaining their trust and loyalty.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
The following issues can emerge on your path to global success, so be sure to work around them.
1. Insufficient Customization
When migrating to new markets, some businesses fail to properly study them to distinguish key national features and traditions. Also, they often draw a blurry line around their zones of influence.
If you want to sell your products in Africa, bear in mind that it is a large continent. Each African country has its own unique customs, norms, laws, currency and payment options. What works for Zimbabwe may not work for Algeria.
To achieve your goals, be attentive to details and accurately determine which practices will yield the best results in your new locations.
2. Ineffective Marketing Channels
While marketing on YouTube and Facebook may work for your domestic marketing plan, the same platforms may not be as effective for reaching foreign customers. They may prefer to use Twitter, Vimeo or local social networks, or search for goods and services on websites you have never heard of.
It is crucial to study the shopping behaviors of your new audience to determine which channels work best for them. After this, you will have to develop customized promotional messages without changing your key concept, to preserve the unique image of your brand while presenting it in new ways.
3. Products Not Adapted to Customers
Many companies are inspired to jump into the global arena to outpace tough competition at home. An underdeveloped niche in a foreign country increases your chances of becoming a market leader, or even establishing a global monopoly.
However, local customers may not buy into your offers if the key characteristics and benefits of your products are unclear. People who have never come across products like yours may need additional information about their use and benefits.
To find a starting point for interacting with your global customers, conduct market research to determine the degree of customer awareness of your business and products. You might consider selling the simplest version of your product that anyone can master. This is especially relevant for tech innovations that can only be adopted if the country has advanced infrastructure to support them.
4. Unrealistic Expectations
Some companies excel at market research and accurately determine customer needs, but fail to realistically estimate their own strengths, weaknesses, and chances for success. They rush into a new niche unprepared and lacking necessary resources, with already-made investments making it too late to turn back.
You should analyze both external and internal factors. Have you gained sufficient experience in the domestic market to move ahead? Are you ready to compete with industry giants in the global arena? Does your team have enough knowledge to serve foreign customers?
If you overlook your weaknesses and fail to turn them into strengths, you may not be able to withstand global competition. Do not undertake a load you cannot carry. Take a sober look at your company and decide whether it is ready to cope with the challenges of global commerce.
5. Inattention to Logistics and Payment Issues
A unified promotional approach can be developed for both social media and content on your website, but the same is not true for logistics and payment operations. You need to learn to work with local currency, select special delivery services and billing models for each market, and establish a smooth and prompt process for marketing and sales. Also, it is important to keep time zones in mind and email your customers when they are most active online.
6. Not Collaborating With Locals
Integrating your brand into a new market will be easier if you attract native specialists to your new office. Locals know about the needs and financial opportunities of their region, and can help pinpoint the most popular shopping platforms and informational channels. Native experts can help you build a bridge between your past experience and future international success.
The benefits and opportunities of international marketing by far outweighs its risks. Bypass potential dangers by realistically evaluating your available resources, thoroughly studying the markets you want to enter, developing a unified brand image, and customizing your marketing campaign to each targeted country.
Stick to our tips, avoid common mistakes, scale your company, and see your revenues grow exponentially.