Marketing to the U.S.

[ 0 ] October 24, 2016 |

By Sarah-Claire Jordan

marketing-to-the-us-artTalk of international marketing and localization tends to focus on U.S. companies trying to gain traction in other countries, which in and of itself is a complicated process. But what about those companies from outside the U.S. that want to become household names in our country?

This is an even more complex process, for several reasons. The challenges are greater, the stakes are higher, and, basically, there are more types of people to try to market to. The U.S. comes in at number two in terms of purchasing power, out of all the economies in the world, so it’s no wonder that overseas businesses are vying for our attention.

To start, the U.S. is so true to its laissez-faire, capitalist roots that new businesses are always taking a huge risk when they start up. Imagine, if it is difficult for American businesses, how difficult it could be for a foreign one. The truth is, every outside company that tries to market to the U.S. is taking a huge risk, and there are a million cases of swings and misses from companies that are huge successes in other countries.

Marketing to the U.S. is going to be different from marketing anywhere else, simply due to the fact that the culture, and therefore the media, is different. Social media sites that are huge in China are barely heard of here, for example, and consumers in the U.S. are also used to having certain services included, such as two-day shipping and 28-day return policies.

The myriad stereotypes that Americans have regarding international products and services are very real and need to be considered as well. Before you begin marketing to the U.S., think about what those stereotypes would be about your country and how your particular product or service might be perceived in the U.S. in relation to them.

For instance, Switzerland is known to make great watches, but isn’t known for cell phones, so a Swiss watch company would already have a better chance at success than a Swiss cell phone manufacturer. A common perception in the U.S. is that all products from China are cheap and not of the best quality, even though this is only the case sometimes. However, a Chinese company would have to find some other way to appeal to the U.S. market.

Small but important details, such as units of measure, popular technology, and even printer standards should be taken into account when marketing to the U.S. Many companies from countries where English is very common might have to remind themselves that the English used in the U.S. is not the same as the kind used in their country. Working with a localization specialist and doing a good amount of research should help in terms of avoiding awkward language and other mistakes.

The most important thing about marketing to a U.S. audience as an international company is to treat the U.S. market the same as you would any other foreign market, with complexities and unique cultural norms that can be used to your advantage.

For an overview of Alpha Omega Translations’ expertise, visit our website translation and localization page.

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Category: Business Translation

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