This week at the International Business Accelerator, we talked about international marketing and why so many companies get it wrong.
Here are four of the mistakes that I see people making all time when it come to international marketing.
They fall into the #1 trap of international marketing
The number one trap of international marketing is to assume the target is pretty much like your domestic target, just communicating in a different language. This is a very easy mistake to make because some aspects marketing are the same, domestically and internationally. The problem is that there are also lots of factors that vary from market to market. Some of the most important of these include culture, language and regulations.
They think they can “copy, paste”
When believe that international markets are just like the domestic market, they assume that they can take whatever marketing strategy works at home and apply it straight up in the new market … with the same results.
Unfortunately for them, Although international marketing operates from the same core marketing principles as domestic marketing, it is fundamentally different in practice.
They don’t nail down a traction channel
Because they haven’t taken the time to find out what works in any given international market, some of these people haven’t zeroed in on a traction channel that delivers real, needle-shifting results for them internationally. Instead, they’re running around dispersing energy on several half thought out strategies, which is like trying to light several fires with one magnifying glass.
They don’t bridge the language and culture gap
And finally, because they’ve started off with a set of wrong assumptions about what other markets are like, they haven’t bothered to come to grips with the huge variations that language and culture can produce on practically every aspect of an international market (from consumer behaviour to advertising regulations to how certain words and phrases translate) and they create marketing campaigns that miss the mark or end up confusing or offending people.
The result: An international strategy going nowhere fast
If you fall victim to these mistakes, you get stuck with an international strategy going nowhere fast and you end up missing out on the opportunities that you need to make your international business a success.
So … now what?
As a rule of thumb, it’s best to approach new markets by assuming the new target segment is both very dissimilar to you and different from all other market segments you serve. You may be pleasantly surprised to find out otherwise, but starting from this perspective helps keep you safe from rookie mistakes.
Once you’ve appreciated how different international markets can be from your domestic market, take the time to research and implement a strategy that’s going to work for that market. Consider which channels are likely to be appropriate, test and measure a few and when you find one that works, stick with it wring every last drop from it.
Finally, make sure that you do your homework on language and culture, so that whatever marketing strategy you end up creating lands with a bang and a cheer, not a whimper or a massive explosion.
If you’re a small business thinking of going global and wondering how to get started, check out our e-book Seven Steps to International Success – How to Take Your Company Global.