Marketing is a tool that reached its current form through thousands and thousands of years of evolution. Marketing itself isn’t exactly complicated. The simplest way to learn how to sell your product is to talk to friends and family and discuss your business. Somewhere, something will click and there you go; that’s your key point to build a marketing strategy. But, what if the person that’s going to buy your product is sitting halfway across the world. You may be thinking, “What’s the big deal? They’re also people like us, how much different would cross-country promotions need to be?” The answer to that question is, very. We’ll give you an example. Everyone has heard of Parker, one of the finest manufacturers of pens in the world with an amazing reputation globally. However, that reputation took a serious blow to the face when the company started advertising in Mexico. The producers had a tagline that translated to, “It won’t leak in your pocket and embarrass you”. However, the ad contained a word “embarazar” which meant impregnate. So, the sentence ended up becoming, “It won’t leak in your pocket and make you pregnant”. As you can guess, this was a pretty messy situation for Parker. You’re probably starting to see why it’s so important to tailor your advertisements and marketing strategies to the relevant target audience.
But, the question is, how do you do that? How can you figure out what people around the world need? Most of the time, people struggle to advertise to their locality, how can you possibility know what complete and total strangers with an entirely different way of life require? Well, that’s what we’re here to help you with. We have a few tips to understand an international audience that will definitely help you understand how to make something work globally. Without further ado, let’s jump into it.
1. Forget Everything the TV Taught You
This is probably the most important tip we could possibly give you. The thing is that Hollywood and the TV Industry is general tends to portray nations pretty incorrectly. If you started following everything the TV teaches you, you’d think all Brazilians do is play football all day. In order to succeed in a global market, the first thing you need to do is forget everything about the country that you saw on TV. The information pertained there could be so incorrect that it could end up ruining your company’s reputation in that region or locale to the point that you would never be able to advertise there again. So, double and even triple check stuff you already know before making it a part of your international marketing plan since some of it could be widely exaggerated.
2. Live Among Your Target Audience
The best way to understand what someone needs is to sit in front of him / her and listen to them talk. It’s that easy. If you’re planning on expanding to a new region, go and visit the place for a couple of weeks. Spend your time in bars, festivals and public gathering where you can talk to a lot of people. Stay social for a week and we can guarantee that you’ll know all there is to know about that specific country and take the first step to a successful international marketing research.
3. Make Friends with Local Influencers
Local influencers are an amazing tool you can use to popularize yourself in another country. These influencers have a of power on their community through social media and to put it bluntly, when they speak, people like to hear. The best part is that local influencers are always open to partnering up with multinational corporations since it’s mutually beneficial for both parties involved. So, if you can somehow get a popular influencer to put in a good word with the locality, you could enter the market pretty easily with a decent reputation.
4. Pay Attention to Language
As you read from the Parker example we talked about a little earlier, it is extremely critical to keep track of what your current content translates too. While we’re on the topic of translation, it would be a great idea if you gave up translation altogether. Find some local writers and tell them the situation you’re in. Have the guy create a company profile specifically for the region you’re advertising too. This isn’t particularly hard since you can find freelancers from all corners of the globe. However, make sure that the freelancer or writer creating your content is a native speaker, otherwise, there is going to be no advantage of paying that money to hire someone.
5. Learn about Offensive Content
One thing you should take away from this article is that you never know what could offend an individual of a certain ethnicity. This is the most critical element of marketing globally. For example, tipping is a common gesture inside the United States. As a matter of fact, it’s compulsory and you’re probably going to have an angry waiter if you forget about tips. However, travel way down South and go to Japan and the scenario will flip completely. Tips won’t exactly offend the Japanese, but the waiter won’t know what to do with the cash. Regardless, you’re going to have a really weird moment if you try to tip someone in Japan. So, point being, learn about the culture of the audience and their history before crafting you international marketing plan. It could help you out a lot.
6. Research the Local Competitors
Now this is something that all you are probably familiar with. This works just like what you would do to research companies in your country. You will see what they’re doing to attract customer attention and replicate the same methodologies. All you need to do is implement this exact strategy, but for companies on the other corner of the globe. The internet has obviously made this very simple. Just go on sites like Reddit or Quora and you can find a lot of information about local organization, what they’re doing right, but more importantly, what they lack in. This information is absolutely gold for you since you’re banking off the downfall of local competitors. Off of this, you could potentially create a reputation that could help you knock off a local competitor that’s been in the business much longer than you.
7. Collaborate with Local Competitors
Consider this scenario, you move to a completely new country, let’s suppose the country is Egypt. The transition can be pretty difficult. You don’t know the locality, you don’t know the markets, you don’t even know if it’s cold or hot. What if you had a family friend there, let’s suppose a brother living in Egypt, wouldn’t the transition become a 100% easier? You’d be able to stay at your brother’s home, you wouldn’t have to worry about food, transport, etc. Now, the whole purpose of going through this rather dull example is to help you understand that if you make a deal with some of the other country’s top organizations and collaborate with them, that could make the shift to another country so much more convenient. You’ll have a shoulder you could lean on which could also help you understand the local market.
8. Introduce Yourself to the Legal System
Legal systems across the world are completely different from one another. These days, especially do to things like Brexit, you need to be extra careful of what your company does and the legality of your operations in some other country. It’s highly improbable, but there’s a chance that something legal you do in your own country could be a crime in some other region. So, the best way to counteract this problem is to hire a foreign attorney that’s well-versed with the law and legal framework of both your and the targeted country. The attorney will be able to work about each module of your business, break it down and figure out if everything you’re doing is right according to the ‘new’ rule book. You should never take this lightly. If you violate even a couple of rules, your lack of international marketing research could come to bite you in the back. And, it won’t be a matter of ‘if’, the only question will be ‘when’.
So, that’s all the tips we had for today. The thing about marketing globally is that it’s really a high risk, high reward type of situation. Wrong marketing strategies could completely screw up your business. However, if done correctly and with the proper precautions, global marketing could propel your business to heights that you never imagined possible. It will prove out to be beneficial in every single aspect, especially financially. The whole process will be tedious. Learning new customs is a pretty challenging task especially if you follow our instructions and decide to visit the new country beforehand. But, as we said, done correctly, it could be the very thing you need to propel your country to a whole another level.