Global marketing is the process of customising your marketing techniques to adapt to the conditions of another culture. Global marketing is more than selling your services on a foreign market. It involves planning, creating, and promoting your brand in a new market.
Before expanding to a new country, you need to understand the local culture. Culture is the way of life of a group of people. Each country has a unique culture, with variations among demographic groups that live within the same area.
Global marketing requires refining your message to accommodate all differences to ensure your products’ qualities aren’t lost in translation.
Don’t tap into a foreign market before checking the following factors because they influence your expansion’s success.
Sensitivity in the local culture
Understating the local culture is essential during business expansion. Get it right and you lay the foundations of a successful business. Get it wrong and your business heads to collapse. People can forget a minor insensitivity, but a cultural one can irk your public.
Venturing into a new market requires learning about its culture and understanding how it perceives your services. You need to appeal to your target audience for your products to sell successfully.
It’s easy to get off on the wrong footing when not studying the local culture. If you plan to expand to Japan, you need to learn how to bow appropriately. If you want to expand to Australia, you need to ensure the locals understand what message you want to send, even if they also speak English.
For example, Japanese, South Koreans and French people prefer a light handshake, while Europeans consider a strong handshake a proof of determination.
Research states that recently brands started to overlook the demand for ethic products outside their original target group. For example, white people constitute over 70% of the total listeners of hip-hop music. In the past, the primary takeaways for this product were black people.
The bottom line is you don’t have to make assumptions about a group’s preferences before researching its culture.
Some insights about a particular area helped you decide to expand your business. But some insights don’t serve as market research, and don’t provide a correct overview of the industry.
Don’t let your enthusiasm curb your chances to succeed. Making the move without careful planning will lead to great financial loses, because global expansion is a tricky step, even for a seasoned entrepreneur. Don’t take concrete action before thoroughly assessing the market, and understanding if your brand is relevant there. Does your target public need the services you provide?
Buyers’ needs and demands vary from country to country, and only because your venture is successful in your home country, it doesn’t mean the targeted culture is ready to accept it. Many famous brands (see Huawei in the USA) failed to succeed because they didn’t perform thorough market research. Check if there is a need for your service on the local market, and launch it only if the targeted public needs it.
Some ethnic groups respond better to persuasive messages, while others to supporting information. Italians and French prefer dream-oriented and fantastic content. Japanese prefer soft-sell messages, so a hard sell ad doesn’t have any impact on them. French and Swedish audiences prefer marketing messages infused with symbolic allusions. Market research unveils the type of marketing the target audience prefers, and works as a warranty for your success. You should learn more about market research before planning a business expansion.
Do you speak the local language?
If you don’t speak the local language you should hire a translator. Even if you have basic language knowledge you should ask a translator to assist you to ensure pieces of your discourse aren’t misinterpreted.
The American Airlines used the phrase “Fly in Leather” to promote their services, but they didn’t know that the local slang uses the word leather for nude. Their campaign had no success in Mexico, and the company had to invest in brand reputation management campaigns to help the public forget their mistake.
The American Airlines aren’t the only ones that didn’t research to find out if the local language has a different meaning for the moto they decided to use. Coors has a hip phrase “Turn it loose” but in Spanish it’s not the best choice because it means “Get diarrhoea” when you translate it.
And we should not forget to mention that Schweppes failed to translate its product name in Italian, because it means Schweppes Toilet Water. (funny right?)
When you create a marketing campaign to promote a product in a foreign country, you need to follow some steps. You need to research the market, to come up with a marketing plan, to tailor fit your approach to appeal to the local market, and to localise your communications.
Let’s say you performed research, and you know what the cultural subtleties are and what the local public prefers.
Now you have to create a marketing plan, and this means customising the message according to the regional preferences. Make a list of actions you need to complete to enter the market, and highlight the objectives and goals of the campaign. As soon as you know these details, you can establish the strategy and techniques you can use to reach your goal.
What it worked for your local public, doesn’t translate to your foreign audience. Tailoring the message and ensuring it fits the targeted customers is crucial.
Coca-Cola is one of the most famous brands in the world, and its success is the result of content tailored to suit the local markets it addresses. Even if it’s a big corporation, its marketing departments focus on programs in small communities and invests great resources in customising campaigns for small groups.
Coca-Cola counts on the emotional impact ads have on people. When they create marketing content, they ensure their message is associated with a positive message for their target audience. Coca-Cola wants everyone to be happy, and their brand focuses on delivering messages that encourage people to share a drink and feel joyful together with the ones they love.
Deciding to expand your business isn’t simple. You need to lead meticulous research, to explore the market, and to ensure your message is correctly understood. And even if you check all these requirements, success isn’t guaranteed.