The economy is running at full speed, the market is expanding internationally and companies dare to take more risks. A number of companies are not being held back by national borders and seek international success. In addition, as for hundreds of years non-Dutch companies are coming to Europe to settle here. What does it mean for you as marketer to develop and execute an international marketing strategy? Where should you start? What does your strategy need to look like to best serve different countries and cultures. In this article we share 3 tips.
1. Discover the local nuances of your buyer persona
The world is not an extension of your own local market. Every country has its own rules, laws, languages and cultures. Your international buyer may handle business in a different way. Start by analysing the profile of your international buyers: their preferences, challenges, behaviour, the way they buy and how they search for information.
You find out there are nuances per country to apply in your buyer persona profile. In Germany for example professionals often visit trade shows. For each branch and every product group you find a (local) high quality trade show. That is why the German buyer values the information that he or she gathers whilst visiting. While in other countries a trade show would have less or even no impact. By starting a conversation with your local buyers you find out what their specific wishes are.
Based on the conversations you are able to create international buyer persona profiles in which you can highlight the differences per country. This makes the local wishes and needs of your buyers concrete. Use the profiles as a foundation for your international marketing strategy and campaigning.
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2. Translate content when needed: scalable and online scoring
An important point of discussion in an international marketing strategy is often the question: in how many languages should I translate the content? Or do you pick the option to provide your content only in English? This too depends strongly on the country where you want to launch your campaign.
In Scandinavia English is generally spoken well. There you can easily manage a customer relation with English content. An alternative would be to provide rich content – like ebooks and whitepapers – in English and short copy in the local language.
In Southern Europe English is spoken less in general. The best option is to translate the entire campaign to the local language – keeping in mind the local wishes and needs too. Also the French prefer content in their own language. The Flemish however seem to prefer English. In any case, be careful carelessly spreading English content as it is not always appreciated in local markets.
Not only the language barrier is a decision criterium for the availability of content in more than one language. Content in multiple languages also increases your online search results. The reason for this is that many people surf the web in their mother tongue. The more language options you have the bigger your potential reach. Make sure the content is translated well. If not, you might as well not provide it. Using Google Translate is not sufficient. Sounds logical but yes, it still happens.
3. Adapt your campaigns to cultural differences: from salutation to speed
Buyers will always act depending on their cultural background. So next to the local nuances in your buyer persona profiles there are general cultural differences you need to keep in mind.
In The Netherlands it is getting more and more common to address your target audience with their first name. While in Germany or France this would be out of the question. For France it is a general rule not to be too direct when approaching your target audience. Germans in general highly value professionalism. So try to show that you have a lot of knowledge in your department. In Spain face to face communication is more important than written texts. A phone call after a digital text to discuss business is always a good idea.
The speed of reaction differs a lot per region. Speed maybe of great importance in the US, but not in some parts of Europe. Where the internal decision making process takes longer or the market is less mature. Adapt your marketing campaign accordingly.
Focus = international success
There are lots of aspects in creating an international marketing campaign successfully. Included budget needed. So ’Think twice before you start’. Don’t get tempted to roll out your entire b2b-marketing campaign in different countries all at once. Focus on a few (growth) markets and take these seriously instead. Start with a good analysis of your buyer in a specific market. Start small, experiment and find out what does and what doesn’t work. Build upon your success.
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