Many business leaders delight at the vision of international recognition and size and can’t wait to "market globally." Becoming a worldwide, internationally successful business is doable. Marketing globally, however, is a myth. People and cultures vary such that marketing globally is not only an impossibility, it is a handicap to conducting a competitive business in the context of varying cultures and lands.
Marketing globally is the same as making a canned sales pitch for a varied audience. One size fits all is not an international marketing solution.
McDonald's is an excellent example of effective international marketing. They have been able to realize economies of scale in areas that did not need to be modified for the international culture, but they did market locally as needed.
In France, McDonald's carries champagne. In Japan, McDonald's carries teriyaki burgers. Restaurants in America and Canada do not, as a general rule, display one of each plate for customers to see. In Asia that is commonplace.
Skincare packaging sizes differ from region to region and the language is, of course, an issue in the packaging from country to country. Sales materials are adapted to fit the lives of the consumers in local markets.
Sometimes hiring an outside consultant to help your business determine how to approach another culture is advisable. It depends on how different the culture is from yours. The factors to consider in determining how different the market is from yours include:
- Is the product or service selling in the other country?
- How developed is the other country?
- How similar is the lifestyle of the prospective customer in the other country?
- Have you been to the country to see it in person and learn?
If you have visited the country, what similarities and differences did you notice? How comfortable were you without making adjustments to understand or fit in there? Did you often feel like you would be better off with a guide?
Getting a good feel for the local market will be an advantage no matter what new market your business enters. The better the business knows and can connect with the customer, the better the business will do -- anywhere.
Written originally for w2wlink.com by Jean Lewis.
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has edited and written for consumer Web sites and publications reaching nearly 50 million people. Her credits include writing and editing online and print articles, sales and training materials, marketing collateral, and advertising and PR for conusmer companies including BeautiControl, a Tupperware subsidiary's publications to women ages 20s through 50s, the WHO Foundation, Women Helping Others, MCG Magazine, Los Angeles and Seasonal Living Guide for Sam’s Club, a retailing subsidiary of Wal-Mart. Her career also includes working and living in Canada and Japan. Jean is well regarded for her market-research based approach to managing story development enabling consistently original, relevant and timely content.