Fletch Sneak Peak: 7 Steps to Global Marketing Domination
As of March 2016, our global population is more than 7 billion people. The United Nations estimates that within the next 5 years it will increase to 11.2 billion people. Given that fact alone, it is paramount that companies start to think about global marketing domination. The reality is that the task frequently falls on the shoulders of the marketing team to make this expansion happen through market research, content creation, etc. In fact a Forbes Insight survey from 2015 showed that “33% of senior executives at companies with annual worldwide sales of more than $500 million consider “expanding into global and new markets” as their top strategic priority.”
Your company is primed. You are ready to enter a foreign market but what do you need to do? What do you need to know?
Here are the seven steps/tips you should consider as part of your global marketing strategy:
1. What Are Your Motives
Make sure you have a full grasp and understanding of your executive team’s motives for entering a global market. This isn’t a decision that should be made lightly. Also make sure you have a clear understanding of where they want to expand to. Broad descriptions like Europe or Asia don’t work. You need to specifically know what country/countries they want to expand into.
2. Not All Plans Are Created Equal
Take a close look at your domestic marketing strategy and plan. When developing your global marketing plan, you’ll need to develop an entry strategy that requires a high degree of market research. Think about how it needs to be tailored and customized to best position you for global domination. Not paying attention to that data (and analyzing it) could be your downfall. You’ll need to know:
- How much opportunity is there
- Ease of doing business
- Past and current success in the market
3. Education and Etiquette Are Paramount
Whether or not you subscribe to Emily Post or her institute, you must keep in mind that you are not in the United States any longer. While that may seem like we are stating the obvious, each country has a history, local laws, unique business practices, forms of currency and payment, and cultural norms which include greetings, meal times and possibly religious rituals. You must make sure that your company and its team/teams are respectful at all times.
To that end, you also need to follow their sales and marketing approaches. Some countries place a high value on relationships, like Japan; whereas in the Scandinavian countries, a focus is placed on online and “touchless” sales models.
4. A Dollar Does Not Always Equal a Dollar
Again it may seem like another obvious one, but not only should you be aware of the country’s currency current value, but also, how often and how much the value of the currency is likely to fluctuate. It can take months to finalize a deal and you do not want it to get affected by improper research. Imagine if the value of currency changes by 5 percent between the time you begin negotiations and the time it’s finalized and you haven’t made sure to account for it?
5. Local Representation
This works on two fronts. You need to ensure that your company’s legal team understands the laws and jurisdictions that oversee the contract you are developing. Consider hiring local legal counsel to navigate some of these issues.
Secondly, you want to make sure that the local team you hire and have in place can offer input on strategic decisions. Not only does your local team know your business and company, but they know the country and its customs. Leverage these relationships!
6. Research, Research, Research!
Make sure you conduct focus groups to test the global waters. Not only should you understand a country’s culture, but you need to examine your approach. Is the product or service you’re offering suitable for the country and its culture?
7. What Have Your Competitors Done?
Turn to Google. Have your competitors entered this market? How did they approach it? What were their successes? What were their “failures” or mistakes? What obstacles did they face? What can you do differently? Don’t reinvent the wheel for your executive team. Use this as a learning experience.
When your company decides it’s time to build its presence internationally, it’s an exciting time for all involved. As part of the global marketing team, you are on the front lines and it’s imperative that you think globally and create a thorough strategy. The completed research will show the market and your CEO that you’ve done your homework, and will save your company from possible years of embarrassment. Trust us it can happen! Do your research so that you’re not:
- Marketing baby formula in impoverished markets with a shortage of drinking water and make children sick (Nestle in Africa)
- Have weak and poorly executed global standards that cause you to place money before safety and the environment (BP in the Gulf of Mexico)
- Marketing a popular toy in a country that believes toys are not an indulgence (Mattel in China)
- Big box retail is not accepted culturally (Best Buy in the U.K. and Walmart in Germany)
Treat expanding into global marketing as an entrepreneurial enterprise. Find your opportunity and exploit it. By doing so you’re bound to dominate the global market.
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