While the world becomes more globalized and interconnected, marketing remains largely local. That’s a problem because when it comes to promoting your product or service to people outside your country, you’re usually forced to do it the hard way—by word of mouth and traditional advertising.
As a marketer, you want to launch products and campaigns in countries around the world, but you don’t have the resources or knowledge to do so effectively. If you want to succeed in international marketing, then you need to change that. You also need to prepare for the unexpected: localized market conditions, cultural differences, and language barriers that stand in the way of your success.
Let’s dive into how you can do international marketing right, step by step.
Step One: Create a Strategy
Like any other part of your business, your international marketing strategy needs to start with a clear goal in mind. And just like any other part of your business, you should be willing to review and re-evaluate your strategy from time to time as you learn more about the markets you’re trying to reach and the obstacles that stand in the way of success.
To that end, it’s very important that you develop an international marketing plan, which sets forth your intentions and the objectives you hope to achieve. In addition to a clear goal, your plan must also include the following elements:
- An idea of the markets you’re aiming for
- An idea of the competitive landscape
- A clear image of the type of person you’re trying to reach (your target audience)
- An idea of the purchase process (i.e. how customers will find your product or service, what their next step will be, etc.)
- A plan to measure the success of your efforts
With these elements in mind, you can craft a marketing strategy that is both contextually and operationally sound. By doing so, you’ll be able to make the right decision about how and where to invest your marketing dollars and which tactics to deploy.
Step Two: Identify the Best Platforms
Now that you have a clear idea of the markets you’re trying to capture and the general strategy you’ll follow to do so, you can move on to the next step: identifying the best platforms for marketing to each targeted audience.
In doing so, it’s important to keep in mind the devices and channels available to each one of them. For example, if your target audience is mostly made up of young adults, then you might want to consider focusing on digital platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. But if your target audience is made up of older people, then consider focusing your efforts on print publications and billboards. And of course, if you want to reach the most people, then consider using several platforms and channels simultaneously.
Step Three: Select The Right Media
Once you have your digital platforms in mind, you can move on to the next step: selecting the right media for your marketing campaign.
If you’re just getting started, then you might want to consider investing in traditional media. For example, if you want to target UK consumers, then you could look into buying a newspaper or magazine in that country. Or if you want to target people in Spain, then you could look into buying a Spanish newspaper or magazine. Or if you want to target people in China, then you could look into buying a Chinese newspaper or magazine.
Step Four: Analyze The Results
Finally, we come to the last step of the process, which is analyzing the results of your efforts. Specifically, you’ll want to look into two areas:
- Attractiveness – how many people responded to the marketing you did (i.e. opened your email, clicked on your ad, etc.)
- Actionability – how easy is it for someone to take the desired action (i.e. buy your product, sign up for your newsletter, etc.)
As you can see, nothing is set in stone when it comes to marketing. Just like any other discipline, marketing is continually evolving and changing as technology and the world around it evolve and change. That’s why it’s so important to remain both strategic and flexible.