Important factors for a marketing campaign in a local/foreign/international market

Published on 24/10/2023

Adapting a marketing campaign to a local market

  • Understanding local culture: Knowing the values, beliefs, traditions and behaviours specific to the region helps us to better understand expectations. In this way, the campaign is more likely to generate positive engagement with the target audience. 

Starbucks, for example, has decided to open a shop in Beijing. Their marketing plan was based on takeaway coffee, but in China most people prefer to enjoy their coffee in an establishment or in a group. 

  • Language and communication: Adapting marketing content into the local language is crucial in order to establish an effective connection with the audience. It is essential to ensure that messages, slogans or any branding campaign are translated accurately and appropriately to avoid any misunderstandings or miscommunications. That's why a translation agency can be the solution.

KFC wanted to translate its slogan, "Finger-lickin' good", from English into Chinese. Unfortunately, a translation error changed the meaning of the translated slogan into "Eat your fingers off". 

  • Understanding the local competition: Studying local competition is crucial to standing out on the local market. Understanding their position, what they offer and the preferences of local consumers can help to create a differentiated and attractive marketing campaign. 

When Apple launched its marketing campaign in South Korea, it highlighted the strengths of its products. The problem was the existence of local brands with a huge following that offer similar products to Apple.

  • Local legislation and standards: Each local market has its own laws and standards in relation to advertising and marketing. It is important to ensure that the campaign complies with all the legal standards in force in the target country.

Uber decided to launch its ride-sharing services in a new European country, ignoring the regulations on licences, insurance and fares. Uber is therefore breaking the law and risks prosecution. 

Adapting a marketing campaign to a foreign market 

  • In-depth market research: by studying demand and understanding the cultural differences and preferences of local consumers, we can tailor a product or service that is more appropriate and therefore more in demand.

McDonald's introduced a new range of vegetarian products without any prior market research in Asia. They assumed that vegetarian consumer preferences are similar to those in other markets, but in Asia some cultures have a strong vegetarian tradition.

  • Cultural adaptation: Each country has its own cultural, social and economic standards. A marketing campaign requires careful cultural adaptation to avoid any clumsiness or unintentional offence.

Coca-Cola created a global advertising campaign featuring Christmas symbols such as Father Christmas, reindeer and snowy landscapes. However, some regions do not celebrate the season in the same way as Western countries.

  • Distribution and communication methods: It's important to adapt to local preferences in terms of media such as social networks, but also online advertising and sales channels, in order to reach your target audience effectively.

Amazon's services offer delivery times and costs that are higher than those of local companies, so they are not competitive. 

  • Price adjustment: adjusting prices and converting them into local currency without exchange rates helps maintain competitiveness on the local market.

Adapting a marketing campaign to an international market 

  • Consideration of cultural differences: On an international market, cultural differences can be even more pronounced. An international campaign must adopt a culturally neutral and inclusive approach to reach a diverse audience, as seen above in the Coca-Cola example.
  • Use of universal symbols and images: This allows clear, understandable messages to be conveyed across linguistic and cultural boundaries.

For example, Nike has created an advertising campaign using universal symbols and images associated with sport, effort, perseverance and success. They use images of sportspeople from different countries, cultures and disciplines. Nike has succeeded in getting its message across.

  • Compliance with international laws and standards: This includes data protection, specific advertising restrictions and legal requirements.   

For example, Google launched an advertising campaign without any legal problems, gaining the trust of consumers by demonstrating its commitment to data protection and confidentiality.

  • Brand consistency: Brand image must remain recognisable and true to its core values, while being adapted locally.

Apple promotes elegant, uncluttered visuals, with specific colours and typography that are distinctive of the brand.

In conclusion, adapting a marketing campaign to a local, foreign or international market requires an in-depth understanding of the cultures, consumers and standards specific to each market. A thoughtful, targeted approach can help maximise the effectiveness of the campaign and create a lasting bond with the target audience, whatever the target market.

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