International marketing is not simple. You can’t just copy and paste your marketing strategy into a new country and expect to see the same results. In order to be a successful International Marketer, you have to do your research and understand different cultures. Katarina Hakansson, an international marketing expert with experience working at a variety of international organizations, shares what international marketing means to her and what you have to do to be successful in marketing internationally in her episode of Real Marketers.
What Does International Marketing Really Mean?
Let’s be clear, international marketing is not just translating your message or moving your marketing strategy to another country. There are so many cultural differences across every country which makes it impossible to market the same across the globe. Katarina explains international marketing is really a mixture of science and art, with a heavy emphasis on science. With international marketing, you need to understand the daily life of the country you are entering. This includes their buying behavior, what influences their decisions, what they value in a product and service, and so much more. It is more than just having the prettiest and best-designed ads, you also need to understand the people and the culture you are marketing to.
Research Is the Key to Success
The most important part of international marketing is research. You need to understand what is considered appropriate and inappropriate in different cultures, how consumers make their purchase decisions if they value lower prices or higher quality, etc. The more research you do before entering a new market, the more success you will have. If you don’t do your research, you want to know what consumers in that region will respond well to, and in the end, will end up wasting time and money trying to figure it out.
It’s also important to be aware of current events that could be influencing buying behavior. You should know how well their economy is performing or if there is a reason consumers would be buying more or less of a product. Understanding the current political and economic environment of a country will help you better understand consumer behavior, and will help avoid incentive messaging.
It’s More Than Just Translation
There is so much more that goes into international marketing than just translating your messaging. To be successful you need to understand the local language which goes far beyond a translation. You need to understand how people in the region talk to each other. Look into what common slang and phrases in the area. Also, your current message might not make sense in a new country. Words can take on very different meanings in different parts of the world, so just a simple translation will not be enough to communicate with consumers in a different country. This is crucial to international marketing because if consumers can’t even understand what you are trying to tell them you won’t get very far.
International marketing takes a lot more work than just moving your business to a different country. If you are considering entering a new market, make sure that you have done your research and understand the culture you are entering. If you want more international marketing advice, you can listen to Katarina’s full episode here.