The world is currently undergoing a massive round of globalization. Not only is there a mass movement of people, but businesses are expanding abroad. There could be market opportunities for your business. However, many grandiose international expansions have flopped, so take heed. There are quite a few details one should pay attention to.
Localization Does Not Mean Just Translation
The Detroit automakers are guilty of just this. A few decades ago, they debuted a car that drove on the wrong side of the road in Japan. Also, they named a car whose name translated to an expletive in Brazil. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Detroit’s big three haven’t done well in these markets.
Localization means knowing the culture and knowing the nuances. To prevent an embarrassment, it might be best to hire a consulting firm to help with this. It’s sometimes difficult for a foreigner to appreciate them.
Thoroughly Understand the Market
Every market is different, sometimes deceptively so. And since it’s international, a lot of money is going to be on the line. Don’t make assumptions about pain points and needs. Talk to folks on the ground to confirm assumptions and the make-up of the market and state of development. There are plenty of consulting firms you can talk to to get more information.
If possible, have a local presence. It will boost your credibility significantly. Although a small office and employee’s costs are not insignificant, it will be less difficult to market your goods.
As marketers, we are well aware of the marketing mix of what media we buy. Don’t assume the mix will be the same as it’s very likely the channels will be different. In one country you might want to put more into print while another mobile might be the most suitable.
A successful international expansion comes down to many factors, one of which is the marketing team. It’s important to set realistic expectations for your team. This is especially true of expectations around return-on-investment. Some things are just out of your control.
There are plenty of opportunities abroad for companies to expand. Billions of consumers in other continents await your goods. However, one must be careful to avoid a costly mistake.