Join Doug Ladd for an in-depth discussion in this video Promotional methods, part of Marketing Foundations: International Marketing.
- Coca-Cola once got itself into big trouble. In advertising images they changed the columns of the Parthenon to the icon shape of the Coca-Cola bottle. They didn't realize until after the fact that the Greeks consider the Parthenon to be a religious symbol, not appropriate for advertising a consumer product. There are hundreds of examples where companies have made promotional mistakes in international markets, but you don't have to be one of them. The promotional methods and tools you use in your home market may require some tweaking when you expand into new countries.
Promotion is the 4 P component that deals with advertising, personal selling, public relations, web presence, coupons, and other tools used to communicate with your customers and drive commerce. For example, there may be significant differences in the literacy rates between the countries you're entering. You can learn about the literacy rates of other countries by searching worldbank.org or cia.gov. If you're moving from a market with a high rate to one that has a very low rate, you will want to adjust your messaging to perhaps include more images and graphics rather than text.
Your advertising may need to be adjusted to not only inform customers about the existence of your product, but also expose them to basic training on how to use it. This is especially true in those markets where the retail channels for your product or industry are not yet fully developed or specialized. Each country has different viewership rates of television, cinema, and listening rates for radio. You may need to revise your advertising tools based upon these differences. The performance of news print, magazines, billboards, and posters should also be considered.
The key is to not assume that the advertising methods you've used in your home market are the best ones to employ as you expand globally. When it comes to personal selling, you may find it's more important outside of markets than it is in the US. Many cultures value personal relationships and communication much more highly than celebrity endorsements or advertising when it comes to making purchasing decisions. If your social and competitive analyses indicated that personal selling is highly impactful, you may need to adjust your selling strategy.
In general, when it comes to hiring sales people in a different country the preferred approach is to hire local sales people who are natives in the culture, able to speak the language fluently, and understand the customs and values of your customers. If you're pursuing an export franchise or joint venture model your partner will likely be responsible for this. If you use the direct investment model you should steer away from the error many companies make to put someone from headquarters on the ground in the new market to do the selling the way it's done at home.
The use of web and ecommerce is also different around the globe. Do you need to develop or create a website in new languages? Do the customers in the new market have access to credit so they can make online purchases? As you do your investigation you may find there are unique opportunities to adjust ecommerce business model. In some countries your customers may have better access to Smart Phones than computers, ensuring your site will run quickly and smoothly on these systems will be important. Some developing countries have very low penetration of Smart Phones, and instead rely heavily on traditional mobile phones.
How can you use text messaging and telemarketing to get your message out in these markets? Deal promotions such as coupons, buy one get one free, short term sales, rebates and others should be considered as well, because the majority of deal promotions typically require some support and participation at the retail level, you need to understand if they're willing to engage and assist in your efforts. These promotional programs may also require infrastructure capabilities that either don't exist or need to be perfected to work well for you.
For example, a common approach to a rebate program in the US is to provide the customer with a debit card for the amount of the rebate. In some countries this may not work, it doesn't mean you can't have a promotional program tied to a rebate, it simply gives you another opportunity to discover a creative solution. You will need to promote your product when you expand into new countries, and this can be done successfully. The key is to pay attention to the cultural variations you will encounter, and to be sensitized to them.
The course also investigates options for global expansion, such as exporting, licensing, joint ventures, and direct investment, and details how to put together a successful marketing mix using distribution, promotional methods, and translation. Plus, learn where to turn for more information about your specific target markets.
- The rise of the global consumer
- Learning about customers in global markets
- Accessing foreign markets
- Adapting products
- Balancing risks and rewards