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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

How to grow your business internationally

Globalization, Free Trade, Global Marketing, Trade Agreements
Developing economies abroad provide expansion opportunities for businesses

By Sarah Detlef

Changing political landscapes, advances in technology, improving infrastructure, accessibility to high quality localization and translation services and improving economic conditions around the world are influencing a growing number of businesses to develop global business strategies by entering overseas markets.  While domestic markets are still very lucrative to manufacturers, the United States represents a small fraction of the overall population and only one third of total purchasing power in the world.  Thus going global offers huge rewards for businesses that invest and plan wisely.  Entering foreign markets requires investment and innovation, whereas increasing competition influences the development of well-thought-out strategies.  As an example, with sales stagnant in many developed countries, PepsiCo’s beverage division developed a strategy to enter Africa. 

What is international marketing?

International marketing deals with planning and initiating marketing strategies outside of a domestic market.  As an example, Walmart employs 2.2 million workers in 10,000 retail units that are located in 27 countries. McDonald’s has 35,000 restaurants that serve an estimated 70 million people who are located in more than 100 countries each day. General Motors, the second largest foreign automobile manufacturer in China, sold more than 200,000 more automobiles in China than in the United Stated during the first six months of 2013.  Starbucks has more than 21,000 stores in 62 countries, that serves approximately 20 million customers each week. 

The potential of international marketing

Obviously, successful international marketing strategies offer great potential for profitability and growth.  In an effort to support international marketers, governments throughout the world are offering assistance to domestic companies to help them develop effective international marketing strategies.  In the United States, Export.gov, operated by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration, provides manuals, webinars and licensing information to companies seeking to export products throughout the world. 

Marketing internationally—Then and now

In the past, companies didn’t have the resources provided by government agencies, organizations and trade groups.  Instead, companies had to learn the best ways to marketing internationally by trial and error.   These early international marketers included such giants as McDonald’s and KFC that gradually entered new markets as they acquired knowledge about those markets and opportunities.   However, as a growing body of knowledge about entering foreign markets became known, that knowledge was made available to larger numbers of people, companies and organizations.  In the 1990’s, the amount of information available allowed some companies like PayPal, Dell, eBay and Cisco to launch with the resources needed to sell their products internationally.  Upstart technology-based companies frequently had a larger percentage of revenues coming from outside their domestic markets and were able to begin exporting their products quickly.

Employment opportunities

For language translation services companies, the trend for businesses to enter and expand in overseas markets presents considerable opportunities.  Translators should be aware of global marketing and the economic and social characteristics that produce opportunities and threats for businesses.  Translators seeking new clients might also want to familiarize themselves with various trade consortiums and agreements, the various ways companies are entering foreign markets and the degree to which companies are involved in the distribution and marketing of their products. Lastly, translators should also become familiar with how prospective clients are fine-tuning the marketing mix for the various markets they participate in.

 About the author: Sarah Detlef is a freelance translator with 24hourtranslation.com.