“Create with the customer and not just for the customer”
International Marketing or even domestic marketing is often related to being “customer-centric”. But most of the times, this means better aim with target campaigns. Customers of today’s era are not just customers; they are also a creator and market drivers, right alongside with the marketers.
International Marketing takes this concept on a global platform. With the increase of globalization and liberalization, the customers all around the world are independent, well informed and debatably even experts when it comes to purchasing. As technology creates leaps in communication, transportation, and financial flows, the whole world is coming together and businesses are conducting their activities in almost any part of the world.
International marketing is the application of marketing principles and in more than one country for a wider market, ultimately leading to higher profitability.
The foremost decision that any company has to make is whether or not to go international. The company may not want to globalize because of its huge market share in the domestic market and may not want to learn the new laws and rules of the international market.
But however, there are following reasons that attract the organization to be global:
– Increased Economies of Scale
– Higher profit opportunities in the international market than the domestic market
– Increased Market Share
– Untapped International Market
Marketing products/ services in different countries, one is likely to encounter the discussion of global vs local; standardization vs localization. There is no ‘one-size’ that fits all answers. The Marketing strategy,viza-vie the core 4 P’s of Marketing are bound to change from one place to another. Even products, organizational structure, roles, division of responsibilities, management, etc vary from one environment to another. If the products are heterogeneous, messaging and creative development of campaigns will naturally tend toward more customization.
“Think globally, act locally” may make sense, but we really need to think and act both globally and locally in the digital world and take decisions based on the long term benefits of the organization.
Airbnb can be a perfect example for this. Airbnb has had a long run from starting with local listings to becoming a truly global brand. Since 2008 when it started, Airbnb has expanded to 1.5+ listings in more than 34,000 cities in the world.
In 2015, Airbnb launched a social media campaign called #OneLessStranger.
Airbnb gave 100,000 customers a $10 gift to perform random acts of hospitality for strangers and either take a photo or video with the stranger. This is a great example of global without much of localization. The $10 gift acted as an extra incentive to motivate people to act. A clear-call-action and monetary incentive enticed people to engage and built awareness for Airbnb. It also encouraged people to use the gift card to book Airbnb listing and drive traffic to their sites across countries. This campaign was so successful, it engaged more than 3 million people in less than 3 weeks.
This is a great example of finding the balance between having a local persona while acting on a global playing field.
There are a number of ways through which companies can globalize. The most common and easiest way of being exported; exports can be done by setting domestic-based export departments, overseas sales branch, sales representative traveling abroad, etc.
Global Web Strategy plays a very important role when it comes to International Marketing. Nowadays, companies need not go to International trade shows to create awareness of their products; they can very well create awareness through electronic media. International Digital Marketing is so important in such cases that it can make or break the viability of the existence of the company in the foreign market.
Other options for going global include Joint Ventures, Direct Investments, Licensing, Franchising, etc. All of these have their own pros and cons but ultimately they work towards the same goal of expanding the reach of the company and giving it a global platform to achieve its maximum potential in terms of profitability, awareness, increasing market share, etc.
In the end, as the father of modern marketing, Philip Kotler rightfully said, “The best advertising is done by satisfied customers”
If you are looking for a great advertisement for your product or brand, no need to look further. See how your customers are doing. See if they are satisfied with what you offer if they do not then go and improve things. The end goal in International Marketing or any form of marketing has to be customer satisfaction.
By Viraj V. Chavan, SY- BBA(IB), Faculty of Management (UG), MIT-WPU