Marketing Products and Services Outside Your Local Market

Working in translations many of my clients work within the marketing industry and a large percentage of the work we undertake is to provide a localised version of a marketing communication campaign into specific languages. Typically this involves taking pre-existing copy for (usually) a pre-existing product or service and adapting it to fit the language of the desired non-native market. This can often be a complex process and there are many examples of companies that have gone through the localisation process of their products and services only to realise (often too late) that what they have produced is not suitable or, even worse, insulting to their intended market.

This article examines the various approaches organisations may adopt when looking to expand from their domestic market and also looks at localisation strategies they can use to aid in the success of their international marketing efforts. The main themes will focus more on the written word and the actual process of translating a marketing communication message, and does not take into consideration other issues that will affect the localisation process, such as the technological issue that may be present when developing a marketing strategy in a non-domestic market.

At this point it is worth what motivates organisations when promoting and selling their products and services into non-native markets. Typically, marketing products in markets outside the domestic domain fall into 4 categories. In the first approach, companies undertake what can be referred to as infrequent foreign marketing. Here companies will use foreign markets as a means to eliminate surpluses which an over saturated domestic market is unable to absorb. Here marketing activities may be very short term and may only require a minimal amount of translation and localisation. Alternatively, companies may believe that there is enough of a sustainable foreign market on an ongoing basis and will adopt regular foreign marketing activities. In this instance the domestic market is still the main focus, however, often by the use of middle men and agents, companies who use this approach are able to service both domestic and international markets simultaneously. The third approach is to focus on international marketing as part of a whole marketing strategy. Here international markets are seen as equally important as domestic markets. Companies will often perceive their markets to possess unique characteristics for which individual marketing strategies and characteristics will need to be adopted. The process involved in localisation and translation in this approach can be fairly complex, however, it will also allow for a closely targeted market, reaching segments that perhaps a more uniform approach may not reach.

The fourth approach is to view the world as a single market. Referred to as global marketing, this approach standardises its processes and activities to offer a common product or service through all the markets they serve.

It is worth considering which approach your organisation or, if you are working on behalf of someone else, your client is adopting. These different approaches will affect the overall process of how you implement your marketing strategy and will also involve varying amounts of resources. Although advances in technology have made the deployment of a targeted message more cost effective, individual translation will need to be processed by a human and therefore marketers and business managers will need to consider the potential ROI (return on investment) that an approach such international marketing will generate versus the resources needed to process this strategy.

Fundamental to the successful launch of a marketing campaign into a non-domestic market is a good understanding of the nature of that market. If, for example, your objective is to launch a specific product or brand into a new market, analysis should be undertaken into the suitability of the existing brand’s identity (e.g., colour, shape, text) in the existing market. What works well from a branding perspective in one market may be disastrous in another, and there are many examples of companies who have launched an international campaign based around a specific domestic campaign only to discover that the brand that is at the heart of the message carries an unsavoury name or connotation. At the very least we suggest a brand name analysis should be undertaken prior to launching a brand into a new market.

It’s also worth noting the other cultural convention of your proposed target market. Colour, for example, can play a key role in a company’s identity but this identity may have many different connotations depending on the target market. It is also crucial to understand how your market responds to messages. Some markets may respond very positively to a less formal approach when delivering a message, whereas more conservative markets may see this approach as sloppy or unprofessional.

A common approach in copy writing is to use analogies in an attempt to make the reader draw similarities with the product or service under discussion and an existing, perhaps well known product or service. Often these analogies will be based on an understanding of an entity that is known to the reader in the existing market, but may be unknown or alien in the new proposed target market. Examples are comparing physical size of somewhere to a geographically known location in the domestic e.g., “an area the size of Birmingham” etc.

Because of the subjective nature of translation, whenever undertaking any translation assignment it is vital to use a translator who is not only an expert linguist but also an expert in their respective field. Using a technical translator to localise a marketing brochure selling financial services just will not do. Translation of marketing material goes beyond the literal and involves the ability to interpret the essence of the message. Translators who are used to translate branding and corporate identity need to distil the message, taking the key elements and present it in a language that the target market will respond to. In this instance, using mother tongue translators based in the country of origin is vital.

In summary then we suggest that, as a minimum, prior to launching a marketing message into a unknown market, initial research is undertaken into the feasibility of using the core message (be it the brand or what ever is at the heart of the communication) within the market. It is likely that business leaders and managers will have already determined that there is a need for a particular product or service in a specific market and that their product or service can successfully fill that need. It is then the job of the marketer to communicate this product or service to the desired new market.

Sales Incentive Programs Thrive With Effective Marketing Communication Plans

Your company is ready to unveil a brand spanking new sales incentive program geared toward improving the performance of your employees and channel members. There is a highly enticing and exciting award for winners, such as an all-expenses paid trip to the Caribbean or incentive card loaded with thousands of dollars in value. You have a clever, fun theme for the program that everyone is sure to love. The success of the program which is measured through increasing sales, improving employee performance, and fostering employee engagement and channel participation, will however, hinge largely on your ability to successfully create a cohesive, compelling marketing communication program that spreads the word, lays out the rules, and elicits interest.

Successful marketing communication plans effectively employ tools that can include:

– Program Websites – A responsive design website, which creates a user experience that is optimal regardless of device utilized, will go a long way in improving communications. Responsive web design allows the page to appear consistent on mobile devices, tablets, laptops, desktops, and browsers of all kinds, and is critical and uncomplicated in this day and age. If the website does not show up in an aesthetically pleasing manner the first time they visit the site, they may abandon it and not return or participate in the program. The program rules should be communicated clearly and with an aesthetically appealing design.

– Email Blasts – Communications that are engaging and to the point will yield the best results. Language should be playful and inspiring. Selecting subject lines that yield high open rates is very important.

– Announcement Brochures – These printed pieces combine effective copy with awesome aesthetics that catch the eye. The copy should be very easy to comprehend and digest. Utilizing bullet points, small blocks of text, and compelling headlines will optimize reader comprehension. Bright colors, attractive images, and other enticing graphics will strengthen the appearance of the brochure and keep the reader engaged.

– Promotional Products – Tangible items that are branded and bear the program logo can be another effective way to reinforce the program to participants. Items that are fun and useful, or placed in high traffic areas for participants, will keep the sales incentive program in the front of their faces and in their minds.

– Text Message Alerts – These text messaging alerts allow users to opt-in to receive updates and news about the contest sent directly to their mobile device. This communication medium is an excellent way to keep motivation high, update progress, and remind participants of the prizes that they can win.

Internal Marketing Communication

Internal marketing communication is an important aspect of the marketing campaign. You will want to keep this flowing at all times to get the focus on your business. There are many different ways to communicate with your customers, but we would like to focus on 3 strong ways here.

1) Emails– Direct emails are a powerful way to communicate with your customers. The information is delivered to a list of individuals who have already shown an interested in what you are marketing. They will be highly receptive to the information that you send. Update your list frequently to capture the attention of your internal clients.

2) Blogs– You have lots of room to talk about anything you like. You will have an audience who is interested in what you have to say. Communicating about your business and your products is a natural part of blogging. Offer good information in your posts and you will have the opportunity to show off what you do as well.

3) Auto Responders– Once someone is inside your sales funnel you will want to stay in constant communications with them. You can use an auto responder to make this happen. You have the opportunity to send out messages with the content you want and at the frequency you determine. This is a powerful way to communicate not only with your new leads, but your partners as well.

The trick to internal marketing communication is to target you audience and stay consistent. You will want to offer the right information to them to keep them coming back. Take the time to learn about your options for communication and you will go far. A solid marketing and mentoring program can help you figure out what works best for you and your business.