The influence of culture in export marketing

The brand-centric marketing era is over. The digitalisation of marketing has considerably grown, and in the last 2 years the internet has become an extremely difficult place to compete. Brands that don’t evolve and adapt quickly to this new era of communication will not survive. In the last five years, to be able to succeed in export marketing, brands have had to create a personal relationship with their audiences. Generic mass-advertised messages do not deliver desired results anymore and successful campaigns are largely defined by how well they adapt to their target audiences. A bespoke strategy must be utilised because target audiences exhibit different nationalities, ages, professions, interests, and many other varying characteristics.

One of the most important concepts I present to my clients is that while it’s instinctive to want to speak about yourself and your products through marketing communication, clients want to know how you and your products benefit THEM. You need to shift the focus from your business or your own personal story, to your clients. To be remarkable online in 2021 you need to make the effort to connect with your audience.

When operating on a global scale, it is essential to adapt and connect with the audience in a genuine and respectful manner, in other words, you must culturally adapt your message depending on where it is going to be received. Not doing so means that you are just another company pushing the same antiquated message as many other underprepared businesses out there. The key to export marketing is this: differentiate yourself by connecting with your client.

Building a relationship before selling

It’s common knowledge that building relationships with potential customers, and taking an interest in their community or culture, significantly improves the odds of closing a sale and increases customer retention. This concept is transposable to export marketing. Investing in a multicultural marketing strategy allows you to establish a relationship with your audience. A brand that makes the effort to understand the people it aims to do business with, and adapts itself to their unique profile, has a strong chance of achieving success in its export marketing efforts.

Different cultures, different needs and wants

Your Unique Value Proposition might be different from one culture to another, as the features that one target audience might consider important or attractive might be very different to another target audience. Some of the factors that influence the product consideration process are: cultural background, demographics, income, personality and personal tastes. It is necessary to provide a value proposition that speaks to your audience. Sometimes, it even means a different product, more adapted to the need of a country. As an example, fashion products perception are strongly influenced by culture. What my be considered “traditional” in France, will be consider “ French & chic” in China. Therefore the way the product is presented and audience demographics such as age might also differ.

The art of export marketing: adaptation of the various ways of doing business

Avoiding cultural faux pas is an art that is crucial to understand when it comes to digital presence, as much as for face-to-face interactions. To learn more about it, Forbes published an article: 10 Tips To Avoid Cultural Faux Pas Global Business Relationships.

Culture plays a huge role in behaviours and expectations. It is therefore important to adopt culturally nuanced policies and practices to ensure that service activities are culturally appropriate. Customs in doing business differ from one demographic to the next and a faux pas can quickly erase the months or years spent building a business relationship. Businesses must be aware of the up-to-the-minute cultural “dos” and “don’t dos”, and design their marketing strategies accordingly.

The influence of culture in perceiving a message

Culture plays a role in customer perceptions, behaviours and expectations. If you present the same advertising campaign to two different cultural groups, you will get different responses.

Cross-cultural understanding is very important in developing successful localised marketing campaigns that reflect the cultural values ​​and norms of a target audience. By understanding intercultural differences or similarities, expressions and manifested values ​​and norms, it is possible to determine what aspects and messages of marketing can be communicated in various countries or microcultures. In most cases, consumers’ attitudes, consciousness and behaviour are determined to a great extent by the framework of their own culture, which not only communicates but also shapes and changes communication between people in a society.

Multicultural marketing strategies for different audiences

By understanding the culture of the target market, marketing strategies can be tailored to ensure maximum customer engagement.

Culture is made up of different elements like belief systems, experiences, shared values, attitudes, religion, ideas, customs, knowledge that shape the way a person sees the world gender. How people see the world is extremely important and will influence a client decision-making process. Therefore, it should be considered when designing a marketing strategy. The Hofstede model has been designed to identify cultural differences, if you enter Australia and China in the country comparison generator in, you will observe that Australia has an individualism score of 90, when China has an individualism score of 20. It means that the decision-making process of most of the individuals in China and Australia would not be the same, as Chinese individuals tend to consider their community before themselves when making a choice, while Australian tend to make a decision based on self-reliance.

Content writing over translation: the key to export marketing

To develop effective marketing strategies, culturally appropriate language must be used. This also extends to the language used when interacting with customers. In some cultures, informal language and building rapport with customers is important. In others, the use of formal language shows respect and should be used when providing services. When it comes to marketing strategy, understanding the culture and language usage in the target market is essential.

A plain translation of a successful copy writing in Australia might be a huge fail in Italy or Japan. The reason is, the tone and other nuances of the art of communication must be adapted. The best way to do so is to write the content in its language. Our partner agency Horizon Multilingual Web Design Agency work with content writer that are from each of the country targeted, ensuring authenticity and cultural appropriation.

Thinking about penetrating a new market? Read this tips from Forbes about 10 Key Steps To Expanding Your Business Globally.

Like this article? Share it!

Share on facebook
Share on linkedin