Global marketing is a delicate practice. Successful brand names expand into new markets by understanding each local audience and targeting their products, services, and messaging to resonate. Global marketing embraces and celebrates what makes individual markets unique.
How do these brands develop their global strategy, and how do marketers of all sizes replicate these tactics to expand their global footprint?
Today, we’ll share the best tips and strategies for understanding the nuance of global markets and using that knowledge to craft compelling localized campaigns and branding. Here are some key points to look out for:
- How does strategy impact global marketing success?
- 10 tips for more effective global marketing strategies
- Measuring the ROI of global marketing efforts
- Examples of global brand marketing success
How does strategy impact global marketing success
Successful global marketing strategies will consider the target markets' cultural nuances, language differences, currency conversions, local customs, and preferences.
Choosing the right global strategies is essential for achieving success in international markets. Strategies should be designed to meet the needs of different countries, cultures, and languages while also considering global market trends and customer preferences.
Brands that fail to emulate local business customs have a much tougher hill to climb in gaining market share and brand recognition. The best global marketing is indistinguishable from domestic brands in a consumer’s home country.
Businesses that capture this nuance, however, experience many market benefits:
- Easier entry into foreign markets
- Lower costs for customer acquisition and conversion
- Better brand recognition and adoption
- Scalability of these practices into new markets
10 tips for effective global marketing strategy
Engaging a global audience requires attention to detail and a customer-focused approach to messaging and presentation. To improve outcomes in your global marketing strategies, follow these tips and best practices that ensure your message always comes across as intended.
1. Establish business goals Well-defined goals allow organizations to create a comprehensive action plan, gain clarity on allocating resources, and accurately track progress. Knowing what you want from a global engagement strategy helps maximize returns by finding the right balance between short-term wins and long-term success.
2. Prioritize audience research Understanding target audience data is essential to success in a foreign market. Regional preferences, desires, cultural perceptions, and even taboos strongly influence consumer behavior. Fine-tuning messages to meet these expectations greatly increases engagement and conversion rates, so invest appropriately in market research to understand each audience deeply.
3. Build streamlined branding Consistency is key when launching a product or service in an international market. Customers and prospects should resonate with the company’s message, core values, mission, and positioning wherever they encounter the brand. Clean, streamlined branding makes it easier to present these concepts across different languages and regions. This strategy also ensures that any changes to messaging or visuals can be managed across markets without reinventing the wheel.
4. Simplify your campaigns Clean, simple messaging plays well in any language. Aim for simplicity and clarity when building a domestic marketing plan to be translated into different languages or localized for different markets. Phrasing that’s free from local slang or jargon makes it easier to translate the initial content. Later in the process, you can use localization to add nuance and flare that resonates with individual markets.
5. Invest in multi-lingual SEO Multi-lingual SEO optimizes website content for different languages and regions to ensure Google and other search tools see and prioritize the content. Localized SEO uses native language keywords and phrases to aid global search within individual markets. Using multi-lingual titles, descriptions, meta tags, alt text, and plugs on country-specific or foreign language sites helps crawlers accurately index the content.
6. Use social media across markets Social media is one of the most influential channels for ecommerce, especially if your target audience is on the younger end of the demographic. Be sure to invest in localized social media content for every market. While your domestic social media is a vital part of the marketing mix, so too is international engagement and consistency on the most popular social media channels in a region or country.
Recent reporting by CSA found that 65% of consumers surveyed across 29 countries prefer content in their language (even if it’s poor quality!). Considering the power of social media as a marketing tool, it pays to participate in the languages and platforms that matter most to your target audience.
7. Repurpose wisely Repurposing content becomes a little trickier when you develop your marketing assets to deploy across multiple languages or regions. But when done correctly, marketing teams can still get extra mileage out of their existing assets through thoughtful repurposing and geographic localization. Instead of just translating marketing materials to overcome the language barrier, focus on transcreation. This method reimagines the content for the new market while maintaining the original (or similar) tone and style.
8. Customize channel selection When creating content for different markets, tailoring customization to the best channels in every market can save time and money. While it’s tempting to create translated content for every channel across every language, assess the engagement and the return on investment from each channel. You may find a competitive advantage in taking a lighter approach with certain channels in select markets.
9. Build local partnerships No one knows your market like a local. Engaging local partnerships to help establish and promote your brand is a great way to ensure you pass the localization test with your native audience. This also applies to using local influencers for campaigns—personalizing content with celebrities and influencers familiar to your local audience increases the likelihood that they’ll engage with your content and convert.
10. Don’t just translate—localize Translation is a great start when establishing a global digital marketing strategy, but customer-centric translation and localization goes beyond simply translating your message into another language. It also customizes currency, color preferences, imagery, textual rules, and more while addressing cultural nuances that might fall through the cracks with a standard translation.
Measuring the ROI of your global marketing efforts
Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of your global marketing efforts is a critical part of evaluating the success of a strategy. Otherwise, it’s difficult to assess the effectiveness of current tactics and maximize the most successful strategies.
By tracking relevant metrics, marketing teams gain valuable insights to inform future budget allocation, campaign selection, and personalization. Reliable data is also key in demonstrating results to stakeholders and potential investors.
For instance, if your goal is to monitor conversions in a foreign-language email marketing campaign, examining the open rates, split-testing, and click-through metrics of those emails can reveal if your translation and localization are strong enough to encourage users to “read and proceed” to a website or landing page.
5 top metrics for measuring global marketing
When it comes to international markets, measuring success is a bit more complicated than in domestic markets. That’s because each country or region requires different tactics, strategies, and channels for reaching its desired customer base. To accurately measure performance on an international scale, marketers must track metrics that indicate whether their campaigns are resonating with customers in all countries.
Comparing your success across each region provides invaluable insights into customer perception, behavior patterns, and preferences. This data is great for building future targeted campaigns and making localization improvements.
These metrics help measure general market performance. When contextualized with data on your foreign market strategies, they reveal strengths in your current strategy and opportunities to improve the following:
Conversion rate: Measure the ratio of website visitors for each country, region, or market who become paying customers. If conversion is low, look at site visit data to understand where conversion breaks down. This may help solve issues on a localized site preventing a visitor from converting.
Cost per acquisition (CPA): Calculate the cost of acquiring new leads or customers. Be sure to break out the costs associated with acquiring a new customer in the foreign market, such as localization, translation, local workforce labor rates, etc.
Return on advertising spend (ROAS): Track the revenue generated by your ad spend. Include costs associated with generating local market advertising for each foreign market, such as translation, audio production, video scripting, and image sourcing.
Engagement rate: Measure how often customers interact with your content and campaigns. Segment the engagement of local speakers with your localized advertising and social media content. High interaction is a good indicator of effective localization.
Click-through rate (CTR): Calculate the number of clicks divided by impressions. This indicates that your translation and localization strategies are successful enough to create confidence in your site experience.
3 examples of global brand marketing success
Global marketing is an exercise in personalization. Even products that seem to hold universal appeal often follow local preferences, presentation, and taste profiles.
For instance, virtually everyone loves popcorn on movie night. But depending on where you live, that universal movie theater snack might be salty or sweet. It all depends on local customs and consumer preferences.
With that in mind, we’d like to share three global companies that have made their multinational marketing messages feel domestic across numerous and varying markets:
The Golden Arches have gone to great lengths to create a local feeling in every market while maintaining a consistent brand and customer experience. McDonald’s achieves this hyper localization by “giving the people what they want” and localizing their menus and messaging for each market. In France, your local “McDo” will proudly serve macarons. In Japan, the standard Filet-o-Fish might contain ebi (shrimp) instead. McDonald's succeeds in many markets by offering core items and experiences alongside familiar local favorites.
The athletic brand’s dominance in the global market is partly owed to the company’s keen understanding of sponsorship and influencer marketing. Nike partners with the National Football League (NFL) and USA Gymnastics in the US. In Europe and the UK, it holds partnerships with fashion brands like Zalando and JD Sports to leverage those brands’ market positions and open the door to new customers. In Japan, the company partners with a popular baseball team, the Yomiuri Giants, on merchandising and uniform deals. Nike understands the power of tapping into local brands and influencers to expand its global reach.
Brand-savvy Red Bull and its energy drinks might “give you wings,” but few Americans realize this beverage brand actually flew in from Austria. The company creates a unified brand image but extensively localizes its marketing and partnerships to align with the preferences of individual target markets. In the US, it partners with the Indianapolis Grand Prix. It also partners with Swiss Formula One Racing, extreme international sports like cliff diving and BMX, and Intel for competitive esports events. These numerous partnerships and sponsorships always have local appeal and align with the corporate mission to “give wings to people and ideas.”
Build a successful global marketing strategy with Smartling
Global marketing starts with speaking the consumer’s language—literally and figuratively—across every market. Smartling helps brands achieve translation and localization with AI-powered multilingual websites, marketing, mobile applications, and more.
To see how Smartling can help your brand capture nuance and market share in your most critical markets, watch this quick demo of Smartling in action.