How to Successfully Market in the US
Expanding business internationally is a marker of success for many companies, and the United States is a premier global market. Successfully going to market in the US as an international business requires developing two basic foundations – audience segmentation and tactical methods.
How can companies successfully enter the US market?
The first step is understanding that the US is indeed a multi-faceted cultural landscape. Marketing to the entire consumer base is possible but typically not advisable. Understanding the varied audience segments and the messaging that aligns with each is critical to setting the stage for a successful market entry.
With an understanding of the target audience, establishing tactical methods means understanding how marketing techniques in the US differ from those used elsewhere. From targeted advertising tactics and marketing opt-in standards, businesses generally have more flexibility to market directly to consumers and stretch marketing budgets further.
Preparing to Enter the US Market
Nothing is as important as market research when preparing marketing efforts in the US. It takes time but can mean the difference between success and failure. Ideally, market research findings reveal how to communicate with audience segments by answering baseline questions, such as:
- What is the size of the target market?
- Who are the ideal target customers?
- What is the gender, age, ethnicity, income level, educational attainment, and marital status of target customers?
- In which geographic areas do target customers live?
- What are the target customers’ media habits, preferences, and interests?
- How do target customers purchase competitive products or services?
- What problems do the ideal target customers have that the products or services solve?
- How can marketing partners help to expand the company’s reach?
Baseline research findings also help guide further market entry preparation by pointing to the cultural and regional considerations that will be important in creating effective marketing messaging. Regional and demographic populations are neither homogeneous nor completely heterogeneous in the US, but developing messaging based on demographic findings and brand value propositions helps draw consumers to a company and convert them into customers.
Making marketing decisions based on regional differences does not mean making marketing decisions based on stereotypes. Still, it does mean developing a nuanced understanding of how two consumers of the same age, ethnicity, gender, and income level living in distinct US regions will likely respond differently to the same marketing content.
Generally, regional differences manifest between the east coast, the west, the south, and the midwest. However, even within these regions, market research will often reveal commonalities between similarly densely populated areas, like large cities or rural areas. Understanding the voice, tone, and messaging points that resonate with these audience segments is critically essential and typically a significant difference to marketing outside of the US.
How to Market to Americans
Once audiences are defined and segmented, the focus can be turned to developing tactical methods proven to work with US audiences. Building awareness quickly and efficiently is key for a company that is wholly or relatively unknown in the US. Here are a few tried and true awareness-building tactics that new market entrants can rely on:
Social Media: As it is globally, so it is in the US– social media marketing is a primary awareness channel. To build quick brand awareness, use an integrated and targeted combination of posts and paid advertising.
Google Advertising: Again, nothing new here, but an effectively managed advertising campaign that takes advantage of the best of the Google network can quickly raise consumer awareness.
Streaming Media: From music and podcasts to movies and live sporting events, streaming media has taken the US by storm. It also has audience targeting advantages compared to traditional television and radio advertising.
With market awareness building or established, there are distinct tactics that are useful in lead generation and conversion, including:
Targeted Advertising: Drawing a “fence” around an area where an audience segment spends time and advertising specifically to devices that come and go from that area is a highly effective use of advertising funds to generate leads.
Email Marketing: Email marketing is an opt-in activity in the US but can also effectively convert leads. To collect interested party email addresses, companies often advertise an offer that can be accessed or claimed in exchange for an opt-in.
Joint Ventures: Partnering with another company that offers a complementary product can help increase the number of people a single marketing campaign reaches. Each company actively or passively promotes its product and the partner’s product.
Networking: Making valuable connections within a professional setting can be invaluable for marketing and building rapport with potential influencers. These networking connections can also turn into additional marketing opportunities.
Creating and implementing the right integrated marketing mix for a US audience requires a solid research foundation and practiced execution (or, alternatively, a lot of luck). Partnering with an experienced agency is often the best way to ensure successful initial entry and ongoing maintenance. A reputable agency’s fee should be easily offset by the savings realized from competent advertising spend management.
Considering making the leap to selling in the US? Contact Madison Taylor Marketing for more expert advice.