Creating an effective international marketing campaign is all about speaking to the right people, at the right time, with a message they understand. This is difficult enough when marketing products to domestic customers and clients alone, but when you have an international customer base, the whole process becomes a lot more challenging.
Language and culture are hugely important factors to consider when creating an international marketing campaign. Buyer personas are an extremely helpful tool to not only help you understand your customers better but also to target them in a culturally relevant way.
What are buyer personas?
This definition, courtesy of online marketing powerhouses Hubspot, should give you a clearer idea of exactly what we mean by the term buyer persona:
‘A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.’
Companies looking to market more effectively to overseas customers need to better understand the behaviour of buyers in each of the markets they operate in. They should also explore how this behaviour effects the decisions their buyers make.
When developing buyer personas for international markets, it’s essential you take into account the subtle differences in attitude, values and conduct to target your marketing campaigns effectively. Failing to account for the multi-cultural aspect of your buyers could vastly reduce your return on investment, and even lead to customer alienation.
What does a buyer persona look like?
Examples of buyer personas are hard to come by, as understandably, companies that have gone to the time and expense of creating personas want to keep their findings pretty close to their chests. However, we have managed to find the following fictional examples of three B2B buyer personas, again courtesy of Hubspot, along with these B2C buyer personas.
Mapping the customer’s journey
An essential part of developing buyer personas is to accurately map a typical customer’s journey all the way from the initial awareness stage, through to the decision to buy. International brands should map this journey for each market, as the inherent cultural differences at play can have a significant impact on buyer behaviour, particularly when selling business-to-business.
When mapping the buyer’s journey, you should canvass as many sources as you can for input. Engaging with customers directly or simply asking “how did my find my website?”, or “why did you decide to buy from me?” can be extremely insightful and help you build a clearer picture of the typical journey.
You should also ask suppliers, logistics companies and other stakeholders for their input. The more information you gather, the more valuable the buyer personas you create will be.
What do you need to know?
Sales strategies are often based on simple demographic data, but information such as age, gender and profession rarely provides much insight into the customer journey. Developing buyer personas is all about finding what prompts the buying decision, what barriers to the purchase exist, and why a customer would choose to buy from you.
Asking the following questions can help you dig much, much deeper…
- How do customers gather information to make their buying decision?
- What sources do they use?
- What was the trigger that prompted them to search for a service like yours?
- What language do they search for information in?
- Would they buy from a foreign language website?
- What benefits do they anticipate from the purchase?
- What criteria do they use to evaluate potential suppliers?
- What barriers could prevent them from making a purchase?
The answers to the above questions will not only help you support the customer at every stage of the buying journey, but also communicate to them in a culturally appropriate way, and in a language they understand. The result is a marketing message that is aligned to their values and also addresses any potential barriers or concerns they might have.
How can we help?
At Linguistica International, our transcreation and localisation services help you produce marketing materials that transcend cultural and linguistic barriers and compel your overseas customers to act. We create copy that strikes the right chord in any language, and gives your international marketing campaign the very best chance of success.