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International Financial Services: Marketing to an audience outside your borders

Marketing International Financial Services: Leveraging Research & Tools for Results

Every community and region around the world requires access to financial services in some form. When your company is expanding its international financial services into new markets, the success of your marketing strategy often determines your ability to build relationships with your target customer base.

Breaking into new international markets requires careful consideration and understanding of local needs and challenges. Each foreign market is unique, with consumers who hold diverse opinions on financial data privacy and money management strategy, and likely have different levels of education around key financial topics.

The right mix of research, outreach, and communication tools can help you smoothly launch marketing initiatives that build a sustainable, local customer base.

Understanding Each Market’s Unique Financial Services Needs

Even within domestic markets, customer needs, preferences and behaviors can vary widely based on their existing relationships with financial services, and their understanding of various financial management strategies and emerging financial services.

For example, tech-driven services analyzing spending and delivering recommendations can see dramatic differences in adoption among different customer segments. While more innovative, tech-savvy customers may show an overwhelming preference for this type of data-driven service, more traditional consumers are less likely to see the value—and they may not feel comfortable sharing transaction-level data with your organization.

These preferences and needs can become even more divisive in international markets—especially if you’re introducing services that are new or largely unfamiliar to your market. To help your organization successfully deploy international financial services and to optimize use of internal marketing resources, your business needs to take time to understand the types of customer personas you’re targeting in foreign markets.

Potential tools to inform your marketing strategy include:

  • Soliciting customer feedback and conducting market research. Through surveys, market research and other strategies, gather information about your target customer base in foreign markets, especially as it relates to cultural trends and influences that may affect financial behaviors, preferences, or needs. Some markets, for example, may require additional education and resources to improve customer understanding of wealth management services and various wealth management strategies. In other cases, an international market may have a particular need for a specific financial product—micro-loans for businesses, for example—that aren’t in as high demand in other markets. Use this information to build marketing strategies responding directly to these local needs.
  • Using social media to engage a local audience. Pay attention to how customers in a foreign market are engaging with various financial services and tools your organization offers. If engagement for a spending analysis tool is lower than what you receive for other services, your local audience may not be comfortable with sharing personal financial data—or they may not fully understand the benefits. This can help you pivot your marketing toward addressing customers’ privacy concerns, or taking a high-level approach explaining these solutions in simple terms.
  • Embracing customer outreach programs. Customer outreach is a tried-and-true marketing strategy for financial services companies. Your organization can offer free education and product awareness programs to your foreign markets, with a goal of fostering new relationships and learning more about the needs and interests of this community. This allows you to gather feedback and insights into your target audience even as you build relationships and strengthen local trust in your brand.
Repurpose Existing Content Through Culturally-Attuned Transcreation

Once you understand the needs, pain points, and financial literacy of your target market, marketing campaigns need to embrace digital storytelling as a tool for building your international financial services into the narrative of your customers’ daily lives. To a large extent, the marketing materials used to reach your local audience can be translated and localized from existing marketing materials already used in other markets.

When it comes to digital storytelling, translation and localization alone can’t ensure marketing narratives are relevant and engaging. To achieve this, we recommend developing marketing content through a process known as transcreation. While digital storytelling is crucial to crafting resonant narratives, transcreation ensures your messaging hits the mark through culturally-attuned marketing lingo. 

Unlike translation and localization, transcreation is a creative process that helps your business reimagine  slogans and catchphrases in a way that resonates with other markets. Transcreation helps ensure that slogans like “Finger-Lickin’ Good” don’t get translated into Chinese as “Eat Your Fingers Off,” which happened when KFC first launched in China.

Lean on Digital Channels to Support Customer Interaction

Research shows that building personal relationships is one of the most important criteria customers use when choosing a financial services company. Successful strategies for marketing financial services will lean on storytelling and customer interaction to earn trust and build these relationships with each point of engagement.

Although some customers in international markets might not currently prioritize digital channels as a decision-making tool, there’s no question that these digital channels—including social media, business websites, online reviews, search visibility, and other forms of digital marketing—have a significant influence on customer behavior. This is one key reason for international financial services companies to invest into digital channels as a means of customer interaction.

Another reason? The cost of deployment for these channels can be much lower, especially when facilitating relationships across a geographic divide. Most financial services companies will find it easier to produce and launch digital marketing content and campaigns as compared to traditional campaigns. Even if traditional channels are still used—and they may well be required in certain international markets—the use of digital channels will improve your ability to interact with customers, and potentially drive better marketing ROI for your business.

If you’re expanding your financial services to new markets, make sure you put your best foot forward with your customers. Contact Protranslating today to see how our translation and transcreation services can set up your digital marketing strategy for success.

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