Not so long ago, international marketing was something only large, established businesses could afford to consider. The internet brought with it a new age of globalisation and now, even the smallest of start-ups can market and sell to international businesses and audiences.
Running a successful international marketing campaign, however, requires skill, knowledge and a lot of planning and research. Here are three tips we suggest you undertake before you get started.
1) Be aware of your competition
Marketing to an international audience is going to be more difficult than marketing locally. You may be in direct competition with brands who are established in your desired location and it can feel like you’re starting from scratch.
To identify the types of competition your business will be up against, you’re best to assess and identify brands through conducting small, but focused marketing research. Your findings should then form part of a wider situation analysis.
Once you have a good idea of who your main competitors are, conduct some research on their strengths and weaknesses¹. Are there any opportunities where your brand could stand out? This will help build ideas for your future marketing campaign.
Do your identified competitors attract their target audiences via cost leadership or product differentiation?² Narrowing this down could help you to focus on profit margins and product marketing strategies. It also helps to determine your company’s value proposition in target locations.
2) Know your audience
Where do they live? What do they do? What do they value? Without this information, you will not be able to craft a successful plan of action for your campaign.
This type of analysis will help you to understand how consumer decision making might differ in each of your target markets and how you might adjust your marketing message based on geography and culture.
Understanding the customer’s decision-making process (as well as the basis of such decision-making) is listed as one of the outcomes on our Online MBA’s core year 1 module, Marketing:
“Within the module, students learn about the complex buyer decision making process and the critical thought stages that customers experience. We also discuss the key differences between a consumer making a routine ‘need-based’ purchase or a complex ‘want-based’ purchase” says Dr Sarah Montano, Lecturer in Marketing, University of Birmingham.
This demonstrates how the consumer decision-making journey is much more complex than before. Therefore, marketers need to be aware of such changes in order to better understand consumers internationally. Customer loyalty is also now much harder to achieve than before, as purchase decisions are often not made consciously.³ Read up on models so you can be prepared for your challenges ahead – especially when marketing internationally.
3) Develop a plan
Once you’ve uncovered your potential competition and understand your target audience, it’s time to develop a marketing plan. Success with international marketing does not happen overnight, so your plan must focus on how your campaign will develop overtime:
“By undertaking the International Marketing module, students will learn the core principles of marketing. We will discuss how you can add value by understanding the turbulent and challenging marketing environment. Understanding this will allow you to consolidate, diversify and enhance the value offered to your customer”, adds Dr Sarah Montano.
Developing a marketing plan therefore requires a focus on measurement and analytics which is then followed by understanding:
Dr Sarah Montano adds, “By understanding these principles you will be able to create and develop a competitively strategic marketing plan.”
You want to ensure your message won’t be lost in translation, so follow our tips and you will be on the way to greater marketing success.
Gain the international marketing skills you need
As globalisation continues it becomes more important to have the skills to be able to market internationally. Do you want to be able to put global marketing strategies into practice?
If you would like to gain the skills and understanding required to successfully plan, launch and run an international marketing campaign, our Online MBA and Online MSc International Business offer marketing modules with the aim of helping students understand the broad scope of marketing and decision making at a higher level.
Expand your business expertise and learn how you can take your career further by filling out our request for information form or calling +44 (0)800 032 7101 to speak to a member of our Admissions Team.
Companies with successful global marketing strategies:
¹ UNKOWN (2013) What is SWOT analysis? A simplified definition. Pestleanalysis.com [online] Available at: <http://pestleanalysis.com/what-is-swot-analysis/> [Accessed 08/03/2017]
² MINDTOOLS (UNKNOWN) Porters generic strategies – choosing your route to success. Mind tools [online] Available at: <https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newSTR_82.htm> [Accessed 08/03/2017]
³ STAPLEHURST, G. (UNKOWN) Point of view. How consumers buy brands: the new decision journey. Kantar Milwardbrown [online] available at: <https://www.millwardbrown.com/Insights/Point-of-View/How_Consumers_Buy_Brands_The_new_decision_journey/> [Accessed 28/02/2017]