Thursday, September 4, 2014

Going Global: International Marketing

The era of globalization in the corporate sphere has arrived, and there is no going back. As company audiences increase exponentially, so does the need for marketing specialists. In the past, audiences were only as large as the radio frequency would carry; now, audiences stretch as far as the other side of the world. New variables emerge such as different cultures, language barriers, political environments, laws and tariffs, and geographic infrastructures. These variables can cause a company's marketing approach and even product to greatly differ from country to country to better reach each target audience. To develop a marketing plan, follow these simple steps.1. Research the Target CountryTo effectively introduce a new market to a company, do extensive research. A marketing professional should research the external environment of the target country and city of entry. Discover the geography and infrastructure. Identify the population, the densest areas, the growth rate, official languages, the area size, the climate, and its terrain. Gain an understanding of the market's technological infrastructure and usage rate. Ask questions like, will the Internet be a good marketing technique or would the television be better? Know the competitive market. What other companies in the same industry have penetrated the market? Analyze the political/legal environment and driving economic forces- the political system, tariff laws, GDP, economic growth rate, unemployment rate, and inflation rate. Perhaps, knowing and understanding the culture is the most important factor. What is important to the citizens in their daily lives?2. Conduct a SWOT AnalysisAs with any marketing plan, be able to conduct a SWOT analysis of the company. Identify the strengths that set the company and its products apart from the crowd. Is it the quality products, partnerships, or lifetime guarantee? Know the weakness of the company, whether it is financial issues or brand dilution. Spot opportunities for growth and prosperity. Is there a competitive advantage? Finally, search for threats to the company's growth like a competitive market or economic downturn.3. Segment the MarketThe first step to succeeding in market penetration is to segment the market. Know the target age range for the campaign. After this range is established, research its socio-demographics. Under this subhead, discover the segment's level of education, the target gender and its percentage, the level of household income, and professions. Next, determine the segment's behaviors. These are the little nuances that govern the segment's society, like a courteous bow or an avoidance of eye contact. Psychographics are another important piece of the puzzle in understanding the target market. Look up the market's levels of individualism, indulgence, avoidance of uncertainty, etc.

4. State Measurable Objectives and Devise StrategiesJust like a local marketing plan, state the campaign's objectives. Make sure that the objectives are measurable, under a time constraint, and grounded in reality. Do not state vague objections that make the evaluation of success impossible later on. The objectives are the foundation to build the rest of the plan on. So, perfect them.Under the objectives, craft strategies that identify how the company will achieve the objectives laid out. Usually, the strategies are more prolific than the objectives, so that a series of events and other tactics fulfill the objectives.5. Establish a BudgetSet a financial budget for the marketing plan's research, strategies, and evaluation tactics. Consider the cost of middlemen for distribution, marketing communications (advertising, website, collateral), and channels of communication. Break down the cost for individual strategies and tally up the costs for an overall budget.6. EvaluateAfter the plan has been carried out, revisit the objectives for evaluation of success. A few examples of evaluation techniques are, reviewing quarterly revenue reports, sending out surveys, and measuring website activity.International marketing plans should not scare marketing professionals away from the task. Just remember the outline: research the target country, conduct a SWOT analysis of the company, segment the market, state measurable objectives and devise strategies, set a budget, and create an evaluation plan.

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