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Profit”  (CC BY 2.0)  by  GotCredit 

Expanding into new territories can make or break a business. Get it right, and you can expand your market to a whole new audience. Get it wrong and it can be a costly mistake that eats into your budget and damages your brand’s reputation.

Here are some things to look out for when marketing to home and foreign audiences, and how they are subtly different to each other.

Work with native speakers when translating marketing assets

Inc have rounded up some legendary, and extremely awkward, foreign marketing fails. Most of the issues on this list revolve around assets being poorly translated, or the marketing team not knowing enough about foreign colloquialisms, as well as the individual quirks of the languages they are translating into.

This kind of oversight is a nightmare for the image of a brand abroad.

Translating existing content, or marketing to a new, foreign audience based upon what works for your current audience is a dangerous path to tread.

Had these companies worked with native speakers from the start on these campaigns, these issues would have been picked up right away.

Divide and conquer

Florent Guedon of London’s Greenlight Digital takes this thought even further in the global vs local for digital marketing debate. He highlights that certain countries may have different dialects or variations of a language. Speaking to your audience in the wrong language can be disastrous. It shows you haven’t done your research properly and will fail to resonate with your target audience.

As Search Engine Land, one of the web’s most trusted sources when it comes to search engine news have mentioned, it’s vital to segment your national paid marketing audience. This gives paid marketers more data to work with. It allows them to physically see which locations convert the best.

This then allows them to focus their time and budget on the locations that give the best return – even though it is a national campaign. It is much easier to segment audiences, and then dominate these segments, then own an entire national space in one swoop.

Smart Insights, online digital marketing strategists, have put together a comprehensive article on the merits of audience segmentation. As you will be able to see, there’s a mass of data by which an audience can be segmented – all of which could be relevant to foreign markets.

For example, different markets will have different spending habits, attitudes to products, and differing operational methods.

A prime example of this, as noted by HSBC, is Wal-Mart’s catastrophic foray into the German markets. When the retail mega corporation decided to pull out of the German market, it had already lost up to $1 billion, which can be placed down to the retailer not knowing how the German retail market operates and the type of store the German market favours.

This is a pertinent point. Your product could be viable and sound in one market and totally inept in another. Even with the best marketing team in the world on the job, that wouldn’t be enough to save the business if the demand or opportunity simply isn’t there.

Andy McGowan
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