The idea of international marketing brings about some tremendous challenges for agencies that serve global brands. Finding a way to connect a product or service with an international market is complex enough, but it can also be a challenge to manage the process of international marketing.
These challenges are issues that global agencies frequently face. Luckily, there are ways these obstacles can be overcome to help a brand successfully reach more people in more places.
Managing expectations between international sales offices and marketing teams
One of the biggest issues global communications agencies face is sorting out ownership of localization tasks. For example, say your business has decided to expand into France. You may have a good amount of marketing content that is written in English, but someone needs to translate it. Does your French sales office handle the translation? Or would you be better off engaging with a professional agency to help with the translation? Either way, who will manage the project?
This is a common international marketing challenge for agencies. To overcome this ownership problem, be sure to start with an open dialogue between all stakeholders in your organization, and together develop a well-mapped process for how you will handle the localization of marketing content and other types of collateral.
Understanding regulatory commerce laws
Companies that want to market their products or services internationally must have a robust understanding of the laws that affect trade in different countries. In some cases, this understanding is not easy to come by.
In Brazil, for example, many businesses face an uphill battle when they attempt to export goods there. Even though the South American country is the fifth biggest by population in the world and a major part of trade in the Americas, research shows that Brazil is a challenging market for exporters because of a complex market and a lack of easily accessible information about Brazilian commercial regulations. This problem can be especially challenging for small businesses.
One of the best ways to overcome this challenge is obtaining local assistance in the new market. A specialist like a customs advisor or a regulatory expert can help keep you up to date on all pertinent laws that affect your international business and make it easier for you to comply with them.
Balancing Cost and Time to Market
Timing is crucial in commerce; strike while the iron is hot, and you can enjoy strong sales and huge success in your chosen field. Investors who were able to capitalize on the recent bubbles in housing and technology in the United States know this lesson all too well.
In the context of international marketing, however, timing is a bit more complex. Enter or significantly expand your company into a new market too soon, and you run the risk of not only lost revenue, but potentially damaging your brand for potential future efforts. But if you take too long adjusting your approach, there is a chance that you will lose out on valuable market share. In a research survey, Ernst & Young reported that two out of every three companies plan to increase their number of external partners in the next three years.
Once your marketing campaigns have an approach that is sufficiently targeted toward a new audience yet still maintains your brand values and accuracy, it is probably time to expand your globalization efforts.
Choosing a workflow for global marketing
Deciding on a workflow can be one of the most significant international marketing challenges since different types of offices in different locations will not think the same about their shared projects.
For example, if you are working on adapting a website to the German market, you may be working with a head office in the United States, a sales office in one part of Germany, and localization specialists in another area. Each of these three parties will need to collaborate on the website, yet they probably will have different views on which approaches are best for localizing a Web presence.
There are two main ways to resolve this problem; first, create an established workflow that everyone can easily understand. One method that is often used on localization projects for global agencies is the agile method, a philosophy that allows many things to get done at once in bursts of activity, instead of completing one element of a project at a time. The other key factor that will help improve workflow challenges is ensuring that everyone is aware of the desired process; you should make it easy for in-house team members and external localization partners alike to understand the timing and responsibilities of your global marketing tasks.
By understanding some of the biggest challenges for agencies working in the global marketplace, it is possible to avoid them before they become an issue for your company. This will help make your marketing efforts more successful no matter where your target market is located.