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International Growth: 7 considerations for successful expansion

Is your business embarking on a global journey? There are many factors that influence the success or failure of entering a new market.

In this blog, we explore the common roadblocks when striving for international growth and take a look at how to successfully realise market ambitions in a customer-first environment.

1. Think locally to grow globally

Content localisation

Communicating with your target audience in a way that resonates well locally will help you create a reputation within your industry and drive growth. Taking a semi or non-localised content approach to market expansion including websites, collaterals, digital assets, customer support channels, logos, images, syntaxes, colours, and numbers is the most common barrier to international trade. Words represent your brand identity. Still, localisation is the number one growth barrier for businesses looking to enter new markets.

Operational localisation

Operational localisation is another vital piece of international success. Can you deliver your products within days? Do you have a robust supply and delivery chain as well as competitive shipping rates? Navigating export and influencing cross-border trade in a post-Brexit world requires extra considerations, particularly in highly volatile environments.

Strategic localisation

Seasonal highlights are another example of where localisation is important. Mother’s Day, for example, falls on a different date across March and June throughout EMEA, and has different cultural resonances. How you do you ensure this seasonal moment converts into drivers for international growth? Understanding seasonal relevance will improve both the effectiveness and efficiency of your marketing efforts.

2. Go beyond the market readiness stage be market reactionary!

Price competitiveness shouldn’t be the only major driving force behind your motivation to go global. Do you have all the market context you need to benchmark your products and services against your local competitors? How do you react responsively, strategically, culturally, and operationally to the market forces? Growing market shares requires a multidimensional assessment of your current market readiness and business objectives. Market intelligence gives you the 360-degree view needed to identify, size, and amplify opportunities, and helps you understand where to go, when to act, and how to do it.

3. Build a solid ecosystem of partnerships

Marketing teams must often deliver on ambitious targets without the local market language, cultural, seasonal, and emotional knowledge to support their international marketing efforts. Do you have the appropriate networking capabilities in place to address any gaps that may prevent you from performing well overseas? For example, do you work with language service providers that truly work as extensions of your team? How do they create immersive content and ensure narrative consistency across all touchpoints of your marketing initiatives?

Your media, insights, and localisation partners must be able to orchestrate content, spread innovation at scale, and supercharge your market strategy for sustainable results.

4. Create actionability and scalability through robust measurement

Targets must be contextualised and calibrated against your go-to-market objectives and operational definition of value, and fully embedded into your business plans. Tangible measurement processes also apply to translation strategies: returns on new content, speediness of new content delivery, and faster go-to-market times should all be quantified and integrated into your KPI frameworks.

It takes time to gather sufficient amounts of data to support the pre-expansion stage of your journey. It takes expertise to derive the strategic learnings that are going to inform any future initiatives moving forward. It takes methodology to create actionability and sustainability off the back of those learnings.

Every market has a growth curve: so how do you avoid reaching a ceiling in growth? Sustainably requires a strong architectural mindset, as well as a solidified market view: this is how you can inform the next best move towards profitability, and better act for impact. Businesses willing to adopt an agile and adaptive KPI mindset will more likely succeed in competitive environments.

5. Harness the power of international CX

Mobile CXM is the new marketing battlefront. Have you considered all logistic, payment, and customer care nuances within your target markets, and addressed any critical operational hurdles? For example, displaying trust badges, security wordings, and endorsement materials is vital to engage with the German consumer. Furthermore, only 25% of German customers use credit cards (source: Market Finder). Have you considered alternative ways for shoppers to pay? With a solid understanding of local market preferences, your conversion rates will improve, increasing customer trust, loyalty, and impact further down the line.

Additionally, a proper SEO strategy will facilitate multi-market transactions across a consistent and smooth customer experience, and help you take your business global, so its inclusion in planning is paramount.  

6. Elevate brand personalisation at scale

By developing a holistic brand strategy that spans across all geographies and customer touchpoints, you can elevate your brand personality at scale. Too often, businesses take a fragmented approach to international expansion in the interest of seemingly fast progress. Sustainability, however, requires a cohesive omnichannel brand narrative. This involves an in-depth understanding of your channel structure, click composition, and media investment gaps.

Maintaining your brand integrity is as important as levelling up your brand presence. For that reason, you may need to consider language services that go beyond standard localisation and bring additional layers of creativity. Transcreation for example adapts the essence of your messaging and makes it highly motivational, contextually, and emotionally relevant to your target market.

7. Embrace digital transformation and outperform competition

Tech acceleration creates a breadth of new opportunities that revolutionise enterprise content strategies and drive transformative results. Advanced language technologies, combined with automation, machine learning, and engineering capabilities, mitigate volatility and unlock new investment opportunities. Linguistic AI, cloud, and algorithmically driven technologies, for example, take linguistic, semantics, and editorial capabilities to new levels and help you streamline, transform, and distribute your content at scale.

Merkle’s International Growth consultancy aims to tackle the above challenges and help your business go global. Get in touch with our team and find out how we can support your international ambitions.

 

 

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