The Basics of International Marketing

In a globally focused business world and economy, marketing internationally is more important than ever. Not only do you have to take into consideration logistical differences when marketing internationally, but also cultural and language changes. Here, the mail marketing experts at Three Dog Logistics detail important aspects of international marketing.

Zoetermeer How International Direct Mail Can Be a Smart Choice for Your Business

Naturally, the larger the market, the larger the potential reach. However, there is a benefit to international direct mail that is a bit less obvious. International consumers receive very little direct mail overall—it’s simply not used as often in international markets, with international consumers averaging only 15-70 direct mail pieces a year. For context, consumers in the United States receive an average of 290 direct mail pieces a year! This means massive amounts of untapped potential for your business, with consumers who are excited to receive your offers, and much more likely to open and view the direct mail you’ve sent. Take advantage of this fresh enthusiasm by marketing internationally! Why Must Your International Marketing Strategy Differ from Your National Marketing Strategy?

Many things change from country to country, from language and packaging preferences to shipping execution and laws. Understanding the full breadth of changes prior to initiating your campaign will set you up for success.

The initial change that most companies focus on when moving internationally, is language. However, a change in language should only be one small part of your change between national and international marketing. While marketing in a country’s language is important (and ensuring translations actually convey the message, both implied and stated, you wish to present—see Pepsi’s debacle in Taiwan for an example of a slogan that got lost in translation), international marketing is also hugely impacted by the demographics, cultural values, market saturation and buying habits. For example, hotdogs sold in the United States are often marketed as “All-Beef”—but such a marketing strategy in India, where Hindus revere the cow as sacred, would fall flat. Nuances and implied meanings can play a major part in your international marketing’s success or failure.

Major Components of Preparing for An International Marketing Campaign

As we said, the language of your marketing materials is just the beginning of your overall translation from national to international. Here are some key components to focus on as you prepare your campaign:

  • Market Research
    A strong understanding of the market in which you are preparing to sell will go a long way to preventing problems down the line. Look at the market for similar products in the region, and focus on its size, popularity, and ease of entry. Focus on regions in which your product or services can satisfy a previously unmet need. Become familiar with any regulations concerning packaging, disclaimers, mailers and other written marketing components. Understanding the possible challenges you may face, along with any potential opportunities, will help you decide whether a specific international market is worth the effort (and if it is, how to execute it well).
  • Product Localization
    This is where research is distilled into a cohesive, culturally appropriate marketing strategy. Besides ensuring messages are conveyed accurately in the appropriate language(s), highlight key factors that will appeal to your specific audience: In Southeast Asian marketing, for example, Pepsodent had to forego highlighting that their toothpaste would whiten teeth, as some locals used betel nuts to blacken their teeth, and therefore the message would not resonate. Every detail counts: do certain colors convey certain messages in the target culture? Does a style of packaging (gaudy or very simple) send a positive or negative message? Are certain words or phrases considered too aggressive? Every market has different beliefs and needs; localize yours accordingly.
  • Laws of the land
    As you develop your overall strategy, it is essential to delve into the specific regulatory climate as it could majorly impact both how and what you market. Many countries have specific (and well enforced) laws about the appropriate content for a campaign and the claims or specials which can be promoted in it. For example, in America, we have a relatively loose standard about using terms like “best in the market” or “top selling product,” but on continents like Europe and Asia, this type of verbiage is much more strongly restricted.
  • Direct Entry is Key
    Direct Entry provides improved delivery because mail is sorted based on the receiving countries postal requirements.  Also, transit times can be carefully monitored.  Direct Entry means it is processed in the USPS and taken directly to the receiving country’s postal system via air, land or sea.
  • Partnerships Are Invaluable
    In most cases, the best guidance on a new country’s regulations, cultural nuances and preferences comes from those who are already deeply engrossed in that country. Consider forming partnerships with firms in that region or individual consultants to assist you in understanding the unique business climate of that country.
  • Trial and Error Is Your Friend
    Employing surveys and observing marketing metrics can help a business determine whether their international marketing strategy is succeeding, or requires some re-working. Take advantage of failures and criticism as a learning tool: it will help you remarket your product in a way that better appeals to your target audience. Some international markets are difficult to break into, and as such a certain level of trial-and-error is required.

How Three Dog Logistics Can Help

Once you’ve decided on the most effective plan for your international marking, Three Dog Logistics can help you facilitate your printed marketing campaign. Whether fliers or packages, magazines or postcards, Three Dog Logistics is here to help you and your business ship and mail international pieces quickly, efficiently and at a cost-effective rate. We are ISAL and IPA certified; IPA which is faster and ISAL which is less expensive. For both, we can offer the most competitive rates available. All of our international mail originates in the US – not foreign post offices. Still the overall benefit is that we take care of all the hassles of international.

We are excited to partner with your business to help increases your profitability and reach—for more information on our international services, please contact a member of our Three Dog team today!