With globalization increasingly becoming an integral part of our lives, finding and exploiting foreign markets with growth potential offers a great opportunity for businesses. In order to maximize this opportunity, companies need to execute their international marketing strategies with precision.
These strategies consider several factors that determine how products and services must be adapted in order to gain customer acceptance in a new market.
Companies that set out on this path must plan for several different scenarios. Check out this article to learn more about how an international marketing strategy could be crucial for your business!
What is international marketing?
Scholars such as Elinder (1965) and Zou (1994) define international marketing as the adaptation of marketing strategies to reach markets outside a company’s country of origin. International marketing needs to consider some very important elements, such as the economic, social, cultural and technological characteristics of the target market, as well as its political and legal framework.
Albeit in a primitive form, international marketing was already being practiced in some of the most important moments in history. For example, early seafarers explored different trade routes to India in an effort to find spices such as ginger and cinnamon and then sell these products to large European markets.
In the modern era, the end of the Cold War and the subsequent fall of the Berlin Wall were especially significant for international marketing, as they signaled the opening of new markets for expansion. As the United States cemented its leadership in world trade and the USSR dissolved into independent republics, all the pieces were in place to drive globalization forward. After this period, international trade was facilitated across many countries, and became an essential indicator of global financial health.
How is an international marketing strategy developed?
According to Keegan & Green (2003), the strategy takes into account the adaptations needed in order for the product or service to gain acceptance by consumers in a particular country. Food products are perfect examples of this process, as their recipes sometimes undergo significant changes in order to be more adapted by the local culture.
A careful study is needed to determine whether the target country is part of a large trading bloc, such as the European Union or Mercosur, since this situation usually involves specific rules and regulations.
The exchange rate is another crucial factor that must be considered, both in the medium and the long term. Businesses must assess how currency fluctuations can affect the balance between their costs and prices, and find a way to guard against sudden exchange rate shifts. That requires an analysis of the economic forecasts for the specific markets, as well as an understanding of local tax laws and other legal aspects.
An equally important component of this strategy is adapting to the local language. Understanding the language, including verbal and non-verbal cues, idiomatic expressions and the ideological background behind some concepts, is essential to avoiding miscommunication.
For example, companies must take into account some cultural factors that influence how consumers respond to advertisement. A good example in miscommunication would be the use of white in advertising – while in Brazil it conjures up luxury, comfort or health, in China it is traditionally used to symbolize death.
These linguistic elements are integral parts of a thoughtful and accurate translation process that can help companies both enter new international markets and attract the attention of foreign customers.
How can international marketing help expanding into foreign markets?
The search for opportunities in new markets is one of the main reasons why companies go into international marketing. The domestic market often does not offer great growth potential. Migrating from a stagnated environment towards a new market where there are great demands becomes an attractive and, in many cases, crucial opportunity.
Another interesting proposition is to extend a successful brand into new markets that share similar demographics. If a successful product or service has already achieved leadership status in Brazil, why not use all that expertise and market intelligence to conquer new territories? International expansion can be a significant growth driver.
Finally, it is worth noting that, in addition to diversifying risk, investing in a new market can help the company weather an economic downturn. As we have seen, international markets can offer several attractive opportunities for businesses looking to expand. However, companies should always proceed with caution and learn as much as possible about each individual market and adapt to its needs. Many companies start their international expansion to meet a specific demand by a foreign client, and adapt as they go.
If you liked learning about international marketing strategy and how it can help your business, make sure to check out our article on how hiring a professional translation company is an important step to guaranteeing great results!