Companies that are looking to succeed in the new age of international marketing must be sure they are paying attention to how communications are changing. There are several factors that are having a huge impact on today's international marketers.
The Social Media Boom
In a relatively short amount of time, social media has exploded as a dominant communication channel in human culture. At the end of 2009, Facebook had 360 million monthly active users. Over the next four years, Facebook's user base more than tripled. The popular social media network reached 1.2 billion active users per month in 2013.
Social media has become one of the world's major international marketing trends because it has allowed brands to reach people in almost any location. Users can instantly connect to a brand that is on the other side of the world. Many major brands have leveraged this connectivity as a way to market to people in other parts of the world.
The luxury fashion brand Burberry, for example, had a relatively insignificant presence in China as recently as 2010. By launching a social media presence on Sina Weibo, one of China's top social networks, and continuously interacting with customers and exposing them to their brand, Burberry was able to become the number one selling fashion brand on several of China's top retail e-Commerce websites.
The Rise of Inbound
Inbound marketing, like social media, has seen an exponential rise in popularity over the past decade. The core philosophy of inbound marketing is that instead of interruptive advertising with tactics like television ads and billboards, companies should consider what their prospects are looking for and provide them with valuable content based on these needs.
Research shows that inbound marketing can be just as effective in Europe as it is in North America; in fact, the inbound method could be even more valuable in Europe because of the large number of unique populations living there. Each one of these populations demands content that is tailored to their specific needs, and tailored content is a principle of inbound. By adopting the idea of inbound, companies can customize their marketing efforts to each specific audience they are looking to gain market share with, helping the brand attract a global customer base.
Customer experience, according to Forrester, is the name given to the way that customers perceive their interactions with a company. At any touchpoint – from reading marketing materials to talking to support representatives – a customer experience is impacted by the encounter a customer has with the brand.
Customer experience is closely connected with the concept of inbound marketing; in fact, to be successful with inbound, a company needs to consider the idea of customer experience at each stage in their marketing efforts. From an international marketing perspective, customer experience means providing customers in any given market the information, support, or feelings that they are expecting and desire.
Because marketers are beginning to understand the full importance of customer experience, concepts like intelligent content have grown more popular. Intelligent content allows a company to more effectively classify and label its content, which in turn makes it easier to localize marketing campaigns in several international markets. This type of content improves customer experience and unifies the messaging.
International commerce has been a staple of the world throughout the centuries, but today's interconnected global market means brands and agencies have to approach marketing in a different way. By keeping in mind these and other international marketing trends, global brands can be more successful in attracting and retaining customers in different countries.