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Marketing To An International Audience

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If you are planning to use the same marketing message and materials in another country as you use in your domestic market, sorry but it probably isn't going to work.

Cultural differences between countries usually mean that when companies try to take this kind of short cut, the first thing they experience is failure.

Marketing to an international audience is a complex business requiring a great deal of local knowledge and there are very few products or brands that can be parachuted in from one country to another, even if those countries do speak the same language.

Given the growth in marketing that consumers the world over have experienced in recent years, people across the world have become very media savvy; they know when they are being marketed to and they understand unconsciously the language of marketing. Different cultures have explored different ways of transmitting the marketing message and the new kid on the block is unlikely to be able to fit his product into the new market unless there has been a great deal of research. The companies that do manage to offer global marketing messages have spent a vast amount of time and money and expertise in refining their marketing so that it applies across cultures.

It is of course possible to get over these hurdles but it will take time as well as a thorough understanding of the markets you are trying to conquer. The initial approach that pays off most frequently is to ensure that you have a local partner who will translate, or more importantly interpret, the concept behind your brand. The fundamentals of marketing don't change when you cross a border, you still need to ensure that you have a clear message and a great product but international marketing requires this further step of integration if your hard work is not to be wasted.

Studies show that the language barrier is one of the biggest conceptual hurdles preventing a business from expanding into foreign markets. Worse than this is the possibility that the smallest setback in a new market is viewed as far more serious and problematic than it would be in the domestic market place. Getting your marketing right can go a long way to ensuring a safe ride for your product internationally.

One of the safest and cheapest ways to carry out your marketing internationally is through the web. The scaleable nature of internet marketing lowers the costs and reduces the risk, it really is a toe-in-the-water strategy allowing the possibility of a larger campaign to follow.

There really is no substitute for local knowledge. You may have checked out that the name of your brand doesn't mean anything rude in the local language but there are many examples of companies getting the cultural thing wrong, such as Nike eventually having to agree to adapt the design of their swoosh for the Islamic countries as their latest logo seemed to resemble the Arabic word for "God". It is difficult to predict what mistakes you or your company might be making when you try to get what appears to be a simple message across, only someone local can advise you of this.

For every one of the companies present in the international marketplace, many others have tried and failed. In part that's because one of the most difficult things to get right is the marketing. If you are planning to launch in foreign countries be prepared to spend time and money getting the message right. What is simple and straightforward to one man can be rude and arrogant to another so remember caveat venditor, let the seller beware too!

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