Marketers have agreed for many years: content is king. When a company is primarily trying to spread content and build brand awareness in their native country, they generally have a pretty good handle on how to tell an engaging story, what platforms to use to connect with people, and what iconography to use in order to convey the appropriate message.
When companies start to expand into new, worldwide markets, however, their message needs to change and evolve or risk being misunderstood. Companies should also develop even their specific marketing to be as inclusive as possible. Some differences can't be avoided – facial tattoos are admired in cultures
, while in others they are considered firmly alternative culture, for example – but when possible, marketing should be accessible to a global audience. After all, there's no telling when a company might go viral and capture global attention.
What should you consider as you rethink your marketing strategy for a worldwide audience? Strategise first
It's always tempting to hit the ground running when you're looking at marketing, but taking time to understand a new marketing segment
before you dive in is a good idea. Before you start creating new content, take time to strategise. What's your budget? What is your current presence in the area? What are the areas in which you produce your most powerful content? What are the products you most want to promote?
When you know what your goals are, you can make a better plan and be more likely to achieve those goals. Stakeholders in worldwide markets
To create content that drives worldwide interest, companies should work with stakeholders in all the countries where they hope to drive traffic. Partners in the target markets can provide unique insight on where marketing does work – and where it doesn’t. These partners can make sure that the overall direction of marketing is appropriate, that it will reach the intended audience, and that it will have the desired results. Understand what stories matter
Stories are often approached as if the very concept of a story is a universal experience. This is not actually true. Different cultures tell stories in very different ways, and translation is often a question of more than just language. When you are developing content for your worldwide market, it's a good idea to optimise the content for better conversions
in many different areas before assuming that it is universal.
In fact, it may benefit a company to give up the idea of universal marketing. Instead of something so generic that it works anywhere, a company might benefit from using marketing that targets specific niches in global markets, just as American marketing does. Be aware of local regulations
Countries approach marketing in different ways; what is allowed to be offered in an American commercial or ad may be very different from one offered in another country. Assuming that content can be advertised anywhere in the world is simply incorrect.
Companies also need to consider any censorship, official or unofficial, that the local government might perpetuate. It is possible to work within censorship guidelines
, but you need to know what might run your company afoul of local regulations and avoid causing problems with the authorities. Understand how content is accessed
In the United States, customers are more and more likely to consume media through a mobile device
, although many users continue to access the internet through desktop portals. Outside of the United States, however, mobile platforms are vastly more common. This means that a worldwide marketing plan must be mobile optimised. Websites need to be mobile friendly.
Beyond that, however, it is important to understand which social media platforms are used to consume media. Facebook and Twitter are fairly ubiquitous, for example, but there might be local niche platforms that are easier to target than social media giants. Depending on the desired brand perception, those niche platforms might also be the right space for your brand.
When crafting a marketing campaign that will simply be accessible around the world, the goal is simply to create a campaign that won't blatantly offend those in other cultures. When a worldwide marketing campaign is being developed, however, it is important to consider facets from other cultures in many different ways. Partnering with local stakeholders – not just those who have moved to the country from the company's home location – will help give campaigns the kind of individualized approach that can make a new campaign take hold and take off.
Approaching your campaign design with a strategic mind will help you find the right way to create what you need for your marketing now and later.