Global Marketing: Does One Size Fit All?
By Brenda Fields Founder, Fields & Company | October 28, 2008
The advancement of technology has made the world a smaller place. Movies, television, and now the Internet have created a world which has fostered a better understanding of and access to different cultures. Teenagers in remote areas of the world dress and speak like teenagers in the most urban areas of the world based on their journeys thru the Internet. And a rural homemaker has access to shopping at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City just by logging onto the Internet.
But, does this familiarity and exposure lessen cultural characteristics or nuances? Is it correct to assume that this familiarity creates instant purchases of your product? And does this also ensure that your product will be selected over your competition in these markets? This article will address key components to consider when planning and implementing global marketing campaigns or initiatives or in just reaching specific international markets. Understanding the key elements of marketing combined with a campaign that is tailored to an in-depth understanding of the targeted markets will guarantee the most effective return on investment. Whether you are McDonalds, The Gap, or a small bed and breakfast on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, there are basic tools to apply and areas to address to ensure that you capture the desired international business.
Without doubt, the Internet has changed the way we connect with people, conduct research, and buy products. The Internet has leveled the playing field, allowing a small, independent property to compete with its local global brand counterpart. Your web site, properly designed and optimized, is the most cost effective component in reaching international markets. After identifying your targeted international markets, have your web site translated into those languages. At the same time, consider paid search advertising and local language banner ads in those key markets. Look into the most popular local search engines. For example, in China, the otherwise prolific search engine, Google, ranks well below the most popular (and inexpensive) search engine, Baidu. So it will be worthwhile to research those targeted markets to determine the most cost effective way to reach them thru search engines, paid search, and local banner ads.
Language and Currency:
Language is powerful. In a remote African tribe, words for "sadness, worry, and disappointment" do not exist, and as a result, that culture has a group of happy and optimistic people. And in another culture, there is no feminine word for a business executive. As a result, there are very few women executives. Go figure! But continuing with the concept that language is powerful, if you had to choose between two similar products, one in your language and one in another language, which one would you choose? With the exception of choosing Carla Bruni's CD or a George Clooney movie in any language, it is probably safe to assume that one would choose the product in his own native language, as you know what you are getting. To add to that, the proper translation is key to ensure that your message reaches the target audience and compels them to buy your product. Have you seen English from America that has been translated from another language? A technically correct translation will not always reflect the local flavor and tone of the desired message. The reverse is certainly true when English is translated into other languages. So it will be very beneficial to have the translations represent the local style in order to truly appeal to those potential customers. Rather than hiring a basic translation service, it is important to ensure that those local nuances are communicated into the translated language.