What are the Elements of International Marketing? (Answered!)

International marketing can be a game-changer for virtually any business.

And if you are looking for the elements of international marketing, you have come to the right place.

What are the elements of international marketing?
The elements of international marketing include: 1. Cultural and social environment, 2. Legal frameworks, 3. Political environment, 4. Technological factors, 5. Economic environment, 6. Marketing goals.

Reaching out to international markets can add value to a brand, including increasing brand awareness, bumping up sales, realizing economies of scale, gaining a competitive advantage, driving innovation, and spreading the risk. 

As more companies and businesses expand their reach, marketers can't solely rely on the strategies they utilize in their home markets. 

A solid international marketing strategy is essential if you want to compete globally.

Let’s now address some of the elements and common challenges of international marketing.

What Are the Challenges of International Marketing?

To succeed in today's international marketplace, a company and its management must master certain aspects of international marketing. 

For a review of the advantages and disadvantages of international marketing, go here: 

The Advantages and Disadvantages of International Marketing (+benefits)

Not just about getting access to funds for your marketing efforts, but these aspects include understanding global marketing environments, assessing foreign marketing opportunities, understanding how capital markets flow across the globe, developing international marketing strategies, managing global marketing efforts, and navigating global marketing challenges, among others.

As you can see, effective international marketing encompasses a web of nuances that can make the endeavor complicated and daunting, especially if it's your first time going global. Herein is a comprehensive overview of international marketing elements to help you get the best out of your international marketing campaigns.

For a useful free checklist to help you get your international marketing strategy started, visit:

International Marketing Strategies PDF (Free checklist)

There are several issues that companies, and their marketing teams, face when expanding internationally. The challenges detailed below are often significant obstacles to achieving global marketing success.

1. The Globalization versus Localization Conundrum

The diversity of foreign environments, particularly political, legal, and cultural, can be an obstacle to developing optimal international marketing strategies. Many companies face the counteracting concepts of globalization vs. localization (see: globalization vs. deglobalization) when formulating marketing strategies.

International marketing tends to push companies to adapt to their local environments, leading to fragmentation of business operations. At the same time, there is a natural tendency for companies to want to integrate and provide uniformity to their operations. The challenge arises because uniformity is at odds with fragmentation.

Both approaches contribute different benefits to international marketing strategies. As such, companies must strike a balance between close-knit strategies with similar global units and variegated marketing activities that are loosely related.

2. Identifying Market Needs

One of the primary keys to success for any business is to offer products or services for which consumers have a compelling need. Consumers have needs or pain points that have to be solved, and your product or service must provide an effective solution whose benefits are easy to communicate. Determining the true market needs of a large number of consumers in foreign markets is not easy.

Having not experienced their day-to-day lives and lived in their culture, many marketers assume the consumer needs in a foreign nation match that of their home country.

Understanding your global audience in demographics, interests, and product appeal is key to international marketing success. Still, it requires thorough market research, which can be costly and time-consuming.

3. Cultural Nuances

Marketing primarily involves influencing consumers to purchase products or services by delivering marketing messages through various channels. The cultural nuances of different regions can make international marketing a tricky landscape to traverse. For example, marketers may use humor in a commercial message to grab a consumer's attention.

However, what one culture considers funny may be perceived as insulting in another culture. As such, producing effective global marketing material isn’t just about translation from one language to another. Effective global marketing usually requires a deep understanding of the customs, morals, views, and cultures of the foreign regions you seek to penetrate.  

4. Dilution of the Power of Brand Names

Branding and public image are essential components of most businesses. While getting your brand name in front of many consumers abroad is easier today, this does not necessarily mean that your products or services will be popular when you introduce them to foreign markets.

Being aware of your brand name is different from preferring it. It can be expensive and time-consuming to build the trust of consumers who are already used to their local brands for years, decades, or even generations. Developing branding potential in a foreign nation is a major challenge, particularly in localizing your message.

What Are the Factors Affecting International Marketing?

One of the mistakes that many marketers make is underestimating the numerous considerations that shape international marketing strategies. The factors that influence the international marketing environment include:

1. Cultural/Social Environment

The cultural environment of a region encompasses the influence of social, religion, family, and educational systems. To market your products or services in a foreign nation, you must be sensitive to foreign cultures.

While cultural differences may seem minor, failure to account for these differences may translate to the inability to implement an effective marketing campaign.

This is one of the main reasons for global marketing failures. Cultural differences that you must consider include language, customs, religions, values, social structures, taboos, business norms, time, and seemingly mundane things like color and aesthetics.

2. Legal Frameworks

The legal environment of foreign countries will significantly differ from that of your home country. Foreign nations can engage in practices that may be detrimental or beneficial to global marketing efforts depending on the legal frameworks.

Foreign governments can affect marketing strategies by influencing contracts for supply and delivery of products and services, registration and enforcement of brand names, trademarks and labels, marketing communications, patents, pricing, product acceptability, safety, and environmental impacts.

3. Political Environment

Business activity often grows and thrives in politically stable countries. A multinational company can still function in a politically unstable country. However, their marketing strategies will be affected by this instability.

A firm can engage primarily in exports instead of investing in foreign subsidiaries. This operational model leads to low inventories and quick currency conversion, leading to higher prices and less satisfactory products, making marketing more challenging.

4. Technological Factors

The level of technological development of a country impacts the attractiveness of conducting business in the country and the operations that will be possible. As a marketer from a developed nation, you can’t take technological advances for granted.

You may not have access to them in less developed nations you may wish to penetrate. Below are some of the technology-related factors that can significantly affect your global marketing program:

  • Communication facilities may affect mass media advertisement
  • Lack of data processing infrastructure may make planning, implementing, and managing marketing activities difficult

5. Economic Environment

A country's economic environment encompasses its capacity (current and potential) to produce products/services and its citizens to consume the same. Evaluating a country's economic landscape is vital to understanding marketing opportunities. A country's economic environment can be categorized as industrialized, developing, or less-developed.

Industrialized nations have significant marketing opportunities but may exhibit market saturation. Developing nations may be importing limited products, but they have long-term potential.

As the economic development landscape of a country changes, so should the sophistication of your marketing efforts focused on that country.

6. Marketing Goals

After conducting thorough market research and evaluating your company's capabilities concerning global marketing, you can formulate your overall sales and marketing objectives. The process you adopt to create your short-term and long-term marketing goals is crucial and varies depending on the nature of the foreign market, the size of your business, and the abilities of regional managers.

Regional managers must have a clear and realistic marketing plan for each country at the operational level. This plan accounts for the local situation and details what is expected of the marketers and how you will measure performance. Global marketing objectives may include financial performance (ROI), market penetration, customer growth, brand awareness and image, and product diffusion.

References:

  1. https://opentextbc.ca/strategicmanagement/chapter/advantages-and-disadvantages-of-competing-in-international-markets/
  2. https://www.studocu/com/row/document/anton-de-kom-universiteit-van-suriname/globalisering/unification-or-fragmentation-challenges-in-a-globalizing-world/1967817
  3. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/320775259_The_Influence_of_Culture_on_Global_Marketing_Strategies_A_Confirmation_Study
  4. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1267863
  5. https://kadence.com/the-top-five-challenges-in-international-market-research/
  6. https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33820/5-major-challenges-marketers-face-and-how-to-solve-them.aspx
  7. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/234627095.pdf
  8. https://www.cleverism.com/factors-to-consider-for-international-marketing/
  9. https://innovation-entrepreneurship.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s13731-018-0093-4
  10. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/international-marekting-environmental-factors-affect-global-mamdouh
  11. https://www.fao.org/3/w5973e/w5973e02.htm
  12. https://www.economicsdiscussion.net/marketing-2/international-marketing/what-is-international-marketing/32402
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