by Matt Alderton | August 14, 2019
In his comedic play As You Like It, William Shakespeare famously said, "All the world's a stage." If it were rewritten for the modern age, however, the line might instead read, "All the world's a marketplace." After all, globalization has made it possible for businesses of all sizes and types to sell their products and services all over the globe.

But selling to international buyers isn't easy. "Marketing your product or service abroad requires adequate research and preparation. For businesses to succeed overseas, they must appeal to their international consumer base," author Skye Schooley writes in an article for Business News Daily. "Without the proper considerations, marketing to a foreign audience can have disastrous outcomes. Sending the wrong message can not only discourage consumers from buying your product, but it could lead them to boycott your business altogether."

The most common mistake businesses make when trying to engage foreign customers is translating their domestic marketing materials for international markets.

"Conveying your marketing message to an international audience is not as simple as inputting your message into Google Translate and sending it off to consumers. You must understand your audience and the nuances of their language," notes Schooley, who says you should create custom marketing materials for every overseas market you target. "Localization for each country or region is imperative to communicate nuance, which is often the hallmark of positioning and taglines."

To make sure your marketing messages resonate, be sure to "have people on the team who know the culture you're marketing to inside and out," Scott Kellner, vice president of marketing at global marketing agency George P. Johnson, tells Schooley. "Do not publish, share or promote anything on an international scale without cross-referencing the content with individuals from the respective area who are fluent in the language and culture."

Simply put: Don't just market at foreign buyers; market to them, with them and for them.

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