international marketing budget survey

Monday 25 August, 2008

I read this article by Kate Maddox @ BtoB Magazine  Survey finds international budgets up which is illuminating on international marketing.  The author cites a statistic that almost 70% of international marketers do not have multilingual websites.  I took a look @ the websites of the Fortune 100 a few years ago & found about the same percentage.  I assume that it’s changed since then, but perhaps not.

Translation is noted as the biggest obstacle, which isn’t a surprise, given Americans aversion to languages.  The resources are available, so it looks to me like it’s simply an unwillingness to pay for it that’s the problem.  Farming translation out to local dealers is suggested, but that’s dangerous too.  Consistency with brands can be lost, & unless you speak the target language, quality control is gone.

I can understand doing less internationally in direct mail & television, but I’m surprised only about 10% are doing more internationally in digital marketing.  This is 1 way to leverage existing assets cost effectively, especially in some very wired countries of the world.  Apparently American companies haven’t seen that light yet.

Examples are named with companies that get at least 1/3 of their revenues from outside of the United States, yet they must not be allocating marketing budgets commensurately with that. Interestingly, they quote a guy who mentions financial & people resources as constraints, but then only comments further on the growth funding issue.  The people issue can be even more difficult to solve.

They interviewed 274 people in this survey, so it seems to be pretty comprehensive.  It looks to me like there are still many American companies intently focused on the US market & just taking what the rest of the world gives them.  There is little proactive push to determine who the best customers & partners are on a market-by-market basis.  Simply passively growing your business by waiting for the world to come to you is far from optimizing your opportunities.


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