When expanding your company globally, it’s essential to consider global marketing best practices for each country you enter. You need to know the various demographics and firmographics within a country’s market. It’s vital to understand the culture and how the culture influences target customers’ buying decisions. Understanding these things can help guide your marketing efforts and ensure that you have a strong foundation for success.
In this article, we’ll discuss the following global marketing best practices: Defining your target audience, researching potential competitors, understanding customer needs, wants, and cultural differences, and determining which marketing channels to include in your marketing channel mix. Let’s dive in…
1) Defining Your Target Audience
A successful international marketing plan starts with a proper understanding of your target audience. Defining Your Target Audience in the global market is just as important as you do domestically.
Your strategy must speak to the needs, wants, and desires of the market. To do so, you must research the demographic (age, gender) and firmographic (income level) data on your audience. These details help us better understand what motivates an individual to buy products or services abroad and help guide for more appropriate marketing messaging.
2) Research potential competitors and market challenges
Research your international market for potential competitors that offer similar products or services, as well as country regulations and restrictions that may apply to foreign businesses. Do a SWOT analysis to learn more about your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats vs. your competitors, as well as current and future regulatory hurdles you might face entering the global marketplace.
Perform a SWOT Analysis
What are your company’s strengths?
A company’s strengths can depend on the industry you operate in and your core competencies and expertise. For example, a bank with a novel mobile app may have an advantage over other banks due to its innovation. In contrast, a corporate law firm with extensive knowledge of international trade agreements would likely have a competitive advantage over other firms regarding those aspects for clients.
List your company’s strengths and what your company can excel at vs. competitors.
What are your company’s weaknesses?
A business’ weakness can be anything from a lack of in-house expertise to budget constraints. A retail clothing store might not have the resources for an extensive global marketing campaign, while a bank with limited in-house IT or web design experience would need to hire outside help. You may need to step up your game in areas your business is weak or compensate in your marketing messaging by highlighting your strengths and competitive advantages.
What are your company’s opportunities?
A company’s opportunities can be based on simple things like more competitive pricing and more available distribution. For example, suppose you’re in the clothing industry, and your competitor has an established “name” for themselves in that country with little to no competition. In that case, it may be a good idea to start by offering lower prices than they do so as not to scare customers away from purchasing your product– or risk being seen as overpriced for what the customer is getting.
On the other hand, if your product is of higher quality than competitors, there may be an opportunity to position your brand as the higher quality option in your marketing and charge more for your goods.
What are your company’s threats?
It’s essential to understand what your company’s threats are in the country you’re expanding into. For example, are there any international laws or restrictions that will affect your company’s ability to do business there?
Research what the government’s policies are for foreign companies operating in the country and if there are any restrictions or limitations on what you’re allowed to do.
Perhaps there is an opportunity to work with local partners that have existing relationships within these markets. Partnering with established businesses can help your company take advantage of its expertise and resources to expand more quickly. International sales and marketing partners of Sales Focus Inc, for example, are certified and trained in SFI’s S.O.L.D.™ process and methodology, and contextualize this tried and true methodology in various international markets. SFI certified partners helps businesses looking to launch and grow in new markets at a fraction of the price of installing direct sales and marketing resources.
When entering a new market, other threats to your business may include competition, intellectual property protection, and regulatory compliance.
After completing your SWOT analysis, you can implement your learnings into your global marketing strategy.
3) Understanding customer needs, wants, and desires
When entering a new global market, don’t assume that you know your target customers’ needs, wants, and desires. It would be best if you conduct research to determine what these are.
Surveying potential customers is a great way to accomplish this. Questions that will help uncover interests, barriers, and friction in the customer or buyer journey, as well as how much money they’re willing to spend on products or services to get the benefits they’re looking for.
The results will help you to tailor your global marketing campaign not only for the specific country but also for certain demographics. For example, in the United States, it might be important to promote a product or service as an affordable option for young adults, while in France, you would want to emphasize the luxury aspects of your brand.
Ask your target customers
· What are their expectations related to your products or services?
· What do they like and dislike about competitors?
· What benefits are they hoping to gain in exchange for their money?
· What value do they want to added to their life, family, or business?
· How much money are they’re willing to spend for a product or service that meets their expectations?
4) Cultural differences in different markets
Your target customers in the international market will have different expectations for your company than in your domestic market. Be sensitive to cultural nuances and differences, including how people think about themselves, their lives in relation to others, religion, family relationships, and other factors.
Be aware of behaviors that might be considered rude or inappropriate according to specific cultural values. Ensure your marketing message aligns with cultural norms and values, as this can highly influence whether or not a person is willing to purchase from your company.
5) Determining Marketing Channels
When looking at marketing channels in new markets, it’s essential to consider the best online and offline channels to reach your target customers.
Online marketing channels such as social media and blogs may work well for some businesses, while offline channels like kiosks at malls or television ads might be better for others.
It’s also important to consider what the best combination of online and offline marketing channels work well together in each international market you’re entering.
For example, a company from France with an online business model may find they do well with a marketing strategy that includes online channels like social media and French-language blogs. And offline channels like kiosks at malls or television ads.
Possibly your most important, and often often-overlooked, marketing channels is your website. The impression your website gives potential customers and how effectively it helps them through the buyer or customer journey is critical to business success.
· Ensure your website provides a good user experience, intuitive design, and quick loading time. Make sure users can easily find what they’re looking for with clean and seamless site navigation.
· Create helpful content relevant to your target audience’s needs and interests to engage them and build trust in your brand.
· Provide clear and easy conversion paths that guide site visitors smoothly through the buyer journey to generate leads or purchase your products.
· Make sure your website is optimized for mobile. Over 50% of web traffic is now on mobile devices. In many countries, this percentage is even higher.
Keeping these best practices in mind will help you address your target customers with messaging appropriate for that country and culture. Through the marketing channels your target customers spend their time engaging with the most. Consider partnering with established international sales and marketing
businesses that are certified and trained in
SFI’s S.O.L.D.™ process and methodology. Doing so can make launching and growing your business in new markets easier and far more cost-effective.