What is International Marketing? Characteristics, Types & Strategies

What is International Marketing? Characteristics, Types & Strategies

International marketing is the process of attracting international customers from around the world, to purchase your products or services. This article will give a broad overview of international marketing and its major types.

International marketing is the process of attracting international customers from around the world, to purchase your products or services. This article will give a broad overview of international marketing and its major types.

What is International Marketing? Characteristics, Types & Strategies

What is International Marketing?

International marketing is the process of marketing goods or services across national borders. This process can be as simple as selling goods to customers in the next country over or as complex as selling goods to customers in multiple countries around the world.

For companies that engage in global marketing, it's necessary to also consider the cultural, political, and economic differences between countries. And not just the country you're in but also the countries your target customers are in. You'll have to adapt your marketing strategy accordingly and be aware of which channels work best for those markets.

International marketing is the process of fitting a company's products, services and marketing strategies to the needs and desires of customers in foreign markets. Put very basically, global marketing involves marketing your products to people all over the world.

The marketing process can include market research, product development, advertising, promotion, pricing and distribution. For companies wanting to expand internationally, international marketing is an essential step.

Characteristics of International Marketing

International marketing is a unique type of marketing that includes certain characteristics unique to it. These characteristics include:

- Doing brands internationally: Different cultures, customs, and laws in different countries - be aware of these to do an international brand.

International markets: Marketing a good or service in multiple countries can be challenging. It can be done through a variety of channels, including traditional marketing (think: TV ads) as well as online and brick-and-mortar stores.

- International competitors:  With international competition, companies need to be aware of their competitors who live and work outside the country. If they want to retain a competitive advantage, it is important that they understand what strategies their foreign counterparts are using.

- International environment: The international environment is always changing. The economy and politics can have a large influence on the success of your company's international marketing efforts.

The goal of global marketing is to develop strategies that will help your company enter new markets and compete with competitors. These strategies are necessary for marketing products in today's global economy.

Why is International Marketing Important?

There are a lot of reasons why international marketing is important for companies. It allows them to expand their operations into new markets, which helps them to grow their business and increase profits. International marketing also builds brand awareness by allowing companies to reach more people from different regions.

Brand awareness helps to bring in fresh audiences while retaining existing ones. A positive image also helps a company to improve its overall reputation. And, finally, international marketing can help cut costs when compared to domestic marketing.

As a global business, it's important to be aware of the market and to understand what your customers are looking for. Manufacturing in bulk means companies can get a discount on their goods-per-unit cost. Additionally, offering an international marketing strategy can reduce your risks.

Diversifying risks is important because it helps to protect your company from losses in one particular country. For example, if you have sales in Country A and those sales decrease, you can offset this loss by increasing your sales in Country B.

International marketing is important for any company that wants to expand its business into new markets. After all, today's global economy requires companies to be competitive on the world stage.

Types of International Marketing

1. Export

Exporting is the process of selling products or services in another country. This can be done through a variety of channels, including online channels, brick-and-mortar stores, and distributors.

2. Licensing

Many companies will choose to license their brand name, trademark, or patents to another company that wants the rights to use them in a new country. This option is popular for companies who want access to new markets without having to bear the whole cost of setting up operations in those countries.

3. Franchising

Sometimes a business owner wants to expand the business but doesn't want to go through all the legal red tape. Franchising is an option (albeit a fairly complicated one). Franchises are licensed by a brand's name and business model, but it's still up in the air if franchising will be successful for your company.

4. Joint Venture

A joint venture is a business arrangement in which two or more companies work together to achieve a common goal. Joint ventures can be used to enter new markets or for the development of a new product or service.

5. Foreign Direct Investment

Foreign Direct Investment is when a company invests in the operations of another company in another country. It can take the form of a minority equity stake or a majority equity stake. FDI is often used to expand a company’s operations into new markets.

International marketing is vital to companies that want a chance at succeeding in today’s global economy. There are several different types of international marketing, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Before making the decision to venture into new markets, companies should carefully consider which type of international marketing is best for them.

Must-dos before a Global Marketing Push

a. Consider areas that have low barriers to entry

It's important to consider all factors before expanding your business into new markets. Low-barrier-to enter territories will give you opportunities to establish a footing in new markets while avoiding too much risk. This typically includes considering the local regulatory environment, the cost of setting up operations, and the availability of resources.

b. Consider the expense and resources required for expansion

Expanding your business into new markets can be costly and resource-intensive. It is important to consider the cost of a market entry strategy in one or more new markets and the availability of resources before you make your decision to expand.

c. Let your market research count

Market research is an essential part of any company's agenda to succeed in new markets. It is important to use research to assess the needs and interests of potential customers, as well as gauge the competitive landscape and demand. Without market research, you are at risk of making decisions that could lead to failure.

International Marketing vs Domestic Marketing

International marketing is different from domestic marketing because it's the process of trying to market your products or services in another country, while domestic marketing is the process of trying to market your products or services within your own country.

When marketing internationally, companies must take into account cultural and language differences, as well as local regulations. International marketing is also more complex than domestic marketing, due to the need to coordinate the various activities of multiple countries.

International marketing is much more complicated than domestic marketing, as there are cultural differences and local regulations to consider. Domestic marketing can still be difficult to understand, depending on the size or scope of the market.

How to make International Marketing Strategies?

1. International Marketing Plan

A company that wants to expand into new markets will need to develop an international marketing plan. This includes a market analysis, target markets, and marketing strategies.

2. International Marketing Campaign

With a business that wants to expand their market reach, a marketing campaign in another country is the best way to go. Campaigns should include elements such as targeting strategy, media mix, and creative components.

3. International Trade Show

Companies who attend international trade shows are able to promote their products or services to a new market. These events present an excellent opportunity to meet potential customers and even partners face-to-face.

4. International Website

An international website can be a great way to reach new markets. A company's site should be designed to appeal to a global audience and available in multiple languages.

5. International Public Relations

Public relations can be used to generate awareness of a company's products or services in a variety of markets. International public relations campaigns should be carefully planned to meet local cultural needs as well as ensure that they are in compliance with local regulations.

6. International Advertising

International advertising is necessary for brands to reach new markets. Advertising campaigns should be carefully planned before launching in order to ensure that they are culturally sensitive and compliant with the local regulations.

7. International Social Media

Social media can be used to reach new audiences in other countries. A company shouldn't just design its social media accounts with local customers and trends in mind, it should create them so they appeal to the entire world.

8. International Sales

When international sales are an option, it's important to stay updated on cultural differences and local regulations in each country. Doing so will help you connect with the culture of your customers and succeed in a new market.

9. International Distributors

As a company, it can be difficult to successfully break into an international market. The good news is that there are international distributors who can help you reach new markets and navigate cultural differences and local regulations.

10. International Licensing

International licensing agreements allow companies to sell their products or services in another country with everything remaining under their control. This can be helpful for expanding into a new market and working with individuals who don't share the same language.

International Marketing Examples

1.  Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is a well-known and popular brand worldwide. It's a great example of a company with an exceptional international marketing campaign, one that has helped support its incredible global brand.

UNILEVER used local manufacturing to better match customer preferences. In addition, advertising, distribution, promotion, and pricing were also adapted to meet the needs of specific markets that arose.

In the quest for global success, Coca-Cola has found a universal understanding of what that looks like. Though the definition may differ depending on the culture, there are a few defining qualities that are important to Coca-Cola no matter where it sells its products. Happiness is one of those values that no matter where Coke goes, it's an essential part of their model.

In order to appeal to customers in different countries, the giant global cola company also creates localized campaigns that take advantage of references popular in a specific culture. They provide deals involving local celebrities as well.

2. Nike

Nike understands that it's important to change the marketing mix when entering a new market. For example, in China, Nike utilizes many different channels of marketing - including traditional and social media - in order to reach consumers. The company has also partnered with Alibaba's Tmall e-commerce platform to accomplish this.

Nike has a variety of celebrities in their ads, including both international and domestic stars. These days, Nike also often utilizes more than one celebrity in their campaigns. Nike uses some generic messaging, but they also create localized advertising that speaks to specific cultural issues.

Nike has been able to build their business worldwide through partnerships with sports teams in various countries. For example, the company had a long-standing agreement with the English soccer club, Manchester United.

3. McDonald’s

The McDonald's restaurant chain is one of the most successful in the world, with locations in almost every country. The company was able to achieve this level of success by carefully tailoring its marketing mix to local culture.

One example of this is the way McDonald's serves meat in India, which is different from the way they serve it in other countries. They serve vegetarian options in India because the preaching of Hinduism forbids eating beef. And they've also changed the advertising campaigns to reflect local cultural norms.

In China, McDonald's uses a mixture of traditional and new media to reach consumers, as well as partnering with e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba's Tmall.


IKEA is a Swedish company that produces home furnishings and has become one of the most successful retailers in the world. Their success can be largely attributed to their careful consideration for the local culture when creating and promoting their products.

IKEA makes products that are easy to assemble, which appeals to customers in countries with expensive labor. The company also uses traditional and digital media to reach consumers.

IKEA has learned that they can't run the same advertising campaigns in every country. So, they created different ads tailored to local customers. In China, they ran a campaign touting how their products can be used to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

5. KFC

KFC is a fast food chain that specializes in chicken. By carefully selecting its product mix and marketing strategy to the local culture, the firm has been able to succeed in foreign markets.

Recently, KFC launched a new menu in China and replaced French fries with rice. The company has also changed its advertising strategies in other countries to reflect local cultural norms.

Fast-growth chains like KFC often have trouble finding competent staff. They implemented a mentorship program, which created a competent workforce that was well-trained and remained with the company for longer.

Digital International Marketing Strategies

There are many digital marketing strategies companies use when they want to enter a new market.

International SEO is a process of creating content with targeted keywords for different countries and languages, in order to optimize for Google search results. You also have the opportunity to make your multilingual site accessible to each of these countries.

Social media marketing is an international digital marketing strategy. You can create social media accounts on platforms like Facebook and Instagram and target users in specific, targeted countries.

Online advertising is another great option for businesses. You can place ads on top sites and search engines in different countries.

What about entering foreign markets on social media?

Social media is one of the best ways to reach customers in foreign markets. By creating social media accounts on platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, you can specifically target users in different countries, who will be more likely to share your company's message with a wider audience.

One of the best things about social media marketing is that companies get instant feedback and can use it to improve their product or service.

Marketing Mix Decisions in an International Context


The availability of products and services will vary depending on the country. Even big brands like McDonalds have demonstrated the need to take cultural differences into account. For example, in India, McDonalds changed its menu to reflect the prohibition on beef that is set by Hinduism. The company has also tailored advertisements to local cultural norms.


When considering pricing decisions, companies need to take into account the economic conditions of the local market. For example, the average income level and inflation rate will affect how high you set prices in a foreign country.


When promoting your company in a new country, it's important to be mindful of cultural differences. For example, what may be seen as acceptable modesty levels in one culture may be seen as offensive in another.


When you're trying to get into a new market, make sure you understand the local infrastructure and distribution channels. For example, some countries don't have our societal level of developed highway systems, so you might end up with increased shipping costs if a majority of your products are coming from outside that country.

Evaluating the success of International Marketing Campaigns

There are a few key data points that companies can look at when evaluating the success of their international marketing campaigns. One metric is web traffic. Tracking this is as simple as going to their site and looking at how many visitors they've had from different countries. Another metric is social media engagement. This can be tracked by looking at how many likes, comments or shares any given post makes on different social media platforms. The last metric these companies need to measure is sales data. They will see how well products or services are selling in other countries with this information.

Future of International Marketing

As the future of global business continues to increase, international marketing is growing bigger and better. More companies are doing business internationally and have the opportunity to expand their reach and revenue.

Digital marketing will continue to grow in importance as more and more consumers shop online. Social media marketing will also start to get more important as platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter become more popular around the world.

Advertising will continue to be a major component of international marketing campaigns. However, companies need to be more creative in their approach as consumers become more sophisticated and less likely to respond to traditional advertising methods.

It's clear to see that the future of international marketing is very promising. Companies that can adapt to an evolving landscape and use strategies for a quickly-changing global marketplace will be well-positioned to succeed in the world.


As you can see, international marketing is a complex and multifaceted field. There are many different ways to approach it, and no one right way to do things. The most important thing is to carefully consider your options and make sure you are doing what is best for your company. With the right strategy, international marketing can be a great way to expand your business and reach new markets.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

International marketing is the process of promoting and selling products or services to customers in different countries.
The characteristics of international marketing include cultural diversity, language barriers, legal and political differences, and varying economic conditions.
The types of international marketing include export marketing, licensing, franchising, joint ventures, and direct investment.
The strategies of international marketing include product adaptation, pricing strategies, distribution channels, and promotion strategies.
International marketing is important because it helps businesses expand their customer base, increase revenue, and gain a competitive edge in the global market.