International Marketing: What Technology Marketers Can Learn from the NFL

Chris Rudnick

Marketing Manager

While the NFL is under the microscope for numerous items that they wish they could hide from, there is one recent action they took that should be served as a lesson for marketers. This past weekend, the NFL hosted the first of three NFL games at Wembley Stadium in London featuring the Miami Dolphins and the Oakland Raiders in the league’s continuous effort to grow its brand in markets outside of the US.

For many, this seems inconvenient as it requires more traveling for the players participating while removing a true home game for one of the teams. Even with these drawbacks, the NFL has not only continued to host games in London, they are hosting 3 games this season in Wembley, up from 2 in 2013. Many speculate that the long-term plan is to add a permanent franchise in London and then expand to markets such as Germany, Brazil, China, and Japan as well as Mexico and Canada.

So what does this have to do with technology marketing?

This got me thinking – if the NFL can migrate its product and brand within a foreign region and see an exceptional return, can’t technology marketers do the same? I can guarantee it will be easier then convincing a group of linebackers from Oakland to forfeit a home game and travel all the way to London for one Sunday.

All kidding aside, the real lesson learned here is that international expansion of your marketing efforts can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be if you stay within your means. You cannot expect to grow international business exponentially overnight, but you can build a solid foundation by starting with smaller efforts in your best performing markets and applying those successes to other regions of the world.

Here’s 3 ways you can position your content and messaging for immediate international success

Start with English-language content

Your English content can easily resonate in international markets. According TechTarget’s most recent Media Consumption report, non-English speaking buyers download more English content compared to the amount of content in their native language (notable exceptions: Japan and China). Just as the futbol fans in London welcomed American football, European technology buyers will accept your English content and leverage it to help them conduct their research.

Focus initial efforts on text-based assets

Simply take your successful English and syndicate into international channels. I would recommend using text-based assets for non-English speaking prospects as they will be able to consume at their own pace. If you have streaming assets such as a webcasts or videos, then transcribe them into blogs or white papers and release them.

Don’t break the bank – Translate only your best performing assets

English is a good starting point to make headway at a regional level, but for deeper penetration within specific markets, you must translate and localize content. When approaching this effort, you must remember that the problems that international technology buyers face are no different than the ones that domestic buyers face. If you have seen success with certain assets in North America, chances are, these will also do well in foreign markets. Take your best performing text-based assets such as white papers, product sheets, and vendor comparisons and translate them in your top foreign markets.

More resources to help you expand your efforts internationally

If a product like American football can enter an international market and generate adoption, there is no reason why your content can’t do the same. To get started, here are some additional resources to help you understand international markets.

If you are interested in continuing the conversation or have more advice for technology marketers, please make sure to leave a comment or connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

B2B marketing, branding, content development, content marketing, global technology marketing, international marketing, media consumption, technology marketing, TechTarget, translation

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