Lost in translation part three: Practical international marketing considerations
In the final part of our guide to international marketing we take a look at the practicalities of launching campaigns in a new country. Read on to understand:
- what channels to choose
- how to stay legal in your new market
- how to get your goods to your customers
Every country is different—from geography, population and infrastructure, to regulations and the adoption rate of new technology.
In international marketing each country offers its own unique set of challenges to be worked through. These factors often prove to be stumbling blocks for brands entering into new, unknown territories, and can take companies by surprise.
In this post we explore three practicalities your company will need to consider to succeed at international marketing.
1) Choosing the right channels
When it comes to international marketing, not all channels are created equal—the adoption rate of technology, and the maturity of different marketing channels in different countries, varies dramatically.
For example, Asia Pacific is ahead of the game when it comes to social media and accounts for half of all users worldwide (Adweek, 2015). Social shopping sites are more widely used there than in Europe (Wired, 2015) but the Chinese have a mistrust of advertising, seeing it in the same light as government propaganda (Mashable, 2015).
In island countries such as the Philippines or Indonesia, SMS texting might be a more natural route-to-market. Texts are the most accessible form of communication in a country with a sprawling landmass and sketchy internet connection (The Atlantic, 2011).
These differences highlight a need to appreciate how different marketing channels are perceived (and what technical infrastructure there is to support them) in different countries. It is important to make sure you understand how people use and view each channel, before you choose the right tools for the job.
2) Staying legal
Laws on marketing are different according to which country you’re operating in. This is even the case in Europe where data-protection laws differ, impacting the way data is used, collected and stored.
The recent announcement about the General Data Protection Regulation hopes to make rules more uniform and reduce the barriers to entry for marketing in Europe but this legislation isn’t coming into effect until 2018.
Some countries, such as Germany, require data to be double-opted in (Oracle, 2014) while countries like the U.S. have much more liberal laws when it comes to marketing. And it’s not just about your marketing methods—trading standards and product testing regulations differ in many regions with some cosmetics products still requiring animal testing in China to be legally sold (Huffington Post, 2016).
It may also surprise you to discover that some of the most seemingly innocent products are banned in certain countries, such as the Kinder Egg in the US (The Independent, 2015). And it’s not just the products but the ingredients that need to be considered too, with food dyes banned in the UK and most of Europe but used freely in the U.S. (IFL Science, 2014).
Before you consider entering any market, check out your barriers to entry and seek legal advice—from data capture and use, to the products you intend to market.
3) Getting your goods to the customer
For many, launching a website is a no brainer—the safest most accessible option when entering vast and geographically diverse countries such as Australia, the U.S. or China. But don’t forget to tailor your logistics and distribution methods to the region too.
In China, free shipping is the norm so you need to consider who absorbs the costs of deliveries for your business. If you start charging for delivery you may get a rude awakening when it comes to attracting new customers (Gentleman, 2017).
In remote rural areas of China, even the biggest eCommerce suppliers still struggle to offer next day delivery. This means you may have to revise your service levels in accordance with the sheer size of your new market (Gentleman, 2017).
The differences aren’t just restricted to far-flung locations. Even within Europe distribution methods and adoption rates vary.
With an extensive network of large supermarkets, French consumers are much more likely to select click-and-collect methods of shopping (Institute of Commerce in International Marketing, 2011). This means you may prefer to invest more heavily in third-party relationships that allow you to maximise your collection services. It’s understanding little nuances like this that will help shape and inform your marketing and logistics strategy.
It is important to make your marketing relevant to the country and audience you’re operating in: localise your efforts and your marketing for the best results. Retain the core values that underpin your brand but don’t assume you can simply roll out the same tactics.
It’s great to be mindful of cost-efficiencies you can make by scaling-up your business internationally, but don’t let them dictate your marketing strategy or you may find your business lost in translation. If you’ve not done so already then read part one and two of our guide on international marketing—and before you invest or roll-out any activity, do your research.
If you decide email marketing is a key channel for your international marketing, then you’ll need to invest time getting your email marketing strategy right. Download the email marketing maturity guide below to assess what tactics you should be using to take your strategy to the next level.