How to Nail Your International Marketing Launch

/ Thoughtspace - Blogs, Global Brands, Marketing Strategy

In today’s world, we have access to the global marketplace with much less friction than in decades past. Previously, it was very difficult to initiate an international marketing launch without local people on the ground. You had to know who to call to get your ads placed. 

The growth of digital was the biggest catalyst for globalization at the turn of the century. We gained the ability to conduct business, advertise and communicate from one location to another with ease. Access to the international marketplace means boundless opportunity, but can also be overwhelming for brands and marketers. 

Thankfully, digital advertising and content promotion provides the flexibility to test, adjust, and be nimble with your marketing campaigns as you learn the nuances of a new landscape.

Here’s four reasons why digital marketing is an ideal starting point for your international marketing launch:

It allows you to: 

  1. Launch campaigns quickly
  2. Test before you invest
  3. Flexibly adjust media placements 
  4. Track real-time results 

Launch Campaigns Quickly

Taking a digital-first approach lowers many logistical barriers to entry for a new market launch. Oftentimes, traditional advertising mediums involve lengthy contract processes, upfronts and lead times. 

For example, in Japan, one media conglomerate owns the majority of all traditional media in the country. If you want to activate traditional ads in Japan, you must partner with them in order to penetrate the marketplace. On the contrary, digital offers a much quicker way to market, with much less red tape and upfront cost. Once you have digital campaigns up and running and understand what is working, you can begin to supplement with traditional media placements. This allows you to have a well-rounded, data-driven strategy. 

Test Before You Invest

With digital advertising, you can understand your ability to scale with your target audience in a new market before making a major investment in buys that offer little flexibility. To do so, lean into a test and learn approach to allow your marketing initiatives to fail forward. 

However, don’t be too timid. If you only dip your toe in the water, you will not have enough information to know if your campaign is making an impact. Do the upfront research to create a strategic plan and then put mechanisms in place to test and track media success and pivot quickly as needed. 

How to Run a Test Campaign in a New Market

Look at the population of the country and the specific audience you are targeting. The goal is to reach a percentage of the audience at a high enough frequency so they know your brand. Typically this is around 6-12 exposures, depending on creative strength. Once you’ve reached this threshold, use a measurement framework or consumer study to understand the effectiveness of your campaign. Did it create strong brand recall? Was there a lift in brand affinity? 

Some brands will also need to consider non-paid media ways your brand has been exposed to audiences in a given country. Have you had any positive or negative press? Are there any Google trends to inform changes in interest level? 

Flexibly Adjust Media Placements

Another benefit of digital marketing for international brands is the ability to quickly pull media out of market. In today’s climate, certain contexts can quickly become problematic due to changes in current events or world news. Even if there aren’t major world events impacting your marketing ecosystem, be sure you’re staying nimble in your approach to culturally relevant messaging, swapping out creatives based on what is and is not resonating. 

Track Real-Time Results

Comparing marketing metrics across various countries will never be apples to apples. However, digital ads will give you quicker results and show clearer signals of success. Real-time platform data can give you a baseline understanding of what’s working, rather than waiting for post-campaign result readouts. This is especially critical during the testing phase.

To see a more holistic view of your advertising results, aim to have a unified measurement strategy in place to benchmark long-term success. Start by understanding what you can and can’t track in various countries. Then, consider filling in any gaps with these methods for gathering meaningful insights: 

  • Do your own commissioned survey research (ie. brand lift study)
  • Use global market research providers (ie. Harris Poll)
  • Create a cross-country scoring model to normalize data across different geographies

As you plan your international market launch, start with a digital approach to be more nimble, timely and informed.  But, achieving maximum scale across a full country profile will require you to eventually incorporate traditional channels into the marketing mix. 

Ready to Launch?

For help preparing your international marketing launch, contact Coegi today to get started. 

To read more, view Ryan’s second article on The Drum: The Key to Breaking Into International Markets


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