Global marketing is a topic I really enjoy discussing. I think part of that is that I get to see global marketing examples from all sides. Tomedes has its own global marketing strategy, of course, but as a translation business we also support a wide range of other companies with good marketing strategies to reach out to new, international audiences.
So, today I’d like to put global marketing strategy under the spotlight. I’ll walk you through questions such as, ‘What is global marketing?’ and provide some global marketing company examples to serve as inspiration for your plans. Shall we crack on?
I always like to start with the basics. What is global marketing? It is marketing that reaches across international borders to provide products that meet the needs of consumers around the world.
This may be a succinct way to define global marketing, but the process itself can be complicated, as well as time consuming. Whether you’re planning to outsource the work to global marketing services or handle everything in-house, you’ll need to commit plenty of time and energy if you want to join the (ever-growing) list of companies going global.
But don’t let me put you off; there is plenty of value to be gained by reaching out to international markets. You can:
• Increase awareness of your brand
• Bump up your sales figures
• Achieve economies of scale with your marketing activities and materials
• Gain competitive advantage
• Spread your risk
• Use your global experience to drive innovation in your product offering and your quality assurance processes
Our headline global marketing definition covers all of this and more. If you’re ready to join the companies with the best marketing strategies for connecting with international audiences, read on for helpful hints and tips on how to get the best out of your global marketing strategy and activities.
I think that a lot of people underestimate the number of practical considerations that come into play in connection with global marketing. International businesses need far more than a multilingual website to succeed with their global activities; they require robust infrastructures with everything from logistics to manufacturing tailored to each country that they operate in.
So, before we dig into the detail of how to create a global marketing strategy, let’s look at some of the key things you’ll need to keep in mind when taking your brand global.
First and foremost, you’ll need to be clear on how your business model will operate overseas. Are you just selling products, or will you be delivering services? If the latter, then would a franchise model be best?
Burger King is a great global strategy example of this franchising model, with an international marketing approach that maintains core brand values while also adapting to local cultures and requirements. In Australia, for example, it’s known as Hungry Jack’s, as there was already a ‘Burger King’ in operation there. In Japan, it serves the Spicy Shrimp Whopper. In Malaysia, the Taro Pie – made with the sweet, purple root vegetable known locally as taro – was a serious hit on the dessert menu.
Before you even begin to think about how your global marketing materials might look, there are plenty of decisions to be made about manufacturing locations, production facilities, storage, transport, distribution and the like. You need to know how your product is going to get to market to ensure that it’s viable to sell it in each of the locations you have in mind.
I also recommend spending time thinking about whether or not you want to adapt your product in any way as part of your global marketing efforts. Successful global marketing strategy examples of this include Netflix and Coca-Cola. The former adapts its content to suit each market, while the latter tweaks both its recipe and its product names to better fit with local consumer expectations.
Which countries do you plan to include in your global marketing efforts? For every country that’s on your list, you’ll need to check a few fundamentals:
• Is your product legal there?
• Are there any restrictions on selling it?
• Are there particular requirements relating to packaging or labelling?
• Does your product fall into a specific taxation category that’s likely to cause you headaches?
Being sure of all of this before you begin undertaking detailed market research is essential.
Which languages will you be selling your products in? How many different versions of your instructions/safety information booklet will you need? How will your brand name and your product names translate? Again, there are plenty of questions to ask before pushing headlong into launching in a new market.
Everything from which payment systems you’ll need to use to local taxation issues will need to be on your radar if your global marketing is to succeed.
A successful global marketing strategy involves every department of your company and begins a long, long time before you begin drafting your marketing materials. International marketing requires joined up thinking and a detail-oriented approach that incorporates all of the following:
It’s hopefully not news to you when I say that you should never bring a product to market without first undertaking thorough market research. This is true for international marketing just as it is for domestic marketing.
You might be able to buy in data pertaining to your market, but it’s still best to supplement this with your own research. A translation company can help you carry this out if your global marketing involves languages that you and your team don’t speak.
As a very minimum, I recommend including an in-depth competitor analysis in your market research, as well as a focus on appetite for your product and feedback on costing and pricing.
Understanding these details can have a huge impact on how you approach your global marketing activities. It can help you to see which countries should be your immediate priority and which should be lower down the list. It might even rule some countries out of your global marketing strategy altogether.
I talked about market research carried out on a country-by-country basis above. You may also want to take a truly global approach, mapping out interest in your brand across the planet.
Determining global demand isn’t a quick task, but it can be hugely informative in terms of how you go on to develop your global marketing strategy.
Once you’ve ascertained that there is sufficient demand for your product at the right price point, it’s time to craft your international marketing strategy. What are the three global marketing strategies? They are product, service and pricing. You’ll need to tie together these three types of global marketing strategies in order to ensure the widespread international appeal of your product.
As I mentioned above, you’ll also need to have detailed plans in place for the operational and logistic side of your business. That starts with your supply chain. Can you easily get the components or ingredients you need in each of the countries that you plan to sell your product in? Or will you manufacture in a single location and the ship your products around the globe from there? Either way, you’ll need a solid, dependable supply chain in place.
If you sell your products globally, you’ll need to consider your international infrastructure and what will happen where. Will you centralize your payroll, finance and HR functions, for example, or will these be provided on a country-specific or a regional basis? Your global marketing strategy needs to take all of this into account, building in a plan for the centralizing of your operations in whatever way makes most sense based on your particular company structure, size, approach, product offering and more.
One tricky area of global marketing to address is to what degree you globalize or localize your products. In reality, you’ll probably need to do both, meaning that your international marketing strategy will need to focus on quite how you are going to ‘glocalize’ and why.
For a full explanation of the difference between localization, globalization and internationalization, you can click the link below. In brief, if you want to achieve success with your all world marketing approach, you’ll need to blend world wide marketing concepts with local cultural expectations and marketing/social media platforms.
I mentioned Coca-Cola as one of several helpful global marketing strategies examples above and it serves to demonstrate the point here as well. The brand ties the emotion of happiness to its products. This is a globally understood feeling that consumers from different countries around the world all want. It has true global appeal, while tweaks to product recipes, names and packaging takes care of local preferences and tastes. This is glocalization in action – the product is both universal and local.
The companies with best marketing strategies test their approach regularly and make adjustments in order to optimize their global marketing efforts. Build plans for testing and tweaking into your strategy from the outset in order to gain maximum value from it and to ensure your international marketing work delivers optimum return on investment.
When it comes to global marketing examples, plenty of companies spring to mind. I wanted to include a few here to really bring to life the concepts behind global marketing and the powerful effect that getting it right can have.
Starbucks is known for its efforts to integrate meaningfully with local cultures and tastes. From the Lúcuma Crème Frappuccino to Dragon Dumplings in China, the company taps in to what makes its local audiences tick, all under the main Starbucks brand.
Crisp brand Lay’s also adapts its flavour offerings to suit local tastes, but in this global marketing example the company also uses different brand names: Lay’s in the US, Smith’s in Australia and Walkers in the UK. The approach is based on maintaining consumer connections with the branding that they already know, despite the fact that PepsiCo Inc. has, over the years, become the owner of all of these individual companies.
Netflix’s approach to global marketing highlights the value of linguistic and cultural connections. The company’s massive global success has seen it commission local productions within a global infrastructure. This has served not just to connect with local audiences, but also to produce smash hits that have resonated with audiences around the world.
Another major entertainment industry example of global marketing success is Spotify. Spotify shot to global dominance by rebadging the way we consume music. Suddenly I was able not just to browse for particular songs, artists or genres, but by lifestyle requirements and mood. It was a hit with music-consumers around the world thanks to the universality of categories such as workout, focus and sleep.
I mentioned Burger King above as, like Starbucks, the business connects with local consumer tastes so well, all under the umbrella of the main brand.
Another major player on the glocalization scene is pizza company Domino’s. While the fundamental base/sauce/cheese combo doesn’t change much around the world, the toppings on offer differ hugely, in order to deliver local appeal. From curry in India to seafood and fish in Asia, the brand shows that it takes local tastes and preferences seriously.
Leaving food brands behind for a moment, Airbnb is another example of a company that has gone global successfully. Key to its success has been the way the company has embraced the power of social media. It’s #OneLessStranger campaign, for example, engaged three million people around the world in the space of three weeks.
Nike’s clever approach has put localization into the hands of individual consumers. The global brand allows buyers to use the NikeID co-creation platform to customise their trainers. This means that individuals can always select designs that suit their particular local tastes.
Innocent’s smoothies are known not just for their fabulous taste, but also for their quirky branding and commitment to healthy, nutritious recipes. They’ve stuck with this approach while spreading from country to country, with the result that their products are instantly recognisable no matter which country you buy them in.
The WWF’s Earth Hour campaign, where businesses and individuals across the globe turn off their lights for an hour to raise awareness of climate change, used an innovative mobile banner that led to a black screen with an Earth Hour countdown timer to achieve around a million impressions in Norway back in 2012 – along with three MMA Global Mobile Marketing Awards.
Combining globalization and localization is an important part of having a global marketing strategy. While you don’t want to have to make major adjustments for every market you serve, the examples above show clearly how glocalizing can help a brand to connect with consumers. If you’re serious about the success of your global marketing strategy, the next step of globalization has to be localization. You can read more about localization by clicking the link below.
If you want to join the ranks of successful international companies who have achieved global brand recognition, it’s time to map out your global marketing strategy. To recap, you will need to:
• Keep a wide range of practical considerations in mind, from adapting your product to logistics and distribution
• Create a global marketing strategy that doesn’t just globalize but also localizes
• Test, tweak and optimize that strategy
• Connect with local consumers in a meaningful way
Creating a global brand isn’t always easy but it can be incredibly worthwhile. If you have any additional hints and tips on how to do so, feel free to share your views in the comments below.