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The phrase “no man is an island” can also be applied to businesses. Successful entrepreneurs and business leaders will tell you that being at the top of the competition isn’t the only way to prosper in the local market. Don’t be afraid to consider an international marketing strategy.
While most businesses find their success in a single country or region, it restricts a business’ potential growth. When companies expand their business internationally, the reality is they can spread their wings and transition into a thriving company. This is achievable through understanding your company’s growth and what pools to look into when your business faces hardships.
Taking your business international is a great idea, but you need proper preparation and in-depth research. You need to ensure your company will flourish rather than sink when you go international. You should also understand your business, products, and services. While this seems obvious, the path to international marketing is littered with companies that failed to fully learn their strengths and weaknesses.
When you implement an international marketing strategy well, there are many benefits your business will acquire, including :
Ensure you explore and understand the market you are looking to expand into and if your product or service will fit there. One of the crucial areas to look into is law and regulations. Different markets are governed by different policies that prohibit or allow the selling of certain products.
Many nations like the EU prohibit the US from importing chlorine-washed chicken as it exposes its users to health and hygiene issues. Other nations also hinder the importation of goods like narcotics and firearms that are illegal in other nations.
You should also research any tariffs imposed on goods and how they will affect your profit margin. You need to understand all tax obligations to pay while operating in international markets. Ensure you research and understand all regulations and how your product conforms to them. In many cases, you may need to acquire some product variants to help them be acceptable in international markets.
Any business that advances its market overseas must establish its marketing roots locally. The business must meet the demands of each market. Your company may offer the best products to people in Canada but may not be worthwhile in the United States or elsewhere.
Ensure your marketing materials design, images, and words relate clearly and easily with overseas people. Do a test of your marketing language to determine whether you can surge your sales and market shares through localizing your websites and products.
According to The New York Times, Wal-Mart is an excellent example of getting this wrong. The locals in South Korea like buying small packages at several stores. They like having local discount chains, and buildings to have a certain aesthetic. All of this flies directly in the face of how the mega chain does business, which is why they pulled out of South Korea in 2006.
When exploring markets with different cultures or languages, ensure you outsource your marketing communications, at least at the beginning. While many companies prefer to keep their marketing in-house, your international marketing strategy needs individuals who are skilled in speaking to your target country. Not only in how the words are translated, but how your product translates.
Take, for instance, Wal-Mart again, but this time in Japan. Unbeknownst to the company’s marketing team, Japan associates low prices with cheap quality. So you can imagine how their target Japanese market took the campaign “Every Day Low Prices”. Instead of swarming to get “low prices every day”, they were hesitant to shop there because of fear of low quality. Had they used the services of an international marketing company that understood the market, they may have been more successful.
The most overwhelming part of developing an international strategy is convincing a global market why they should purchase your products over their local provider. Your product must stand out from that of your competitors, whether through innovation or customer convenience. Businesses might seek a local company’s service to distribute their products in an international market. It’s a great step as a local company understands the market dynamics and is a recognized and familiar brand.
Markets are different from consumers, and there is nothing like one size that fits all products. You have to tailor your strategy and product to fit the global market. For example, if you own a food business, you will have to design your products to fit the local market. Some eateries like McDonalds have different food tastes and menus in all its restaurants due to differences in culture, religion, and beliefs.
Make sure your marketing and products don’t bring about cultural misunderstandings when exported abroad. You don’t want to tarnish your product name when translated to a local language, and it turns into profanity. Ensure you hire a local expert to review your products and point out potential drawbacks before entering the market.
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