Is a global marketing strategy really necessary for your business? If you were to develop an ad campaign in the United States, do you think the same campaign would be effective in France? Here we examine why it’s important to create a global marketing strategy for your business (no matter what size it is) and what the benefits are to crafting one.
First, let’s examine what global marketing isn’t. It’s not a standardized process that you take global. Some aspects can be standardized, such as a logo, but others, such as packaging or advertising strategy, may or may not be used to develop a global marketing strategy.
A global marketing strategy is one component of a global strategy. To be effective, it must incorporate all functional aspects of a business – from finance to operations to R&D. It must also carry a well-defined objective because without officially declaring where you are going, you will never get there. Be honest with yourself and your team. Ask: What are you trying to accomplish in an overseas market? What are the weaknesses and strengths in that market? How will you overcome them? What upside potential do you have? Then together sit still, answer the questions and begin to draft a global marketing strategy.
The more detailed the objective, the clearer and more focused the global marketing strategy becomes. For example, when a target market is selected (e.g., France), the market mix already in place locally — comprising of price, package and promotion — must be evaluated to determine what parts can be standardized and what parts must be adapted to meet the target overseas market requirements. Don’t think for a moment that you can minimize country-to-country differences! Embrace them and develop your strategy in such a way as to complement the differences.
If a global marketing strategy is done right, it can have many benefits for an organization. Here are four.
1. Improved product and service effectiveness
The more you grow, the faster you learn, and the more you learn, the more effective you become at rolling out new and improved product and service offerings. With Facebook’s recent IPO, the company has done a remarkable job servicing the needs of the North American market and making money. Its next expansion effort will be in India. What’s already been discovered is that Internet advertising makes up just 3 percent of India's advertising market, compared to 17 percent in the United States. For Facebook to develop a global marketing strategy in India, they must improve on their already existing North American strategy to monetize all the users in India in terms of their revenue base.
2. Stronger competitive advantage
Many companies are naturals at competing on a local basis. But how many companies do you know that can compete on a global basis? If your local competitors can’t compete on a global basis and you can, what does that make you? A global force not to be reckoned with!
As you move forward with your global strategy and provided it’s well-articulated, everyone gets on board, allowing for a better-informed and more focused organization as a whole worldwide. Further, it allows you to adapt quickly wherever needed and largely based on customer demands or trends in the global marketplace.
3. Heightened customer awareness
With the Internet, customers can track the progress or lack thereof of a product all over the world. Apple has a uniform and consistent message with its products – that of delivering exceptional design and experience through superb user interfaces. The “WOW” factor also plays into the heightened customer awareness throughout the world.
4. Cost reduction and savings
By focusing on new markets, you can achieve economies of scale and scope through standardization in some areas. Need we mention the savings in leveraging the Internet to go global? Customers from all corners of the world can find you, and you can reach potential customers with one single point of contact such as a website, blog or Facebook page. The cost savings can help you serve customers better worldwide.
Whether you run a one-person shop or an organization with three hundred employees, open and honest conversations about where you are going helps you create a global marketing strategy, builds collective commitment and is one of the many secrets to running a great, enduring global enterprise.