3 Mistakes to Avoid in International Marketing

International Marketing

In an increasingly globalised world, businesses large and small are finding it increasingly easy, if not necessary, to expand their products and advertising campaigns to distant shores. What many find is that the challenges of marketing domestically increase exponentially on the international stage. While there are numerous pitfalls to dodge in international marketing, there are some simple precautions you can take to make sure you avoid embarrassing and damaging blunders, and make your business success abroad. Here are three mistakes to avoid while marketing your product globally.

#1. Letting Your Message Get Lost in Translation

don't get your message lost in translation

This is at the same time the simplest and most noticeable mistake you can make when bringing an advertising campaign overseas. There are numerous examples of foreign ad translation fails to learn from, including the famous KFC campaign blunder in China which translated “Finger-lickin’ Good” to “Eat Your Fingers Off,” or the Spanish Coors campaign “Turn It Loose” that locals read as “Suffer From Diarrhea.” Mistakes such as these could have been solved in a few moments by a translator before the campaigns were launched. Don’t let your slogan get twisted in translation – hire experienced copywriters and translators instead of using software to convey your message in another language.

don't get your message lost in translation

#2. Ignoring Local Culture When You Go Global

This mistake is closely tied to translation errors and is as easily avoidable. It is essential in any international marketing strategy to hire local experts and consultants before launching a campaign. Cultural assessment should take place before even the earliest stages of campaign planning – an assessment that should include an understanding of customs and rituals, religion, values, education levels, politics, societal social organization, and traditional and popular culture: music, folklore, literature, art etc. Cultural misreading can complicate or slow campaign momentum, such as what happened to Proctor & Gamble’s Pampers campaign in Japan: the stork on the packaging confused Japanese consumers as they do not have any reference in their folklore of large birds delivering babies to families. Do not export a standardised campaign – hire local experts and consultants and design your marketing strategy around local culture.

local culture for marketing

#3. Forgetting to Localise Your Online Campaign

There are several ways that forgetting to localise online can be detrimental. For example, while you have that translator hired to help you relate your message to a foreign market, don’t forget to adapt your SEO strategy as well. If you do not do the same careful research in the target language as you do in English, you could miss out on useful colloquialisms and alternative terms. Along the same lines, having fully localised sites can create consumer trust. According to one survey, 42% of respondents in the European Union stated that they would not buy online in a language that was not their own. This should be extended to the social media presence of your business as well. Create separate social media accounts in target languages. Another thing to consider is ensuring you have mobile-friendly website designs.  More and more people in the developed world are using their smartphones and mobile devices to access the internet – and in many developing countries mobile devices are almost the sole means of access. Make sure your site has a fast loading time and a user-friendly interface with multi-lingual options.

We are dedicated to helping you find the best digital marketing strategy, at home or internationally. Contact our experts today.

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Kaiya Herwitz
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