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International Marketing in the Digital Age

Are you considering broadening your customer base? Going global? It is now possible for anyone, any company, to market globally. If you’re considering expanding into new countries or areas of the world, here are some basic tips, ideas, and mistakes to avoid.  

  1. Don’t assume that the same approach will work
    As good marketers know, creating the most effective campaigns within the United States requires different approaches for different customer segments. When you market to other cultures you need to consider new strategies, maybe even entirely new branding.
  2. Getting started
    a. Basic market research – study available information to help determine if there is a need for your product or service
    b. Go to industry-wide trade shows – great way to connect with international customers to inquire about
    c. Consider an approach and packaging that will help you stand out from competitors in that area
  3. Register for regional domains
  4. Host your website natively – helps build trust
  5. Multilingual SEO
    Take culture and language into account when you create your lists of specific terms and keywords.
  6. Sample of Properly Translated Digital-media Terms

7. Have Cultural Awareness

7. Watch Your Translations

Examples that went way wrong

A Canadian importer of Turkish shirts destined for Quebec used a dictionary to help him translate into French the label "Made in Turkey." His final translation: "Fabrique en Dinde." True, "dinde" means "turkey." But it refers to the bird, not to the country, which in French is Turquie.
An Otis Engineering Corp. display at a Moscow exhibition produced as many snickers among the Russians as it did praise. Company executives were not happy to learn that a translator had rendered in Russian a sign identifying "completion equipment" as "equipment for orgasms."
Japan’s Olfa Corp. sold knives in the United States with the warning "Caution: Blade extremely sharp. Keep out of children."

In one country the popular Frank Perdue Co. slogan, "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken," read in local language something akin to "It takes a sexually excited man to make a chicken affectionate."
One company in Taiwan, trying to sell diet food to expatriates living there, urged consumers to buy its product to add "roughage" to their systems. The instructions claimed that a person should consume enough roughage until "your tool floats." Someone dropped the "s" from "stool."

How about the Hong Kong dentist who advertised "Teeth extracted by the latest Methodists."
Or the hotel in notoriously polluted Mexico City that proclaimed: "The manager has personally passed all the water served here."

General Motors Corp.’s promotion in Belgium for its car that had a "body by Fisher" turned out to be, in the Flemish translation, "corpse by Fisher."
Digital marketing seems to make anything possible – the world is literally at your fingertips. Just make sure if you’re dealing with translations, it actually says what you meant to say!

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