International advertising helps an exporter (1) to sell his products to their users in foreign markets, (2) to obtain channels of distribution, (3) to establish goodwill, image and reputation in foreign markets, (4) to undertake pre-launch publicity and (5) to attract a licensee or partner for joint ventures.
Advertisement can help support an exporter’s distribution effort in foreign markets. It can help back up his established distributors or dealers. It can help him, if need be, to change his distributors or dealers.
The promotion strategy will have to concentrate on establishing the unique selling points of the products offered or sale and convincing the foreign buyers that they offer good value for their money.
The domestic promotion policy also may focus on these factors, but the basic difference between the two is that international promotion is essentially a cross cultural communication and, therefore international promotion will have to take into account the social customs, attitudes, beliefs and such other factors. Of the various means of promotion, such as advertising direct mailing, point of purchase displays, trade fairs and exhibition advertising is most susceptible to such sociology differences.
Apart from cultural and social differences, there are some other points of difference between domestic and international advertising: (1) Media availability may differ from country to country. In many countries Radio and TV is State-controlled and advertising may not be allowed, or they may be allowed only to a limited extent. Sweden, for example has no advertising on Radio and only a fraction of TV time is allowed in other European countries. The use newspaper is very often limited because of the level of literacy prevailing in the market concerned. Again, newspaper per 2 persons in Japan and 1 per 4 persons in the USA to range of 1 to between 10 and 20 in Latin America and extreme cases such as 1 to 200 persons in such countries as Bangladesh, Nigeria and Sudan. Again cost of advertising would be definitely higher than that in India. Effectiveness of media may also vary from country to country, especially so far as rural areas are concerned. (2) Laws and regulations of the country concerned will have to be respected and complied with specially in regard to (i) rules relating to the use of female models, (ii) comparison with competing products may not be allowed and (iii) alcohol and cigarette advertisements may be banned. (3) Language may also create a problem. This is specially so in Middle Eastern countries were Arabic and Persian is in use. An advertisement about a detergent created a disastrous situation. What was sought to be conveyed was taken in an absolutely different light. A bucket containing clean clothes when mixed with the detergent came out dirty. Again a motorcycle promoted with the brand name NOVA completely failed as NOVA in Spanish means ‘does not move’
But despite these differences the advertising task is essentially the same at home or abroad namely to communicate information mad persuasive appeals effectively. It is only specific advertising messages and media strategy that sometimes must be changed from country to country.
Advertising in foreign markets is a pretty expensive affair. Hence advertising on a large scale and in meaningful way can be resorted to only by large multinationals operating through their subsidiaries in several markets. For small enterprises, advertising in overseas markets in a big way is out of question for reasons of cost. They can, however, advertise in trade directories or in some specialized journals. It would be desirable for them to approach professional consultants regarding choice of media message etc. That alone would ensure getting their money’s worth. .