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It’s often said that technology has made the world a much smaller place. Capabilities such as FaceTime and other video-conferencing, email, texting and other low-cost, globe-crossing instant connectivity that would have seemed impossible not very long ago are now just simple facts of everyday life. And even before the technological developments occurred, the massive growth in globalization that allowed companies such as McDonald’s and Starbucks to reach international audiences contributed to a sense of gradual homogenization.
But when it comes to marketing, and establishing a foothold in global markets, it’s certainly not the case that “one size fits all.” In many cases, of course, there are language barriers to overcome, and not just in the sense of straight translation. Awareness of nuances and idioms which might make direct translation impossible is essential. Cultural differences also present a significant challenge – and gaining a thorough, authentic understanding of the cultural landscape of your target international audiences is key.
For example, take our friends across the Atlantic. It’s important to understand that England is not necessarily interchangeable with the UK (which is made up of England, Scotland and Wales) nor Great Britain (which consists of the UK and Northern Ireland).This is especially important currently because of a growing sense of nationalism in Scotland and Wales.
Language and cultural barriers aside, it’s also important to consider regional laws in respect to advertising regulations and sales tactics. This also extends to email messaging. For example, the US operates an opt-out policy, meaning “direct marketing email messages to be sent to anyone, without permission, until the recipient explicitly requests that they cease” whereas in Europe and Canada, there is a strict opt-in policy, meaning recipients have to have given their express prior consent.
A further consideration when targeting new international audiences is to understand the speed of adoption of new channels (such as mobile) versus traditional media (such as TV), as well as learning which social media platforms are the right ones to employ to reach your market. For example, if you’re looking to gain traction in Southeast Asia, then it’s important to know that the region has among the highest social network usage in the world, thanks largely to Facebook.
So while expanding your business overseas can be daunting with the laundry-list of considerations and challenges, it can also be hugely rewarding. If you’re ready to expand your company’s horizons, we’re here to help. With unparalleled local/global knowledge, on-the-ground support and the strategic insight of our multi-award-winning CEO Barbara Wichmann, give yourself the inside advantage and partner with ARTÉMIA. Contact us today.
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