Create a global marketing strategy
1. Determine if you are ready to expand internationally.
For example, do you have the right financial resources, staff and contacts? Will your product appeal to foreign markets?
2. Investigate the international markets you will be targeting, including laws and regulations for doing business, restrictions on importing certain goods, and tariffs and tax obligations. Also check for existing brands and trademarks in your target market.
Resources like the International Trade Administration can help you find the information you need. For example, when Burger King expanded into Australia, the name was already trademarked by another company, so it was forced to rebrand.
3. Manage language differences that will affect your brand image.
Consider the translation of product names, services, or taglines into other languages. For example, Coca-Cola’s Mandarin name was originally Ke-Kou-Ke-La, which means bite the wax tadpole. By shifting to Ko-Kou-Ko-La, the translation became happiness in the mouth.
4. Be open, flexible and willing to adapt your offerings to a new market.
For example, Dunkin’ Donuts offers seaweed and dried pork donuts in China, jalapeño sausage pie and a kimchee-stuffed donut in South Korea, and a chocolate frosted donut rolled in vanilla cream and shredded Parmesan cheese in Indonesia.
5. Consider local preferences by researching consumer behavior in the country you are targeting.
For example, when Best Buy attempted to move into Europe, they failed despite a high demand for the tech gadgets they offer. Europeans are accustomed to small, personal shops and distrusted Best Buy’s big box store model.
6. Research the effects your packaging or brand colors will have on your overseas customers and learn the labelling requirements in foreign markets. Familiarize yourself with local weights and measures.
For example, in Asian cultures, red equates to happiness, while in the Middle East, it can represent evil. Find out if you must provide information about the country of origin on the label.
7. Define your marketing goals and KPIs. Set short, medium, and long-term goals for your expansion.
For example, do you want international sales to make up a certain percentage of your total sales? Do you want to capture a certain portion of the market in a given country or get x amount of international traffic?
8. Research your target customer in every new market and note the ways in which they might differ from your domestic buyers. Adjust your buyer personas for each new target market.
For example, you may sell a B2B product directly to mid-level managers in the United States, while the business hierarchy in an overseas market limits that purchasing power to top-level executives.