For companies entering overseas markets, communicating in different languages to different cultures can be challenging. When expanding marketing reach internationally, marketers must consider demographic, geographic, linguistic, technological, economic, political and legal differences that can influence communication and marketing strategies. Among these various factors, cultural, linguistic and legal differences often create the biggest challenges for international marketing professionals whose job is to convert their own marketing and brand message from their domestic market to an international market.
During the process of expanding marketing reach internationally and localizing brand messages to international markets, marketing professionals must consider the availability, popularity and suitability of available media options. They must also consider to what degree their existing message should be localized or standardized among different nations, cultures and languages. Determining the best strategy might also involve consideration of the local laws.
Since the marketer and the target market usually have different backgrounds, values, and customs, an outsider probably will have difficulty creating a message that is perfectly interpreted by someone in another country. To maximize understanding, an experienced translation services company that understands the language of the foreign market environment and its consumers should be hired. Local marketing firms might also be hired to provide insights into the needs, wants and desires of the local market.
Among all considerations that international markets present, cultural differences are the most important. The collection of beliefs and principals that are so closely held by a group of people as to define them, makes them different from other groups. To be successful, marketers must create culturally-sensitive strategies, messages and products for each target group/market. Stories abound of marketers developing strategies based on self-reference criteria. These unconscious acts draw from the marketer’s own cultural values instead of reflecting cultural differences. Sometimes business decision-makers mistakenly assume that international markets share their own values, needs, interests and goals.
Foreign markets may also favor different types and styles of media. Consequently, marketers need to consider the legal ramifications of different media choices and ways to adapt their communication strategies to the viewing habits and experiences of local markets.