Expanding overseas to new markets can be one of the most crucial decisions a business makes. Often, expanding internationally is what can make or break a business. International expansion consists of more than simply setting up shop in a new country. The expansion process must be purposeful and must be prepared for, otherwise the business will see more money being drained through this new exploration than made. The following is a collection of observations and tips regarding challenges in global marketing and expansion.
Internationalization has countless benefits including access to new customer markets, new suppliers, new partners, and the potential for investments in a new customer base. However, these benefits are only attainable for businesses that successfully transition into new markets. The marketing team, after market research, is usually the team that dictates where and when the expansion will take place. The entirety of the expansion process has room for errors, but the first mistake companies encounter is not making purposeful decisions as to where to expand. Each country is unique, in that they each have their own culture, customs, and currency. It is crucial to not only conduct adequate market research in the beginning phases, but to also understand and work with the results of the research. For example, if an American appliance company was looking into expanding into parts of China, they would find out from their market research that the meanings of varying colors is vastly different from the significance of colors in America. Their research would tell them to focus on producing and promoting red appliances instead of white, due to the fact that in China, red is the color of luck while white is the color of mourning.
Furthermore, it is not enough to simply modify the product line, the entire process of how the company interacts with the public needs to be tailored to the specific market. From customer service, to the business logo, to marketing strategies, each element matters. For example, if social media is the main mode of communication between businesses and customers, that should be utilized. If radio or television adds attract the most customers, TV and radio adds need to be prepared and launched. Effective communication relies completely on the preferences of the market. Customizing to meet the individual market's needs is best achieved through the use of local representatives and teams. No one knows the market better than the people in it, and it is even more beneficial to have them on a team working to further your business.
Customer service is another important part in connecting a business to its target market. Revisions in the customer service sector include hiring operators who speak the local language, being available during local business hours, even if there is a time change, and rehearsing operators on common problems that could arise having to do with the product in the particular market. Another aspect of business-customer relations includes the company logo. Although often overlooked, the logo is a fundamental part of any business, as it represents what the brand stands for and the emotional ties behind it. Companies need to think about how they are portraying themselves to this new market, including how the logo will be seen in differing parts of the world.
It is crucial to study and plan for differing market preferences and cultures when thinking about international expansion. Global marketing and expansion have the potential to launch a business into a highly successful market if executed appropriately.