The idea to market a product internationally isn’t exactly fresh; it’s just been made far quicker and easier through today’s tech. From the moment the first teenagers were transfixed by social media, marketers around the world began to explore the reach and power of technology; and now professionals and youths alike are ensnared by the advantages of a seemingly endless network.
Many have come to realise how international corporations hold us customers in the palm of their hands, as we hold their latest products in ours. True still, is how symbiotic that relationship is: every time they begin marketing, they place their future in the hands of the customer.
With great (marketing) power comes great (marketing) responsibility
The role of marketing in today’s instant-impact world calls for enhanced understanding and accuracy, for those seeking global exposure. Whilst the ability to reach a far wider audience can mean greater reward, it also brings with it significantly greater risk.
In a time before the internet, negative receptions could see a campaign withdrawn, and the damage limited. Now, they can be shared instantly and compound the damage done by resurfacing further down the line.
Misjudging the timing, the tone, or even the language of the message, can have greater ramifications for an organisation.
What is international marketing?
The goal of marketing your product internationally is not simply about having the speed and ability to reach someone in a different continent; the practice is governed by principles considered in line with international standards and objectives.
One key reason to study marketing from an international perspective is to avoid the kind of mishaps and cultural faux-pas that attract controversy. One particularly famous example is the marketing of baby food in Ethiopia by Gerber: in some African countries, products are advertised with pictures of the product they contain within – and locals were horrified to see the cute Gerber baby logo depicted on the labels.
Common pitfalls such as embarrassing translation errors can be avoided simply, whilst cultural taboos particular to a region can be harder to identify and eliminate.
The practice of international marketing seeks to successfully adapt a brand’s message to different audiences, globally, using the seven essential elements of research, product localisation, infrastructure, communications, market localisation, outbound marketing, and inbound marketing.
What do international marketers do?
The main differences between domestic and international marketing are higher risk, a more varied customer base, greater capital requirements, and larger area of operation. To tackle these, those working to market products internationally should be prepared for:
Advanced knowledge of international markets, resulting in smoother transitions from the domestic to international marketplace.
Multicultural interaction, which will be a likely occurrence resulting from international working environments, and allowing new perspectives to flourish.
Better communication skills being required. They will develop from exposure to international environments, but global relationships rely on strong communicators to maintain them.
A world of opportunities, with the potential for your work to take you to different challenging locations.
As an international marketer, your day-to-day responsibilities may include:
- Conducting effective market research
- Assisting varied departments to develop effective marketing strategies
- Implementing marketing strategies that are in line with the local laws and regulations
- Facilitating product marketing based on international market standards and providing requisite support to other marketing professionals
- Maintaining good professional relationships with local counterparts in order to better understand the market.
As brands and organisations aim to grow and profit, many of them will inevitably seek to build and maintain their global image. Careers in international marketing can be highly competitive, and highly rewarding for those with an advanced strategic and culturally-considerate skillset.
Are you kept awake at night by misjudged marketing? Does the thought of sloppy translating bring you out in a cold sweat? Maybe you need an MSc in International Marketing to sooth your professional aches and pains.