International Marketing Communications (Promotion)

International Marketing Communications (Promotion)

Media Choices for International Marketing

Marketing communications in international markets needs to be conducted with care. This lesson will consider some of the key issues that you need to take into account when promoting products or services in overseas markets. There will be influences upon your media choice, cultural issues to be considered, as well as the media choices themselves – personal selling, advertising, and others.

Other factors that need to be considered in relation to international marketing communications (Promotion) include:

  • The work ethic of employees and customers to be targeted by media.
  • Levels of literacy and the availability of education for the national population.
  • The similarity or diversity of beliefs, religion, morality and values in the target nation.
  • The similarity or diversity of beliefs, religion, morality and values in the target nation.
  • The family and the roles of those within it are factors to take into account.

Media Choices in International Marketing.

Personal Selling in International Marketing.

Personal selling has a number of pros and cons:

  • It is beneficial where wages tend to be low, since staffing costs will be comparatively low.
  • Where there are many languages, you’ll need trained sales personnel that can convey your message in specific tongues (see culture above).
  • The sales force will need to be supported. Commercial administration staff will have to take care of sales enquiries, send out product literature and samples, and make quotations – often online.
  • You’ll need to invest time and effort in recruiting, motivating, organizing and training a local sales force. Recruits will need to know about products and markets, language and culture, the location of target segments, customer buyer behaviour – and that’s just the beginning.
  • There is a dilemma as to whether to place expatriate employees into your international target market, or to recruit locally. Local is best!
  • Where business etiquette varies from culture to culture, you’ll need to train your people in what to expect – or recruit salesmen from the local market.

Advertising in International Marketing.

Advertising has a number of pros and cons:

  • When considering press advertising try to anticipate the levels of literacy within the nation in question. Where literacy levels are lower, perhaps you could use a more visual campaign.
  • Which language(s) is the press written in?
  • What is the split between regional and national press in your target market?
  • What types of television channels are available? Are they HDD, digital, analogue, satellite, cable, via the telephone, via a broadband or ADSL connection?
  • Which TV channels do our target segments watch?
  • Is there space on the suitable TV channels when we want it, or at a price that we can afford?
  • Where visual communication is paramount, are there suitable poster locations?
  • What is the behaviour of the target population in relation to cinema? For example, Cinema is tremendously popular in India.
  • Radio has similar issues as TV and press. Which stations do your target groups listen to – news, sports or music? Is there space available with the most suitable stations?

Other Media Choices in International Marketing.

Other potential media would include:

  • Web-based marketing using your own domestic site, or one developed specifically for the target market. Chinese websites are very different to Western sites. They are very busy and every single space is filled with images and text. Affiliate or pay-per-click advertising may be available.
  • International tradeshows, trade missions, sponsorship (for example international sporting events), Public Relations (for example oil companies) and a variety of other international marketing communications are available to the international marketer.
  • So, to finish, this lesson aimed to summarize the key options and issues that face the international marketer when dealing with marketing communications and media choices in international markets. Of course it is by no means conclusive.

Influences upon International Media Choice.

There are a number of factors that will impact upon choice and availability of media such as:

  • The nature and level of competition for marcoms channels in your target market.
  • Whether or not there is a rich variety of media in your target market.
  • The level of economic development in your target market (for example, in remote regions of Africa there would be no mains electricity on which to run TVs or radios).
  • The availability of other local resources to assist you with your campaign will also need to be investigated (for example, sales people or local advertising expertise).
  • Local laws may not allow specific content or references to be made in adverts (for example, it is not acceptable to show naked legs in adverts displayed in Muslim countries).
  • And of course a lot depends upon the purpose of the international campaign in the first place. What are your international marketing communications objectives?

Cultural Issues and International Marketing Communications.

There are a whole range of cultural issues that international marketers need to consider when communicating with target audiences in different cultures.

Language will always be a challenge. One cannot use a single language for an international campaign. For example, there are between six and twelve main regional variations of the Chinese languages, with the most popular being Mandarin (c 850 Million), followed by Wu (c. 90 million), Min (c. 70 million) and Cantonese (c. 70 million). India has 22 languages including Assamese, Bengali, Bodo, Dogri, Gujarati, Hindi, Punjabi, and Tamil to name but a few. Of course language choice could affect branding choices , and the names of products and services. Hidden messages and humour would be especially tricky to convey. Famous examples include the Vauxhall Corsa, which was called the Nova in the United Kingdom – of course No Va! Would not be an acceptable name in Spanish. A similar problem was left unaddressed by Toyota, with their MR2 in France (think about it!).

Design, symbolism and aesthetics sometimes do not transcend international boundaries. For example Japanese aesthetics sometimes focus upon taste and beauty. Also look at Japanese cars from the front – they have a smiling face.

The manner in which people present themselves in terms of dress and appearance changes from culture to culture. For example in Maori culture, dress plays a central role with everyday clothing differing greatly from ceremonial costume. Whereas in Western business-culture the standard ‘uniform’ tends to be a conservative collar and tie.