International Marketing – Full Guide & Walkthrough

International marketing is the commercial activities of companies that carry out marketing activities to sell their goods in different countries, companies, public institutions, and business activities in different countries. International marketing; It can also be defined as the studies carried out by various brands, companies, institutions, and organizations in line with their internationally targeted marketing objectives.

International marketing is implementing business activities that manage the enterprise’s flow of goods and services to consumers or users in more than one country. While facilitating the delivery of goods and services of the enterprise to consumers in more than one country. Understanding international marketing covers the large-scale promotion and marketing activities of businesses that want to sell their products and services in different countries. International marketing refers to all the processes of planning and implementation carried out by companies in more than one country to develop, pricing, promote, and distribute goods, services, or commercial information and ideas.

Today, stepping into international business and international marketing is easier than ever, thanks to the advantages of the internet. Now, it is possible to search for customers in another country, organize promotional and advertising campaigns, enter that country’s market in a shorter time and at lower costs thanks to e-marketing platforms, B2B, B2C channels, and social media. In all areas, including logistics processes, customs procedures, and banking, penetration and integration into different countries take place extremely quickly.

In short, all these opportunities make it inevitable for companies to do business abroad and to carry out sales and marketing activities abroad. The main reason for this is that companies that are considering making do with their own market now have many foreign competitors. There are hundreds of thousands of companies across the world market their goods and services to companies and consumers in any country through B2B and B2C channels. With a wealth of online options and tools, brands are expanding their operations to new countries. Therefore, it is inevitable for companies to struggle to enter different markets in order to maintain profitability and survive.

Ways to Do International Marketing

International marketing is a set of tactics and methods used to market products and services in more than one country. International marketing companies have different sales methods. Export/import, franchising, or licensing are the main methods. Today, the spread of e-commerce has caused international trade to shift to B2B channels.

Suppose a study is to be conducted to reach different country markets. In that case, the priority is to conduct a full country and sectoral analysis to determine how to enter that country’s market and which sales and marketing strategies can be successful.

How is International Marketing Done?

International marketing is a process. A successful marketing process consists of taking the right steps. Selling to another country or investing in establishing a subsidiary in that country is a costly process. It is a situation that no company wants to end an investment after making a certain stage, to fail in marketing activities to another country, and even to make a loss after starting the trade. International marketing experts state that a successful marketing process should be created in accordance with the list below.

  1. The market research
  2. Competitor analysis
  3. Audience Analysis
  4. Product Introductions
  5. Price and Marketing Strategy
  6. Evaluation and Analysis

What are International Marketing Options?

The most challenging part of international marketing strategies is persuading consumers or importing companies to buy your products, especially if there are strong local competitors in the target country market, especially if there is a best-selling equivalent product. It is necessary to know about international competitors and competitor products that are struggling in that market and local competitors. It is essential that all processes of international market research, especially market research, competitor analysis, are carried out carefully, and the final decision is made according to the report to be created.

The main options you will apply for international marketing and entry to a foreign market are:

  • Export
  • Franchising
  • Joint venture
  • Direct Investment
  • E-commerce
photo of commercial district during dawn

Making International Trade as an Exporter

There may be different reasons for companies’ desire to enter the international market.

  • Increasing sales and profitability.
  • To be less affected by the economic crises and price fluctuations that may occur in the country.
  • To reduce the dependence on the domestic market despite the possibility of increased domestic competition.
  • Finding new markets that can sell excess production capacity.

In order to find new markets for export, exporting companies need to conduct international market research, study the difficulties of international competition and the problems that can be encountered while doing business in different countries. The main way to be successful and able to trade with different countries is to create effective marketing strategies. Some companies follow methods such as meeting foreign demands and contract manufacturing without doing a study on the target market. At this point, we cannot talk about international marketing.

For example, sportswear and shoe brands such as Nike, Adidas, Skechers outsource production in countries such as China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, and Turkey. On behalf of these brands, manufacturers in these countries are manufacturing companies that make contract manufacturing. These companies, which are exporters because they sell the produced goods abroad, do not carry out international marketing activities. Another example is the automotive industry; Mercedes, Ford, and Renault export their cars to different countries. Therefore, each of them is an exporter. These companies carry out intensive marketing activities to increase the awareness and sales of their products in the international market.

Why is International Marketing Necessary?

International marketing activities are a commercial race to get a share from different country markets, in which many small, medium, or large-scale companies are involved. International marketing is essential for the brand’s future, especially for companies that have completed the branding process.

The main reason for this is the fact that companies that want to be content with the local market will lose their competitiveness in this process where the free market economy dominates the world, online sales are realized on a global scale, and economies are intertwined.

Companies’ costs are increasing due to many reasons such as increasing competition among companies, decreasing profit shares, R&D investments that need to be made due to rapidly changing technology, energy problem, and changing environmental-oriented laws. This situation pushes brands to seek new markets and reduce fixed costs such as R&D, marketing, and advertising by increasing their production capacity and market share.

The most important advantage of operating in the international market is to increase customer capacity. The company, which will not be limited to a single country’s geography and population, can sell its products to many customers in many countries. Different markets allow companies to reach much wider audiences. In the US, the local market for Coca-Cola, there are close to 300 million potential customers, assuming they have a chance to sell over a specific age group. However, currently, Coca-Cola is sold in almost every country in the world and is trying to sell its products to approximately 6 billion potential customers.

Thanks to international marketing activities, companies develop marketing strategies by focusing their products and services on the markets with the highest potential. In this way, companies direct their energies to the countries where they think they can reach the highest profit margin and highest sales figures in the international market.

Global Marketing vs. international marketing

Global marketing rejects adaptation with a worldwide brand and product approach that appeals to the worldwide market. In other words, global marketing offers the same product to the market with similar advertising and marketing strategies in all markets where the company operates, and marketing strategies are managed from a single center. Global marketing requires a more comprehensive approach. It aims to benefit from economies of scale by offering a single standardized product to multiple markets simultaneously. In this way, it is aimed to reduce costs such as production, advertising, marketing, and R&D per unit.

Global marketing thinking basically requires being a brand, creating a product that will appeal to the whole world, and a brand strategy designed to be successful worldwide. It is thought that the main factor that drives consumers to buy is brand awareness, product recognition, reasonable price or quality expectation. Global marketing sees the whole world as a single market. For example, the Burger King brand markets its core products such as whooper all over the world. The decorations, presentation style, slogans, and advertisements of the Burger King restaurants are the same.

International marketing, on the other hand, is a smaller scale, less standardized activity. For example, a small factory that manufactures shoes starts to export; it can produce products in more than one country, with different types and even different brands for each. Product prices, profit margin, and segment of products may be different for each country’s market. International marketing is possible when a company carries out commercial activities in a different country, exports to that country, and enters a different country market with strategies such as distributorship and dealership. In the international marketing approach, if it is necessary to produce products specific to that country in order to enter a different country’s market if existing products need to be changed, this adaptation process is carried out. In other words, compatible products are produced to be successful in that country’s market. Marketing strategies can also be modified accordingly.

International Marketing vs. International Trade

The concept of international marketing should be distinguished from international trade. International trade refers to the buying and selling of goods and services, i.e., exports and imports, between companies in two different countries. For example, a company in Germany manufactures sports equipment on order to a company in the USA and delivers the products produced under the brand of the US company as “private label” after collecting the price. This example is an example of international trade, but we cannot talk about international marketing activity. The German manufacturer made sales to the US company, but it does not carry out a marketing activity in the other country.

Similar to this example, trading activities are carried out among millions of companies around the world. Although export covers the activities related to the sale of goods and services that create added value, it does not cover international marketing if the exporting firm does not engage in any activity other than producing and selling.

What is International Marketing Strategies?

International marketing strategies; It is a set of efforts to implement your successful strategy in the local network in different countries, sometimes with the same content, sometimes with revisions, sometimes by developing a new strategy focused on a specific country. While creating a strategy, you need to bring together the general global studies and adapt your particular services and products to this.

Basically, marketing goods and services in a different country requires you to solve many problems and puzzles. Factors such as language, laws, customs, culture, religion, usage habits sometimes create big differences between countries. All these differences should be studied during the marketing of a product in another country, and all texts, images, and objects to be used in marketing and advertising should be carefully selected.

If you are planning to open up to the international market, even if you are a huge brand in your own country or if you have the capacity to open too many countries at the same time, it is the best method to start over certain countries and establish your foreign sales and marketing network in a controlled manner. On the basis of this strategy, it is necessary to consider each of the target countries as a separate market and thoroughly research the possible competitors, sectors, and potential customers in that country. While creating your international marketing strategy, you can apply four different strategies under four headings. The choice of these strategies will vary based on your product, the similarities, and the differences of the target country’s markets with your local market.

a) Same product – Same Message Strategy

b) Same product – Different Message Strategy

c) Different Product – Same Message Strategy

d) Different Product – Same Message Strategy

a) Same product – Same Message Strategy

It is also called a single product, single message strategy. It is a marketing strategy generally implemented by worldwide known companies. When a brand known in many countries enters a new country market where it has not made sales before, it is already known in that market to a certain extent thanks to its global identity. Since the corporate identity of such a brand is reflected in all its sub-products, it is possible to conduct a single campaign in the international arena to promote other products within the brand. Food, beverage, and clothing companies generally carry out such campaigns. For example, the Coca-Cola brand implements the slogan “Always CocaCola” in all countries. Pepsi brand had broadcast commercials it prepared with celebrities such as Michael Jackson and Madonna in all countries without discrimination. Nike brand “Just Do It!” used the slogan in all countries.

b) Same product – Different Message Strategy

The same product can be marketed in different countries with different marketing techniques, slogans, and segmentation. What makes this different is the determination of demand in a different country, a different segment of society, or meeting a different need, even though the product is the same.

For example, while Apple products carry out advertising campaigns emphasizing the basic functions of phones and tablets in the USA and many European countries, marketing and advertising activities are carried out in many African and Asian countries that emphasize the prestige and highlight the luxury product segment. The opposite can happen in the opposite situation. For example, a furniture brand that appeals to a high-income segment of the society in India can be marketed to the Italian market as a brand preferred by middle-income families.

c) Different Product – Same Message Strategy

In the international market, companies that produce in many countries and sell to many countries can use the same marketing strategies in different products they produce, in different models of the same product. One and the same message ensures that a common strategy that includes the power, corporate identity, and slogans of that brand is applied to different products. For example, Ford manufactures the Focus model in Germany, the Mondeo model in Spain, and the Puma model in Romania. All of these models are also produced in the USA, but their features such as engine capacity and standard equipment are not the same. Although the same models produced in the USA are different, Ford’s marketing and advertising strategies, advertising materials, and slogans are the same in the USA and other countries.

d) Different Product – Different Message Strategy

Companies operating in the international arena, depending on the product groups, launch different products in many countries where they produce and sell, carry out different advertising campaigns and apply different marketing strategies.

For example, olive oil is used in cooking in Middle Eastern countries and its high acidity is preferred. In Mediterranean countries, it is used both in meals and in salads, and light olive oils are sold at relatively higher prices. In Northern European countries, olive oil is used only in salads and low acid ones are preferred.

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