When you travel to far away places, there are several things you take with you. One of these is some form of translation device so you can at least find the toilets and get a cup of coffee. Another thing is the currency of the country.
Before you travel, you do some research on what to do or see. What will the weather be like at the time of year you are travelling? What type of food you will eat and what you need to watch out for food wise. You find out something about the people you will be meeting.
So when you are thinking of marketing in another country, you need to look at the differences, the similarities and the potential.
To fully understand the difference, we first need to have the same definition for marketing. Marketing is a term used to describe the process for planning
who you will market to,
how you will reach them,
why they will buy from your business,
where they will find your product or service and
when and how often they will buy.
It is the process that looks at prospects and their needs and then looks at the meeting of those needs with products or services, either that you manufacture or source.
Marketing is the step in planning that assesses the viability of the market for your business.
When we look at a domestic market, we look at the market we are familiar with. A market where we share the language and habits so that creating the image and brand for the product is easier to understand.
The domestic market uses the same currency as your business. Transporting goods happens easily and directly from your door or your supplier’s door to the client’s door. The laws are common or at least similar between states or provinces. The way business is done in the domestic market is known.
When you deal in an international market, you have different languages, and in many countries, the way business is done varies. Even next door neighbours to the United States, like Canada and Mexico, have different laws governing business. And then when you go to other parts of the world, general operations and laws can vary even more.
Different countries have different ways of looking at needs. Yes much of the world is moving more to an American lifestyle but for how long?
So reading trends in a western country will be unlikely to give you a true trend in another country.
Once upon a time, in parts of America, finding a Thai restaurant was hard but not anymore. But finding an American restaurant, except McDonald’s in Thailand is still difficult.
And then there is fact that patents and copyrights vary; so if you manufacture in an Asian country to sell in America, you may find that a knock off product comes onto the Asian market shortly after you begin manufacture.
So how do you prepare to market internationally?
Assume Nothing. The international market is different and you need to identify the ways that it differs. This takes time, research and meeting with prospects to discuss with an OPEN mind the opportunities. Listen and realise that in many countries, your interpreter may only tell you what they think you want to hear, so check it out.
Know that straight translations will get you into trouble; many words when they are translated become insults, slurs or worse.
The size of the market and the choices vary from market to market and until you understand how you relate to your international market, you will miss many opportunities and price and promote wrong.
Remember that small sales successes do not mean there is a market for your product.
Test, test and test.
Good luck with your international marketing. It will broaden your horizons, expand your business and be a fantastic experience or it can break your heart. Have fun.