Communication Barriers in International Marketing: Strategies & Examples

Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

After reading this lesson, you'll learn how to overcome some issues that can prevent your international marketing efforts from being successful. Learn what you need to consider when designing your marketing.

International Marketing

Most online businesses have customers not just in their own home country, but also in foreign countries. For example, Sue sells her handmade crochet hats online to customers in her home country, the United States, as well as in other countries such as France and Sweden. If Sue wants to increase her business in these other countries, then she'll need to do some international marketing. International marketing involves marketing to a foreign country/international buyer. Because you are marketing to a different country, you have to consider some communication barriers to your marketing message. These barriers are in addition to the language barrier that is already present. Let's see what they are.

International barriers includes more than language
international marketing barriers

Cultural Differences

The first international marketing barrier you may encounter will be cultural differences, variations in how different groups of people do things. Cultural differences go beyond simply language. For example, in America, you can say the phrase 'it's raining cats and dogs' and people will know what you mean. But if you say that phrase in a different country, your message may make you sound like you are a bit crazy. Also, it's not just in language phrases that cultural differences play a part; they also play a part in body language. For example, in America, giving a thumbs up is generally a good thing, but doing so in a different country may be an unacceptable behavior. Without knowing these cultural differences, your marketing message will not strike a chord with your audience and may even make people dislike your company.

To overcome this barrier, you need to take some time and learn about the culture of the country you plan to market to. Think to yourself that you are marketing to a different country with different ways of doing things. You also must remember that it's not that these ways are inferior to the way you do things, it's just that they are different. If you begin to feel that the other country you are marketing to is inferior, it will come through in your marketing campaigns and will most likely hurt your marketing success.

Things you'll want to focus on when you are learning about the culture of the foreign country include the things that people in that country use, need, and want. Once you've found out this information, use it in your marketing. Give the people what they want and need, and you'll be successful.

Source Effects

Another barrier you may have to contend with is referred to as source effects. Source effects refer to how people are influenced by the presentation style of the salesperson. Presentation style typically includes the attractiveness level of the salesperson, the dialect spoken, the type of humor used, and how interactive the salesperson is. Studies have shown that salespeople who are considered to be more physically attractive will close more sales. How the salesperson talks also affect sales. A salesperson that speaks the standard dialect in a particular country is generally more accepted and listened to. Part of learning the culture is learning what the standard dialect is. People also like humor when used according to the culture. More interactive salespeople will also get more engagement from potential customers.

To prevail against this barrier, you'll want to hire someone who is considered physically attractive in the country you are marketing to do any advertisements or commercials for you in that country. In addition, this person needs to speak the standard dialect in the area as well as be able to add humor when it's culturally accepted to do so. The salesperson should also try to interact with the potential customer.

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