Running international marketing campaigns. A how to guide

Running international marketing campaigns indeed presents a myriad of challenges, from navigating language barriers to understanding cultural nuances and adapting to varying digital landscapes. In our Webinar we reviewed some  strategies for effectively addressing these challenges:

  1. Understanding Market Differences: Conduct thorough market research to comprehend the unique characteristics of each target market. This includes not only demographics and psychographics but also behavioural patterns, purchasing preferences, and cultural sensitivities.
  2. Localisation of Content: Tailor your marketing messages, content, and imagery to resonate with the specific audience in each market. This involves linguistic translations, cultural adaptations, and even adjusting imagery to reflect local customs and norms.
  3. Adapting to Digital Landscapes: Acknowledge that the digital media landscape varies significantly across regions. Familiarise yourself with the dominant search engines, social media platforms, and e-commerce marketplaces in each target market. Allocate resources accordingly to maximise visibility and engagement on these platforms.
  4. Integration of Offline and Online Activities: Ensure synergy between your digital marketing efforts and offline activities. For example, incorporate local events or cultural festivities into your online campaigns to foster a sense of community and relevance.
  5. Technology and Device Considerations: Recognise that consumers in different markets may utilise diverse devices and technologies to access online content. Optimise your website and marketing materials for various devices, screen sizes, and internet speeds to provide a seamless user experience worldwide.
  6. Cross-Cultural Competence: Equip your international marketing team with cross-cultural training to navigate cultural differences sensitively and effectively. Foster a culture of openness and inclusivity within the team to encourage diverse perspectives and insights.
  7. Agile Campaign Management: Embrace an agile approach to campaign management, allowing for flexibility and adaptation based on real-time feedback and market dynamics. Continuously monitor campaign performance metrics and adjust strategies accordingly to maximise ROI and impact.

Getting Started

Before embarking on an international marketing campaign, it’s important to establish clear objectives and metrics for success.

Here are three key questions to consider:
  • SMART Objectives: Are your campaign objectives Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound for each target market? Understand that different levels of brand awareness, product familiarity, and competitive landscapes will influence what can be realistically achieved in each market. Ensure your objectives align with the unique characteristics of each market to maximise effectiveness.
  • Audience Preferences: Does your campaign plan and strategy reflect the preferences of your target audience in each market? For instance, while online transactions are common in the US, cash on delivery and payment via kiosks may be more prevalent in Russia. Tailor your approach to accommodate these variations in consumer behaviour and payment methods to enhance engagement and conversion rates.
  • Appropriate KPIs: Are your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) appropriate for each target market? Recognise that traditional metrics such as online transactions may not accurately measure success in every market. Consider factors like retail presence, call centre operations, or other offline touchpoints that contribute to overall campaign performance. Adapt your KPIs to reflect the unique goals and objectives of each market segment.

Key Questions to Ask with an international marketing campaign:

  • Market Analysis:
    • What can we learn from existing customers in the target markets?
    • What are the online purchase behaviours specific to each target market?
    • Which channels do our target audience predominantly use, and what messaging resonates with them?
    • What are the current market trends and buying patterns in each target market?
    • What does our target audience look like in each market, and what values do they prioritize?
  • Resource Utilisation:
    • Do we have the necessary resources and expertise to effectively penetrate each target market?
    • How can we leverage existing partnerships or local expertise to streamline market entry and campaign execution?
    • Are there any regulatory or legal considerations specific to each target market that we need to address?
  • Performance Evaluation:
    • How will we measure the success of our campaigns in each market?
    • Are our KPIs aligned with the objectives and nuances of each target market?
    • What mechanisms do we have in place for ongoing performance monitoring and optimization?
    • How will we gather feedback and insights from each market to inform future campaign iterations?

Recommended Resources:

  • Market Research Tools:
    • Google Trends: Track keywords and topics across different countries and regions to identify market trends and consumer interests.Think with Google: Access various tools, including the Consumer Barometer, to compare customer behaviour across countries, product types, and devices.
    • SimilarWeb: Gain insights into competitor traffic sources and popular content data to inform your market entry strategy.
  • Competitor Analysis:
    • Be a Mystery Shopper: Conduct competitor analysis by visiting stores, browsing websites, or engaging with competitors’ marketing materials to understand their strategies and messaging.
    • Experian Hitwise: Utilise this tool to compare audience size and search/site use across different markets for competitive benchmarking.
  • Industry Reports and Government Sources:
    • Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB): Access research on digital media investment across different channels and markets to inform your media planning strategies.
    • Government Sources: Explore resources such as Eurostat (EU), Ofcom (UK), and (US) for demographic data, market insights, and regulatory information specific to each target market.

Checklist for your International Marketing Campaign

When planning your next international marketing campaign,  consider the following key topics:

  1. Review Proposition by Market: Tailor your value proposition and Calls to Action (CTAs) to suit the preferences and cultural nuances of each target market. Ensure that your messaging resonates with local audiences and motivates them to engage with your brand.
  2. Communicate with Internal Stakeholders: Keep internal stakeholders informed and aligned by sharing comprehensive documents such as media plans, content calendars, campaign summaries, and timings localized by market. Regular communication ensures everyone is on the same page and can contribute effectively to campaign execution.
  3. Utilise Tools and Research: Leverage tools and research to gather insights into competitor activities and market dynamics, especially in new markets where data may be limited. Understanding your competitive landscape is essential for developing effective strategies and positioning your brand effectively.
  4. Balance of Resources: Strike a balance between global planning and local execution. While global planning can provide overarching strategic direction, local insights and expertise are invaluable for sense-checking plans and adapting messaging and activities to suit specific markets.
  5. Campaign Dashboards and Analytics: Set up campaign dashboards or custom reports in your web analytics platform to track performance by market. Regularly review campaign metrics and use them to inform decision-making and optimise campaign strategies.
  6. Data Privacy and Legal Considerations: Ensure compliance with data privacy regulations and legal requirements in each target market, especially with regulations like the GDPR in the European Union. Be aware of differences in data privacy laws across regions and take necessary measures to mitigate risks of non-compliance.
  7. Flexibility and Adaptability: Be prepared to adjust plans, update creative assets, and refine your media mix based on performance insights and market feedback. Share successful strategies and tactics across markets to capitalise on opportunities and maximise campaign effectiveness.

At emarkable, we understand the complexities of international marketing campaigns. With our expertise and tailored solutions, we can help you navigate the challenges of global expansion and maximise your brand’s impact across diverse markets. Contact us today to learn how we can assist in your international marketing endeavours.

Richard Coen

With over 21 years of experience in Digital Marketing, 31 years in sales and 25 years in business development, Richard assists companies to develop key growth strategies on a local or international basis. He can assist marketers to achieve balance in their approach to key areas affected by the growth in digital marketing.