What’s the best way to connect with international audiences while avoiding brand missteps and do-overs? A well-thought-out global marketing strategy. Following global marketing best practices can help you nurture, engage and convert international target audiences.
What is a global marketing strategy?
A global marketing strategy is part of an overall strategy to help your business expand into new markets across the world. The goal is to reach a wider audience by creating a scalable approach to marketing that considers the unique needs and preferences of customers in international locales, while maintaining brand consistency across all markets.
A global marketing strategy typically involves:
- Extensive market research to identify customer needs and preferences
- A clear brand identity that resonates with customers in your target markets
- Localization strategies that align with specific cultural, linguistic and regulatory nuances
- Adapting and customizing marketing efforts to meet the unique needs of customers in your target markets
- Technology and digital platforms to reach global customers
Why pursue global marketing opportunities?
Developing a global marketing strategy may seem daunting, but the positives significantly outweigh the concerns. So, what are the benefits of a global marketing strategy?
Expanding your marketing efforts to international audiences enables your company to tap into new markets and customer segments. As your audience grows, so does the potential for increased revenue. It’s an investment opportunity that, when done correctly, increases the potential for a positive financial return.
Increase brand awareness in international markets
Getting your car to go from zero to 10 mph requires more energy than 10 to 20 mph. For the same reason, building brand awareness in a new market can be particularly challenging. Rather than starting from scratch, a solid global market strategy gives you a roadmap to follow that makes it easier to reach your new target audience in a way that resonates, while staying true to your brand.
Improve the quality of your product offerings
Insights into new global markets can be conducive to fine-tuning your processes and products for those markets. Being exposed to new ideas, technologies and business practices can stimulate innovation and help drive long-term growth.
Gain a competitive advantage by expanding internationally
Expanding from your domestic, familiar market to the global marketplace gives you access to more customers, new talent and greater possibilities. Global marketing strategies help companies get a foothold in the market before the competition, thereby reaching new customers first. It also enables you to adapt quickly to customer demands or market trends.
Global marketing challenges
Without a keen cultural eye, even the best planned campaign can falter — regardless if it has enjoyed previous success in other markets. In order to get it right, a healthy dose of customer data and business intelligence comes into play, but there are some common pitfalls. Roadblocks you may encounter when rolling out a global digital marketing campaign include:
Different countries and regions have different regulatory requirements for marketing, advertising and product labeling, which can make it challenging for companies to adhere. For example, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe affects how and when you’re permitted to collect user information for ad targeting.
Adapting to new markets
Campaigns and messaging have been created for a reason. So, it stands to reason that your company will want to maintain that messaging as much as it can — even while expanding into other regions. Knowing how to adapt to new markets helps you gain the most exposure for your brand with the right audiences in the right way.
Even successful global brands have faltered with language barriers when entering a new market. Poor or shoddy translations can muddle your brand’s messaging. Professional translation and localization teams can employ experienced, in-country linguists with local marketing know-how to make sure you hit the mark.
Localization vs standardization: Two complementary approaches to global marketing
As you expand globally, you’ll need to decide how to approach marketing to your new customers. Localization tailors strategies, campaigns and resources at the local level. A standardization strategy takes the opposite approach, delivering a uniform message and consistent content across markets.
Both of these strategies offer advantages, but some companies may benefit more from one approach over the other, depending on the type of business, size of the organization and globalization goals.
Most successful international businesses strike a balance between the two. For instance, Garaventa, a Canadian manufacturer that designs, sells and installs compact elevators and wheelchair lifts faced two major challenges when it came to building a global brand: differing local accessibility laws and cultural perspectives on physical disabilities. To stay true to its mission, the company took a blended approach by starting with the story the brand wanted to tell and connecting its brand elements to each local audience.
International marketing strategy tips
Ready to become a “glocal” brand? Here are six tips to help you successfully localize your marketing campaigns across languages, cultures and regions to most effectively connect with new markets and achieve brand success.
1. Bring in the right talent
Employees are a company’s most valuable resource. Businesses that excel at talent management grow 58% faster and are 72% more profitable. Globalization expands your company’s talent pool worldwide, allowing your business to hire people who live or work in the target locale, or have experience with the region and its culture. Assembling an international marketing team with the right skills and qualifications will give you a competitive advantage.
2. Conduct comprehensive market research
Failing to understand subtle distinctions between different global markets and demographics before a global launch can be a critical mistake. For instance, Starbucks struggled to get a foothold in Italy because Italian coffee culture is profoundly different from the Starbucks experience. After significantly altering its product range through extensive market research and collaboration with local businesses, the brand has been able to gain customer appreciation.
3. Develop an international SEO strategy
From communicating to search engines that your site caters to visitors in a certain country or in a particular language to determining which search engines you should be optimizing for (e.g., Baidu is popular in China and Yandex is popular in Russia), harnessing the power of international SEO is key to your growth strategy.
4. Localize your content marketing campaigns
Content marketing requires careful, strategic localization in order to be effective in new languages and locales. Depending on the market, a transcreation approach may be more effective, which means creating entirely new original content designed to align with local needs and tastes.
5. Partner with localization specialists
Marketing assets and brand messaging need to be carefully localized to fit the language and culture of a new locale. From translation of existing content to transcreation strategies where new campaigns are needed, your best bet is to partner with a professional localization agency. With the right team, brand awareness and cultural insights, your global marketing will create the right buzz and build your business in your target language market.
6. Set KPIs and measure results
Measuring the impact of your local marketing strategy can be tough in itself. Knowing how to measure the effectiveness of your global strategy can be even harder. First, set strategic goals for your international marketing campaigns and identify the right metrics to measure success or failure. Tracking the right key performance indicators (KPIs) can also help you understand how your plan is impacting your organization’s business goals. Some metrics to consider are:
- Market share
- Number of new customers acquired
- Increase in revenue
- Customer satisfaction score (CSAT)
Once you establish useful metrics, measure tangible results and interpret data using cultural expertise, you can make informed decisions about where to allocate budget to help your business grow internationally.
Scale your growth with Acclaro
When you’re ready to take your business global, partner with a strategic translation and localization agency that helps the world’s leading companies succeed across cultures.
Acclaro will combine your strengths with ours to create tailored solutions that serve your goals. Contact us today to learn how we can help your business open up new opportunities around the world.