Navigating the Global Landscape: Tips for International Marketing
In order to get products, ideas and campaigns noticed on a global level, companies have to change their marketing strategies. It has also become necessary for both consumers and marketers to adapt to a different way of thinking. Here are tips on how to stay present and successful in the newly globalized marketing environment:
- Utilize social media
Social media has become the universal language and both brands and consumers are responding. Popular platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr and Snapchat now feature “sponsored” posts in which companies can pay to advertise in the form of a tweet, photo, or status. Social media is playing a big role in newly developed communication tactics for global advertising. Eva Lahuerta Otero, an international marketing professor at the University of Salamanca in Spain, notes: “Firms cannot leave social media aside as it is a fundamental part of their relationship strategies.” Consumers are connected now more than ever with their technological lives and tapping into this new landscape is an important way for firms seeking international recognition to connect with potential buyers on a more direct, modern level.
- Glocalize your product
“Glocalization” is an emerging term “used to describe a product or service that is developed and distributed globally, but is also fashioned to accommodate the user or consumer in a local market.” Glocalization allows marketers to expand on an international level while also appealing to specific cultures. According to Professor Otero, “Firms are finally trying to assess cultural values and [country-specific] characteristics” in order to adapt their products accordingly. Starbucks, for example, has effectively “glocalized” its branding, products, and store layouts throughout the world. With the help of its “glocalization” strategy, the company has had huge international success on a PR, marketing, and sales level, with 21,536 stores in 64 countries. According to Arthur Rubinfeld, Starbucks’ President of Global Development, “The company has managed to incorporate sustainable and local elements” from countries in which stores are located by contributing to the local economy and appealing to cultural norms “without losing the essence of the Starbucks brand.”
Access to an international audience also means that firms must remain responsible and accessible to even more potential buyers. “[Firms] need to carefully listen, understand, and respond to consumers,” regardless of whether or not their clients are satisfied, according to Professor Otero. Social media aids in maintaining a level of connectivity and openness, as many companies have already set up accounts on platforms such as Twitter that respond directly to customer questions, complaints, and positive feedback. Despite the movement towards global marketing and expansion, it is important to maintain a human element in present-day interactions rather than switching completely to a technological approach.
- Develop a unique strategy
It is critical for companies to encourage brand loyalty as more competitors are entering the market. Joint ventures and new communication platforms are disrupting the traditional methods of marketing and forcing companies to think in unique ways about how to reach consumers. In a world where it seems as though everything has already been done, unconventional advertising ideas are garnering the biggest response from consumers. Whether it is through connectivity, innovative products and campaigns, or simply by encouraging a new way of thinking, getting noticed globally through inventive methods is one key for success. For example, Zara, a Spain-based clothing company, has been able to successfully navigate the international market through an “exclusive logistics processing system” that allows the company to put new clothing collections in store worldwide within 15 days. This distribution system has become part of Zara’s marketing campaign and buyers have responded in a loyal, positive way that has yet to be replicated in the retail market.
Businesses must create strategies to keep up with the ever-changing international market. That’s why it’s important to stay in touch with cultural norms and know who your target audience is as it may vary from place to place!