Which countries are the best sources for marketers?

by Jobbatical May 26, 2016

You know marketing; you’ve been building comprehensive campaigns to successfully grow your business for years. You can target a message to different demographics without breaking a sweat. “Persuade” is your middle name.

Now it’s time to expand your team. Start here:

Content + social media savvy are musts

Almost a quarter of the world is on social media

As you’re targeting experts to hire, keep in mind two common traits you’ll want your marketing professionals to share:

  • Writing skills. Content marketing is hot and useful, with Google and Facebook as global distribution channels. No matter where the marketers you ultimately hire are from, they need to be able to craft well written, informative posts for your target audience(s).
  • Social media savvy. As social media devours the world with exploding numbers of active users, it’s imperative that an international marketer be able to engage users on social media in order to capture them. Of the three billion global Internet users (nearly 45% of the world’s population), more than half (1.7 billion) have active social media accounts.

Think globally and locally

Culture and context make it or break it

Not so fast. International marketing is a rainbow. To market globally, you need to know the “hue” of each market you plan to enter. The adage, “think globally, act locally” might be amended to, think globally and locally. If you don’t do your homework to fully understand the local market, you’ll fail — regardless of how skilled you may be at marketing to small business owners.

Why? Let’s start with language. While the English-speaking market is No. 1 worldwide, with approximately 872.9 million English-speaking Internet users, it’s just a drop in the international bucket. Language is part of culture, so marketers will work best in the country with which they’re most familiar.

Being a native English speaker might be “good enough” for international marketing efforts in English-speaking countries: the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Your efforts may also bear fruit in Southeast Asia and Scandinavia, where English is a popular language.

Lost in translation

China has its own google

But in other parts of the world, English-speaking business owners or marketing managers who want to penetrate global markets will find the language barrier far more serious.

While a nifty new earpiece set to debut this fall will translate conversations in real time, international marketing requires more than just knowing the local language. Understanding local culture and customs can mean the difference between forging a strong connection and alienating a potential client.

English alone won’t suffice in Western Europe and South America, where Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese are the primary tongues.

And if your target market is Asian or Russian, your best bet is to bring an international marketing expert on board who knows the culture and language — or forgo expansion into these regions. China, Japan, Korea and Russia are huge markets, and each has essentially hung out a shingle that reads, “English not spoken here.”

Want proof of the “border patrol”? China has its own social network (WeChat) and its own version of Google (Baidu). Uber goes by its Chinese name (优步) in China, with 400+ local employees. Evernote also has a Chinese name (印象笔记) and a set of independent infrastructure in China. How could you expect to deal with such a market without local team members?

Bottom line: it will be easier to enter a market very different from your own if you jettison preconceptions, and learn to speak and think like them.

Originally published at The Global Future of Work — Jobbatical.

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