Hopping the plane of international marketing

Are You Using the Wrong International Marketing Strategy?

Today’s digital marketing technology can easily break down cultural and geographical communication barriers. Small businesses can now tap into the global marketplace with greater ease. In fact, no business is too small today to pursue business opportunities at the international level. However, it’s difficult for marketers to spend time in foreign countries to soak up needed knowledge. Without the right knowledge beforehand, an international campaign is nothing less than a hit or miss.

Research and Follow-Through Is the Key

Talk to industry professionals and the competition. Attend industry seminars and read every print and online publication you can get your hands on. These things will help you learn more about the three main types of international marketing strategies.

1. Global marketing takes into consideration that, even on a global scale, consumers have similar needs and wants. Positioning your company to sell on a global scale comes with certain benefits. Your product or service will likely improve. You can also gain a strong competitive advantage if you’re successful. With a global marketing strategy, you can also increase consumer awareness. Global marketing can also lead to reduced costs and increased savings.

2. National marketing takes on a slightly different tone. Marketers approach each target country with a different marketing strategy that adapts itself to specific needs and preferences. Marketers can apply their strategies to customs, traditions, and consumer preferences.

3. A hybrid marketing strategy uses standard marketing practices of one or several marketing techniques and attempts to adjust campaigns to match the caliber and conditions of certain campaigns on the national market.

There are reasons that global marketing campaigns fail even with the best intentions in mind, and what’s believed to be the best preparation:

  • There are too many marketers who tend to view an overseas market in vague terms. If you listen closely, you’ll hear it all the time. “We’re thinking about shifting our focus to Southeast Asia, or doubling our European growth.” You can imagine people sitting around the marketing table, nodding their heads in approval, without the slightest idea of what type of demographics and cultural attributes apply to their country of interest. Every country has its own local laws, currency and terms of payment, cultural norms or oddities, and unique ways of doing business.
  • All three marketing incentives can fail when companies fail to adapt their online and retail strategies to the country. Of course, branding is important. However, different markets may favor different sales and marketing approaches. Companies sometimes try to launch identical products in completely different markets.
  • Another mistake that marketers looking to break into national or international markets can make is failing to partner with those who understand their local market. Joint-venture global marketing partnerships are one way to approach the challenge. Another way to approach global marketing is to partner with a competitor who, like you, is looking for an international win.

Are There Ways to Test Your Marketing Strategy?

There are always indicators along the way that will indicate if your marketing strategies, big or small, are working. One of the biggest indicators that a marketing strategy isn’t working is that customers aren’t walking through the front door or buying online. For true testing, you’ll have to spend time examining each phase of your program. Then, the adjustments you’ll make will depend on your knowledge, experience, and will to win. However, there are several things you and your team can check off before the campaign starts that can give you an indication of whether you can win or lose. The greatest test for success begins before the marketing campaign, and not while it’s in motion or it’s over.

Have you educated yourself and your team well enough on the customs and business etiquette of the international market? Have you done a thorough study of the country’s currency, and how it fluctuates with import and export timelines? Are you or your team experts on the country’s rules and laws for governing business? Have you conducted enough research with focus groups to determine if your product or service will work on the international stage? Have you taken enough time to study a competitor’s success in the same area?

If you can answer yes to all the above, then your company has a much better chance of winning on the international stage. The odds are in your favor that you’re using the right international marketing strategy.

If you’re getting ready to launch into the international marketing scene, you need the help of an expert to keep you on the right path. Contact Level343 for consulting help on your marketing campaigns. With 6 countries, 8 team members, and 13 languages, we put the pulse of the marketing world at your fingertips.

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