Going Global

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Entering the international arena can protect you against the risk of decline in domestic markets and, most importantly, it can significantly improve your overall growth potential. You can gain international reputation or enjoy coutry-specific factors such stability or supportive policies. Are you ready for international expansion? Here are the major things you should take into consideration.

Key Risk Factors

After you decide to go global with your business, the initial step is to conduct some significant research into the country you want to expand to, for instance by spending some time in the country you want to break into or going on information-gathering trips. The next step is to avoid overestimating a particular market potential based on your domestic context. You should check out if you can build a strong customer base internationally, make sure your customers exist, and establish if there is a need for your offering.

The dynamic and complex character of the international business environment implies a great ability to predict and to prepare for sudden changes in the economic environment and not only. It is recommened to assume large and frequent economic swings. The same happens for currency exchange fluctuations where large currency swings should also be expected and different actions and measures have to be taken to minimize risk.

The cost of doing business in any market is heavily dependent on local transportation, energy, technology, and financial services. A close attention should is necessary, because these components can totally change your customer value propostion or your business model.

The dimension of a global business revolves around cultures and the differences among them, and precisely on how consumer behaviour and their perceptions differ from one country to another. As the local culture affects not only the decisions an entrepreneur must make, but also how the market views the company, the best strategy is to engage people in the local market to manage your business there.

Buying persona

Buyer personas are research-based profiles that represent your target audience and can help you adapt key aspects of your sales for greater success. Establishing the types of people who benefit from your solutions and the challenges you help them solve, is critical to your efforts to attract and retain customers, precisely at a global level.

The best place to start is to create a list of questions that you can use to interview members of your team. Another approach is to choose one target customer and build a persona based on what you already know, then create a plan to enhance it with more research. It should be a combination of internal and external research and some businesses will need to create multiple personas to represent different types of customers.

You could also collect information about your current customers through interviews, surveys and data analysis to validate your ideas about who you believe your ideal customers are. Take considerable time to understand the goals, challenges and motivations of your ideal customers — as well as the direct impact of your product or solution on those goals, challenges and motivations so that all of your marketing and sales efforts will be rewarded.

Especially when doing busines globally, one of the immediate benefits of building a buyer persona is that it helps you gain customer insights and cross-departmental alignment, meaning that marketing, sales, product development and customer support all have the same view of your ideal customer.

Effective global marketing strategies are built from the creation of detailed buying personas, while sales and customer support teams also use them in relation to potential and actual customers.

 Proceed to your global strategy

Performing an internal business analysis is mandatory. It is very helpful to perform an audit which can identify your specific resources, capabilities, core competencies, and unique value proposition, along with the questions you try to answer regarding the new  international markets by performing market segmentation, a gap or SWOT analysis.

The international strategy development phase and the business plan must be based on the idea that each market is distinct and that the market has their own cultural, economic, market, and governmental environments. All of these require a localized strategy and a business plan. The plan will help improve the odds of success in various local markets. The plan will also integrate with your corporate strategy and objectives.

The strategy is further defined by dividing it in short, medium and long-term strategy along with defining attainable and specific goals and objectives. Progess has to be constantly measured, as well as the cost/benefitis. The completion of the business model and structure must be done at this stage.

The need to develop a comprehensive, cohesive, global marketing strategy needs to be emphasized. It will include sales delivery, branding/value proposition, marketing strategy, marketing programs, and even pricing. When put together, this strategy will differentiate your business. You want your business to have local acceptance and growth. Different cultural norms and customer needs may change your entire marketing, packaging, or entire product. That’s okay, you are here to build a business.

Moreover, the pursuit of going global with your business consists of steps and actions which are laborius and imply a lot of research, such as:  getting the legal documentation in order, addressing any tax and compliance issues or other issues related to finance: finding government and private sources of financing, considering invoicing and accepting payments together with the preparation of your final budget.

            Last but not least, one should not forget that doing business globally is also about understading another culture. Here it should be mentioned that a relationship has to be build firstly before getting down to business and time limits shouldn’t be imposed, especially in terms of negotiations. Cultural barriers could be broken down precisely through language by using online multiple language converters, outsourcing tasks like translation or marketing, either hiring people who have immigrated or studied in that country or people specialized in that specific market.

Successful stories

Imply a clear global marketing stratey ―companies focus on the needs of the potential buyers in other countries. A business must do new market research, identify countries where the business’s product might be successful, and then localize the brand to reflect the needs of those communities.

Global image: Austrian company Red Bull does such a great job with global marketing that many Americans assume it’s a local brand. How? One of its most successful tactics is to host extreme sports events all over the world. Aside from events, Red Bull’s packaging also plays a part in its global appeal.

What about a “global” image:  McDonald’s is a successful global brand, keeping its overarching branding consistent, while practising “glocal” marketing efforts. McDonald’s brings a local flavor, literally, to different countries with region-specific menu items.

Social media: Airbnb, a community marketplace for people to list and book accommodations around the world, was founded in 2008 out of San Francisco, California. Since then, Airbnb has grown to 1,500,000+ listings in 34,000+ cities worldwide. In  2015, Airbnb launched a social media campaign around the hashtag #OneLessStranger. The company referred to the campaign as a “global, social experiment,” in which Airbnb asked the community to perform random acts of hospitality for strangers, and then take a video or photo with the person and share it using the hashtag.

Coca-Cola is another great example of a brand using international marketing efforts. Though a large corporation, Coca-Cola focuses on small community programs and invests a lot of time and money in small-scale charity efforts. For example, in Egypt, Coca-Cola has built 650 clean water installations in the rural village of Beni Suef and sponsors Ramadan meals for children across the Middle East.

Our experience in different markets and performance digital marketing are here to help you, as this is an area where you have to excel at when doing business globally. We can help you test the markets fast and thorough with varied strategies and messages, effectively targeting your potential customers so that you can sett and grow your business in a healthy way.

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