Marketing in the International Arena

If you are establishing a marketing or public relations campaign in a foreign market, especially one that is culturally different from your own, it pays to do a lot of research on the culture, idioms and history of the country.
You need to ask yourself five vital questions:
1. What message do I want to convey?
2. How important is that message to my foreign customer?
3. What challenges or benefits will help or hinder my message?
4. What specific communication methods do I need in that arena?
5. How do I measure the effectiveness of my communication plan?
It is easy to assume that the North American hemisphere is the apex of the world – but this may not be the assumption of an Argentinian, Brazilian, or Venezuelan.
So becoming intimately aware of the target market goes beyond a superficial glance. How are you going to develop a comprehensive fact base on the target group within the country you are seeking to penetrate?
Are you adequately financed to be able to establish an office and build a staff in that country? Can you market your product or service via the internet?
Does the targeted country offer you the opportunity to sell an entire product line? Do you need to concentrate on one product aimed at a special niche of that market? Do you need to concentrate on a special geographic territory or a single key market?
Analyze the competition in the country you seek to invade with your products or services: Do you identify competitors already firmly established in the market? What can you offer that will trump what they’re selling?
You need to gather market intelligence on each major competitor, his strengths and weaknesses in product, market, people, financial, production capabilities, distribution and customer attitude.
How are you going to distribute your product? Do you have an established network of distributors and dealers? Are you going to sell through the Internet? Which key distributors and dealers have competitors been able to acquire?
In the case of a world-class Fortune 500 company, it is easier to expect the customer will be aware of the services and products being sold by Company X. But do you have a product or service that fulfills a vital need prompting a purchase?
Do you the necessary financial strength to do a comprehensive advertising/marketing and public relations plan to launch your brand in the market?
I’ve asked you a lot of questions because research on all of these areas is absolutely necessary. It’s important to speak to the country’s trade representative, join a department of commerce delegation or an international trade organization.
Get your ducks in a row when it comes to research and market planning. The next step will be to analyze the cost of filling an order, establishing a budget, and getting yourself ready for the exciting and challenging international marketplace.

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