As companies have increasingly become interested in expanding beyond their borders and taking advantage of higher growth rates in developing economies, it is important to ensure that marketing moves in a similar direction as well.
For marketing to be effective, the message has to be localized and take into account the unique customer perceptions, tastes and expectations within that local market. When it comes to digital marketing, this process of being culturally relevant becomes more complex because additional factors such as the stage of ecommerce development, customer device and media usage trends, and other variables unique to the digital environment come into play.
This may seem like an obvious approach, but judging from the numerous examples of major brands who have failed to adopt a disciplined process to international marketing, it is evident that a well thought out course of action would be helpful to international marketers. The objective of this paper is to provide a guide for marketers who are expanding into new geographies, and ensure that the crucial factors that could impede success are thought of.
When expanding to a new geographic market, marketers who adopt a top-down strategy can ensure that all bases are covered before getting too far into a campaign launch and then realizing that customers behave differently in that particular market. A top down approach focuses first on the macro environment that the company operates in, including privacy regulations, competitor makeup, country-specific technology adoption trends, etc.
After these have been considered, factors internal to the online marketing program including landing pages, ad copy messaging, etc. should be analyzed based on the macro insights generated.
Though this paper has been written from the perspective of a retail marketer expanding into new search markets, the approach can be applied to other industries and other forms of digital marketing as well. The approach discussed within this paper can be used both as a guide and as a reference for international marketers to benchmark their own marketing plans against.
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