Taking Your Retail Campaign Global


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Taking Your Retail Campaign Global

By Liz Elting

Electronic Retailer - June 2013

If you have been looking at the rapid growth of emerging markets around the world and wondering how you can capitalize upon it, you’ll need to know the basics that are critical to your success. In the push toward international e-commerce, certain target markets are more attractive than others. There are revenue opportunities for electronic retailers in Latin America, China, India, and other markets, but you must deal with the linguistic, cultural, and social aspects of doing business in these geographic regions before you can realize success. Here are four questions you should ask yourself before entering a new market:

  1. How will your branding be perceived in new markets? To be sure that your brand message is conveyed accurately in other languages and diverse cultures, you need to have knowledgeable, local staff on the ground—not just for the launch, but over the long term. While your marketing and sales teams in the region should be able to measure the efficacy of your messaging, locally based language teams can help you avoid perception problems before they make their way into your Web copy, imagery, advertising language, and communication materials.
  2. How is online marketing different in other countries? If you attempt to leverage any type of search-engine marketing, many of the typical principles can be carried over into international strategies. However, there are differences to keep in mind. For example, Google is not the leading search engine in China and Russia, and your campaign and strategy need to reflect that. Invest time in developing a sound international search-engine marketing (ISEM) strategy for each country, and build a team that can ensure that it is executed effectively. Do this from the start; once you experience a success in an emerging market, it will help demonstrate to internal teams the potential return from entering new markets.
  3. How well do you understand the cultural habits of your target market? When you researched the domestic audience for your new product line, you probably conducted exhaustive research on how these consumers prefer to be approached. You probably know what time of day they like to shop, whether they shop from a desktop computer or a tablet, and how many times they visited your site before making a purchase. Knowing these specifics about your target customer becomes even more important when you enter a new market where language, culture, and customs differ. For example, male shoppers in China are the main target demographic for high-ticket luxury items, including airline tickets, jewelry, and electronics. Knowing that, how do you customize your marketing strategy? How will you decide on the best tagline, product descriptions, and pick the most appropriate and appealing images in this shopper’s culture?
  4. Can a campaign that’s an asset in one market be a liability in another? In a word, yes. For example, being direct and outspoken about the superiority of your product over competitors’ offerings is the norm in the U.S.; American consumers are used to hearing which brand is the “best.” It’s a trusted strategy for establishing brand loyalty and displacing a competitor. In some world cultures, however, this approach is considered brash and distasteful. Moreover, there are laws in some countries that can make such claims illegal, so it is important to use linguists experienced in maintaining brand messages while adapting it to local cultures. For a successful international campaign, ideas and concepts must be localized. One luxury beauty line discovered too late that marketing cosmetics to teenagers in Arabic countries can cast a negative light on your entire brand.

Electronic retailers with the foresight to localize and tailor messages specifically for multiple geographic markets can increase the likelihood of building positive, lasting brand loyalty. From São Paulo to Johannesburg, international markets are booming, and retailers can capitalize on that fact if they coordinate their marketing, translation, and localization efforts and establish ISEM strategies before they build in-language e-commerce websites. International brands that build a strategy based on a clear and current understanding of each target audience’s cultural preferences will soon be sharing e-commerce success stories.

 
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