While you never know exactly how your marketing is going to be received, you can minimize your risks by researching the market first.
Marketing mistakes include making assumptions about what your customers want, ignoring the competition, trying to compete on price alone and relying on too few customers.
There is a variety of tools available to understand and measure customers’ attitudes in different countries. These include:
1 – online survey tools
2 – customer focus groups
3 – website analytic software
4 – competitors’ advertising
These methods offer free or relatively low cost ways to understand how your customers are interacting with your brand.
Compare and contrast different messages to see which works best.
Penalties and fines
As well as cultural marketing differences between countries, there are also big differences between the penalties and fines you could receive.
While a complaint about your advertising in the UK might only result in a warning from the Advertising Standards Agency, in Germany the same complaint could result in you paying extensive damages.
In Belgium, the same advert could mean you having to additionally publish (and pay for) corrective advertising.
There is no simple solution to understanding marketing regulations – as countries that are strict in one area may be very lax in other legislation.
If you are running a campaign, always make sure that you comply with the law in every country where it is running.
Overcome language barriers
Getting the right tone is vital when marketing your business abroad. Never assume that you can simply translate existing material word for word. There is an important aspect of advertising in foreign markets that being, the culture and cultural symbols of the target market are of critical importance.
Always check with native speakers to gauge their reaction to your marketing.
Even if your campaign is grammatically correct it may not be giving the message you think or want to convey.
When creating communications, we are taught first and foremost to know our audience. Who our audience is will be essential to choosing the type of creative language, visuals, media… we use to make our messaging relevant and appealing. As brands go international in some cases as we have seen above brand managers can forget that simple truth.
Get to know your market. For more, please contact us.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in April 2012 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness. May 24th, 2017