The top 6 challenges marketers face when expanding globally

Global expansion can be one of the hardest aspects of your marketing strategy if not planned properly. However, if you implement our step-by-step bullet proof plan, jumping over those global hurdles will be a lot less painful and result in a fantastic payoff: Global Recognition. Where do you start? By reading what we think are the 8 main challenges that brands are likely to face when they go global.

1 – Where do you go?

It’s almost impossible to look at a map, pick a random country and go set up shop there, and we’re sure that’s not your strategy – but without the right research and planning, you’re basically doing just that. You need to understand where in the world is the right place for your brand. The demand for products and services will vary in different markets. The maturity of markets for your specific product or service offering will differ – some markets will not be ready for you, while other markets may be saturated.

It’s important to step back and analyse your options before making a choice. Which market can be the stepping stone for your brand to achieve global recognition and success?

2 – Face 2 Face

There’s nothing quite like speaking to your potential leads, partners or clients face-to-face. It helps build strong relationships and healthy bonds to establish or further your business with them. So, when going global it’s important to consider which avenues to use to build trust and recognition, even at a distance. It may require setting up offices in relevant markets, as well as finding new teams in your target countries to manage accounts and client requests. Relationships are becoming more remote; and yet, clients still want to know who they are talking to and where their money is going. It may be a hefty cost to your company to open an office overseas, but it’s certainly something to consider in your global marketing strategy.

3 –Know your Local Competitors

You may not be as valuable to your new market as you think. Often there will be local competitors already established in that market. You need to be aware of what your competitors in the market are doing, and what control or advantages they may have over your brand. If you do choose to expand globally you may experience some conflict with these existing brands. However, if you play your cards right and find the right local business partners, the transition into trading in your target market will be a lot smoother.

4 – Identify your Local Audience

When working out your marketing plan for world domination you’ll have identified your target audience, usually based on some research in your own market. Before venturing into a new market, it’s important that you identify your target audience there. You’ll often find that there are big differences from one market to another, due to differences in demographics, economics, behaviours, beliefs, or political situations. For instance, in some markets the population is highly exposed to technology across different age groups, while in other markets there is a strong tech generational gap. Thorough market research will help you understand any local differences and find your local target audience.

– Break down the Language Barriers

 It may sound silly, but if you don’t speak the same language as your target audience, it’s unlikely you’ll succeed in that market. Getting your communication right in new markets is a huge challenge and should be a key priority. Yes, you could use translation tools such as Google Translate – if you’re ok with not knowing what message you’re putting out there.

We’d advise against it altogether; the words you use to address your target audience should be chosen carefully to convey your brand message with impact. There are many subtleties in every language that go undetected by automated translation tools. Copy localisation should be taken care of by a professional linguist or a partner implementation agency.

5 – Beware of the Culture Shock

Before you launch any campaign in your new market, you must try and get a good understanding of what’s culturally acceptable there. Global marketing is all about cultural nuances and nailing your “glocal” approach – combining a global vision with a locally relevant strategy. What might be OK in Europe could possibly not go down well in China, or Saudi Arabia. In order for your brand to make the right impact you need to know who you are targeting, how to address them and more importantly how to avoid offending them. It’s best to start with a cultural consultation, to make sure you know from the start how to reach them without missing the mark or causing offence.

6 – Select the right media

It’s important to become familiar with the buying behaviours in the market you wish to expand into. Do you know what channel is best to reach your target audience, or where to sell? In China WeChat is not only used as an instant messaging service, but as an all-encompassing app with services ranging from grocery shopping to booking a cab. The buying behaviour is very different in European markets where Ecommerce and retail are still the go-to for consumers. When it comes to media for advertising, you’ll have to examine which channels are most efficient – traditional, offline channels or digital, or perhaps a mix of both? Make sure all is in place to track your campaign performance accurately from the start.

Ready to go?

If you’re ready to go and need help in getting your global campaign right, make sure you get the help from the right experts. As a global implementation agency, we specialise in helping brands grow globally and delivering their brand message with impact everywhere.

Give us a call today, and let’s talk about making your brand thrive everywhere.

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Freedman International
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