Before the internet, only a few successful companies needed global marketing strategies. These were the biggest names in business, operating in international markets with employees across the world.
One such company is Coca-Cola. The beverage corporation has catered to a worldwide customer base for decades, adapting advertising, distribution, and pricing to fit each market while maintaining its global brand strategy of sharing happiness.
Fast forward to the 2000s, and most companies are global from the start. The internet makes it possible for anyone to create an online business presence — whether it's a one-page website, e-commerce shop, or social media profile.
With reasonable budgets and marketing creativity, companies of all sizes can launch global marketing campaigns and attract more customers without dedicated marketing teams.
It's essential to create a deliberate global marketing strategy before executing global marketing campaigns. A solid strategy increases your chances of connecting with your target market and converting prospects to customers.
This article will teach you how to plan a global marketing strategy — but first, let’s cover the basics.
What is a global marketing strategy?
A global marketing strategy is an overall marketing strategy to expand a business into markets across the world. It's the reference for localized marketing plans to reach various regions and new markets.
A global marketing strategy doesn't only cover selling products across borders. It includes layering the 4 Ps of marketing (Product, Pricing, Promotions, and Place) with other marketing processes such as analysis, planning, tracking results, and gathering social proof.
Your strategy should aim to increase global brand awareness, gain a competitive advantage, and position your company as a valuable solution for your customers. It should also highlight your relationships with the communities you operate in and how you give back.
How do you plan a global marketing strategy?
A significant part of global marketing strategy today is digital. This is primarily divided into owned, paid, and earned marketing channels. Your market demographic and location determine where you spend most of your budget and effort.
Ensure your global marketing strategy is consistent with a uniform brand name, similar products, identical packaging, aligned messages, similar pricing, and synchronized product launches. Group similar countries to form a geographical segment and streamline your marketing efforts.
To begin creating your global marketing strategy, ask:
- What is your organization trying to achieve in the global market?
- Are you creating a new market or tapping into an existing one?
- Which countries or regions support your business most?
- What's the majority demographic in your market?
- Why do customers love your product?
- Where are your competitors most active?
- What is your competitive advantage in potential markets?
- How can you improve and scale what works best?
- What are the peculiarities of your potential markets?
- Should you have a single brand story or different messaging for different markets?
The answers to these questions will set you on the right path to creating a well-rounded global marketing strategy.
Steps to plan your global marketing strategy
The following steps help you plan a strong global marketing strategy:
Conducting market research
Getting a first-hand understanding and judgment of your potential markets is crucial. Study their culture and behaviors. What channels are most appropriate for marketing? Where do they meet online and offline? Conducting thorough market research protects you from making avoidable, costly mistakes.
Analyze where your market segments come from and consider the factors contributing to turning prospects into customers. Choose regions where you have the most significant business opportunity.
Assemble a team
Your market research will show you which regions work best for your product and company. The next step is to gather the talent and team you need to execute your marketing strategy.
It's wise to have some team members with experience and expertise living or working in your target areas. You may choose to hire local freelancers or a marketing agency. Review your budget and decide which option is best. Invite your team into your digital workspace, giving appropriate permissions, access, and visibility to each team member.
Create your marketing plan
Now you've chosen your markets and put together a marketing team, you're ready to put together your global marketing strategy. Begin by identifying your company's goals and fitting them into the landscape of your potential market.
Your product's value proposition may change in different markets, so adapt accordingly. Uber, for example, promotes cash over cards in developing markets where cash payments are predominant.
Localize your brand message
It's a lazy marketing mistake to assume that every market shares the same characteristics and pain points. What worked in one country may not work in another. Localize your global strategy and adopt prevailing marketing practices. Aim to delight your new market with a tailored-to-fit experience.
When creating ads and media assets, focus on connecting with your customers. Get familiar with their desires and make your messaging clear and personalized so there's no confusion about who you are selling to. It's helpful to learn about popular cultural references, events, and holidays to create a truly global, local experience.
Tweak and improve
A marketing strategy is never a one-and-done task. Split test elements, track marketing analytics, and improve your marketing message to get the best results. Marketing management software like Wrike helps you execute campaigns, extract insights, collaborate with internal and external teams, and re-create what works.
Benefits of a global marketing strategy
While it's never been easier to broadcast your brand worldwide, there are both benefits and challenges to creating a global marketing strategy.
Some of the benefits of global marketing strategies include:
- Increased brand awareness: What brand wouldn't want the name recognition and customer base of McDonald's or Starbucks? A global marketing strategy allows you to place your product in markets you couldn't reach otherwise.
- Improved product quality: The knowledge you gain from expanding into new markets enables you to fine-tune your product and processes, leading to more value for your customers.
- Advantage over competitors: Conducting business worldwide gives you the upper hand over local competitors who can't or don't have a global marketing strategy. It also enables you to adapt quickly to customer demands or market trends.
- Lower costs: Customers from all corners of the world can find you online, lowering your marketing and promotion costs. These savings can be funneled into serving your new customers better.
Challenges of a global marketing strategy
However, having a global marketing strategy also comes with some potential problems, which can include:
- Compliance issues: Different markets have different rules regarding data protection and security, such as GDPR in the European Union and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). You must ensure that your company follows the rules when doing business in other countries.
- Adapting to new markets: It's critical to adapt your marketing strategy to fit new geographical locations. Ever wonder why Starbucks is not as ubiquitous in Australia as it is in the rest of the world? Well, as local coffee is king in the Australian coffee market, people found the chain to be too expensive. Localizing your strategy is essential to success.
- Language barriers: Businesses need to be extra-diligent where language barriers are present. A local agency should approve all translations to avoid embarrassment — for example, when Pepsi launched the slogan "Pepsi Brings You Back to Life" in China, it translated as "Pepsi Brings You Back From the Grave."
Examples of successful global marketing strategies
There's no one-size-fits-all approach to global marketing. You can find many examples when you look at the brands dominating their respective industries. Here are examples of successful global marketing strategies.
- Starbucks taps into what makes local audiences tick, providing localized menus — for instance, Dragon Dumplings in Hong Kong.
- Lay's adapts flavor offerings to suit local tastes and uses different brand names: Lay's in the US, Smith's in Australia, and Walkers in the UK. This approach is based on maintaining consumer connections with the branding that they already know.
- Netflix commissions local productions within a global infrastructure. The company's massive global marketing highlights the value of linguistic and cultural connections.
- Domino's changes toppings to reflect each market's tastes. The basic pizza recipe remains the same, but the toppings deliver local appeal.
- Airbnb embraces the power of social media. Their #OneLessStranger campaign engaged three million people around the world in three weeks.
- Nike captures global attention by carefully choosing international sponsorships. Demand rises seasonally because of triggers like world championships and tournaments.
- Shopify creates sites with localized language and content. For each region, you are directed to a fully localized website. Localized content marketing helps Shopify grow massively globally.
- Uber adapts fluidly to local customs and spending habits. As the company expands into new markets, it offers solutions for each context. In some locations, where cash is preferred to card payments, Uber has adapted its product and marketing message to suit.
What you need to know about global market segmentation
Global market segmentation is the process of dividing your target market into defined groups with specific characteristics. The purpose of segmentation is to identify distinct groups within your target market so that you can deliver more targeted and niche-focused messaging and products. There are four types of global market segmentation:
- Behavioral segmentation: Behavioral market segmentation categorizes your market based on their previous behavior with your brand. Some of the traits within this type include purchase patterns, previous purchases, awareness of your business, and product rating.
- Demographic segmentation: Demographic market segmentation focuses on who the customer is. The traits placed in this segment depend on whether you run a B2B or B2C business. B2B companies would include industry type, company size, years of practice, and revenue range. Traits in a B2C company would include age, education, gender, occupation, family status, and income.
- Geographic segmentation: Geographic market segmentation allows you to split your market audience based on their location, which is sometimes a helpful purchase decision-making factor.
- Psychographic segmentation: Psychographic market segmentation separates markets based on their personalities. Traits within this segmentation include lifestyle, attitudes, values, and interests.
When you enter a new market, effective communication is one of the best ways to differentiate your business. Market segmentation helps to pinpoint the messaging that will drive your customers to make a purchase, helping you create better marketing communications. When your marketing campaigns are targeted to specific customer subsets, you get a better response rate than a campaign that uses generic descriptors that apply to anyone but appeal to no one.
How to plan a global brand strategy with Wrike
Planning a global brand strategy may seem overwhelming at first. Wrike helps simplify this process for you and your team by providing a digital workspace where you can gather market research, put together a team with varied permissions, roles, and access, and detail your marketing strategy.