International Marketing Success Requires a Local Touch

In the past, marketing managers only needed to concern themselves with understanding the intricacies of marketing to a domestic audience. They had to determine if consumers in Atlanta, GA bought and consumed products differently than consumers in Seattle, WA. Now that the marketplace has expanded in a global nature, today for companies to remain competitive and continue to grow successfully, organizations must learn to embrace the global marketplace.

What Exactly is Global Marketing?

Global marketing is more than simply selling your product(s) or service(s) internationally. Rather, it is the marketing process—planning, producing, placing, and promoting your company’s offering in a worldwide market. Large corporations often have international offices in the countries they market to; but with the proliferation of the Internet, even small companies can reach markets around the world. Therefore, when preparing a competitive analysis, it makes sense for businesses to proceed with a global understanding, on a global scale.

Why is Global Marketing Important?

There are many reasons why global marketing is important to U.S. businesses. Companies realize that their target market is limited if they concentrate on U.S. markets alone. When a company thinks globally, it looks for overseas opportunities to increase its market share and customer base. Organizations understand this; in the past 20 years, global trade has gone from a few hundred billion dollars a year to 18 trillion dollars.

Demand for foreign products is increasing in fast-growing economies and the shrinking of the world through technology has made it easier for businesses to reach global markets. The most obvious reason to seek international markets is to increase sales. Breaking it down, additional reasons include:

  • A strong domestic market share and/or saturation of the target market
  • Globalization of consumers enables alternative distribution channels to new customers in emerging markets
  • Reduced trade barriers (tariffs, import bans, quotas, etc.)
  • Advances in technology
  • Globalization of competitors

From Multinational Corporation to Global Marketer

A key to achieving success in foreign markets is the ability to adapt products to local preferences and culture. Global corporations (e.g. GE, Siemens, Samsung) are no longer exclusively U.S. based and don’t think of their foreign operations as merely outsourcing ventures. Rather, they employ large foreign workforces relative to American workers and embrace the interdependence of world economies, growth of international competition, and the globalization of world markets.

Pursuing Global Consistency and Local Relevance

A Global marketing strategy is the standardized marketing mix, with minimal modifications, that a firm uses in all of its domestic and foreign markets. With a solid strategy in place, firms can:

  • Effectively market some goods and services to segments in many countries that share cultures and languages
  • Be highly effective for luxury products that target upscale consumers everywhere

Since less than 6% of the world’s population speaks English well enough to conduct business, global organizations are working diligently to localize their marketing programs for their global audiences. Reaching these audiences in a locally relevant way is critical for their success.

Innovations in technology and the rise of digital have changed the way businesses communicate with consumers. Leaders in global marketing strategy have grasped the need to localize their content marketing for each region.  By understanding what will resonate with specific audiences across local markets, organizations can drive successful global marketing strategies.

Microsoft Dynamics (enterprise ERP and CRM software applications) is a classic tale of integrating content pillars across eleven markets in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. While marketing teams collaborated closely on the countless aspects of a massive campaign, they also gave meticulous attention to detail in order to tailor the messaging to each region’s specific needs and culture.

Amazon is another great example of a global brand that personalizes content to effectively reach its international audience. When you visit their website, no matter where in the world you are, you will immediately recognize the Amazon brand. As well as, in their key worldwide markets (Germany, Japan, China, Spain, and India), the site is offered in each region’s local language and there are variations of available products based on a consumer’s location.

McKinsey predicts that by 2025 the number of global consumers in emerging economies will reach 4.2 billion, and annual consumption in emerging global markets will increase to $30 trillion. Given the massive marketing opportunities across the globe, expanding into new markets with an effective global marketing strategy, fueled by technology, innovation, and strong customer ties, can help your business increase brand awareness, enhance its reputation, and grow at an accelerated rate.