International marketing: when is the best time to expand your business?
5 tips to plan and outline a good strategy for your business.
When you create a business, you certainly want it to grow, become solid in the market and then, reach greater heights.
Thanks to the internet, these heights might reach distances you could never have imagined a few decades ago.
Nowadays, these distances are covered with a mere click and even careful entrepreneurs should have an international marketing plan in mind to take their brand beyond their homeland.
When we talk about globalized marketing, we don’t want you to think that you have to enter the European market in the exact same manner that you operate nationally.
What we intend to show you here, thinking strategically, is that you should be prepared to operate in other countries. After all, you never know when this type of opportunity might arise.
So, why not be prepared in advance in order to have everything under control from the beginning?
Understanding international marketing
When we talk about international marketing, we refer to strategies meant for marketing actions in other countries such as, market research, production, advertising and promotion of your product or service, in an international sphere that is suited for different audiences and cultures.
It seems complicated, but we’ll give you an example to make it clearer:
Uber, the American transportation app, noticed an opportunity in other countries to make the difference regarding transportation.
And how was this possible?
It was only after a lot of research that Uber realized which countries had similar problems as the app’s country of origin, and that they still hadn’t found a solution for the problem.
But don’t think that Uber didn’t have to adapt to the cultures of the countries where it entered.
In Brazil for example, it was necessary to understand the political, cultural, economic and even social issues in order to offer the transportation service. And after a few adaptations (which are still being made), the company was able to establish itself in the country.
But don’t think that international marketing was only made possible after the internet.
Coca-Cola, for example, has been on the global market for years and only a few countries don’t have the American soft-drink brand as part of their economy.
However, with the automation and acceleration that certain tools have made possible, you can now plan, from the beginning of your business, about ways to go global.
What is the right time to go global?
You should know that the time to expand your brand might be a major challenge.
There are two huge mistakes made by many entrepreneurs:
- They miss the opportunity to tackle a certain market;
- They go global before they are truly ready.
In order to avoid these problems and find the right moment to globalize your business, it is necessary to keep a few things in mind:
Find out if other markets needs your brand
- Is there room for growth in that country?
- Who are your competitors?
- What are the audience’s particularities?
You need to understand that the population of the countries are completely different from one another. So, carefully study the new market before you go there.
Make sure that you have a loyal audience in your own country
You need to have a consolidated base in your market in order to invest globally.
Businesses that go to other countries prematurely get lost along the way precisely because they don’t have a loyal audience to support them when they expand.
Evaluate the loyalty of this audience and the profit it gave you over the last quarter (or a longer period) in order to understand if you really can afford to expand.
Keep your team motivated and get ready to operate in another country
This means that you should make your intention to go to another country clear, and see who wants to be by your side on this new journey.
Your team needs to be aware of their new responsibilities, the challenges and know that it will be a new start for the company, in a completely different place from the current one.
Your finances must be organized
If you’re still going through a restructuring process of this sector, it’s best if you stay put.
The global economy might have unforeseen circumstances that unstructured finances might not be able to overcome.
A good strategy, which gathers all of these tips, is the concept of the 4Ps of marketing mix:
- Place, and
Align these concepts and you’ll have a good overview of how to reach a new market.
How to build an international marketing plan
If you’ve come this far feeling positive that you’re prepared to start investing abroad, get ready for another series of tips that are essential for you to start structuring your international marketing strategy:
1. Study the local culture
Are we insisting on this? Yes. And we should insist on this because this is the most important part of your entire international marketing strategy.
Investigate everything about the locals in your new market.
Make sure you learn about the local language. Don’t only speak the native language, but maintain your internet presence in that local language.
In addition, check out the current political climate in the country, what its social indicators are and how the country behaves on the internet.
All this will help you when the time comes to operate in this new market.
2. Adapt your brand or product
By knowing more about the local culture, you’ll be able to see if your brand can stand out, offer new products or services that meet new demands.
Therefore, you need to make adjustments.
Don’t be afraid to reinvent yourself and know how to respond according to the place where you are operating.
3. Understand the bureaucratic rules of the country
Bureaucracy is such an annoying word, isn’t it?
But it is inevitable and you need to understand what you should do so that your brand abides by the laws of each country in question.
- What tax documents do you need?
- What are the fees you have to pay?
The rules for selling, hiring employees and distributing your product vary from country to country. In this case, having a local employee might be an effective solution.
4. Replicate strategies that work
As we’ve said earlier, you need to be aware that your business is well consolidated in your country.
Then, check what strategies you used and filter those that you may use in another place.
Replicable strategies are those that meet a global demand equally. For example:
- The use of social media;
- Posting texts in a blog;
- Sending email marketing.
But don’t think that all of this will work in any country.
As we’ve said before, it’ll all depend on the local culture. If you research the market and notice that people don’t constantly use email, there’s no use in investing in this strategy, because it won’t bring any results.
5. Target paid campaigns
We’re talking about social media because they can be essential for you to be present in the new country.
In other words, before acting locally, check out how the audience reacts on your networks.
But don’t expect only organic results.
Invest in a few campaigns targeted locally. Evaluate if buying traffic will be worth it, without forgetting other tips we’ve provided (such as the local language and culture!).
Be confident and fearless!
Having all of these tips in mind, we feel that you may be successful in this new step in your entrepreneurial career.
Be sure to take risks when you feel that you can meet a demand that truly needs your product or services.
Invest in a strong marketing strategy, that way odds are you won’t meet as many obstacles. But, as we’ve told you, always be sure that the moment is ideal for you and that you are really prepared for this new challenge.
It will be a new start, but one that will rely on your business experience to overcome each challenge.
This will help you structure every step of this journey, including researching and staying closer to the audience you wish to reach.
Check out cases of success, those who underwent difficulties before establishing themselves in other countries, and even those who fell short. This way you’ll be able to predict certain possible obstacles and you’ll have time to think about how you will overcome them.
You’ve noticed that all this time we’ve been talking about businesses that are experienced in their markets.
If you’ve felt compelled to search for new challenges in other countries, but still don’t have your own business, and you think that going global can be done only with physical products, you should know that there is an entire online market to be explored.
Don’t know what we’re talking about?
Read our article and learn everything about digital entrepreneurship.