“Everyone is Online: Reaching your Global Customer Through Digital Marketing” was the second webinar in an ongoing series from the Maryland Partners in International Trade (MAPIT), Alliance, a partnership of the Maryland Smith Center for Global Business, Maryland-D.C. District Export Council, the Office of International Investment and Trade at the Maryland Department of Commerce, and the U.S. Export Assistance Center in Baltimore. Building on the first webinar focused on website globalization, the series’ latest featured expert insight on why cross-cultural considerations matter when marketing to a global customer base and how to create a digital marketing strategy to reach global clients, all of which are especially relevant now for companies to think about as COVID-19 has made digital marketing critical to continue reaching customers.
The webinar featured insights from P.K. Kannan, Dean’s Chair of Marketing Science at Maryland Smith, Bob Zhang, president and founder of USABAL Solutions, Jessica Reynolds, senior director at the Maryland Department of Commerce, and Colleen Fisher, director of the Baltimore Export Assistance Center at the U.S. Department of Commerce. Rebecca Bellinger, executive director of the Center for Global Business at Maryland Smith, moderated the discussion.
Although technology is almost the same across the globe, cultural factors affect consumer behavior and the way companies do business. Understanding different dimensions of how countries are culturally different help companies understand how to effectively market to consumers and design feedback outlets. “The effect of brand credibility on production evaluation is more pronounced in the collectivist cultures than in individualistic cultures, like the U.S. The effect of information from social sources on product evaluation is also pronounced in the collectivist cultures, so brand building happens through word of mouth,” said Kannan. “If you are able to harness word of mouth either on platforms, or otherwise, your customer acquisition costs actually come down,” he added.
A digital strategy is a part of an overall marketing strategy. “Once you set objectives for your digital marketing based on what you’ve decided on the overall marketing strategy, you can pick the right messages and channels for your customers,” said Zhang. He also shared case studies and best practices from companies in the region.
Fisher and Reynolds presented resources available to help Maryland businesses reach their clients abroad. Resources included sales kit support, website globalization review, and virtual services. Another resource, from the Maryland Department of Commerce that receives strong interest from companies, is the Export MD Grant program. The program offers eligible Maryland companies up to a $5,000 reimbursement towards their export marketing activities.
Bellinger rounded out the conversation by presenting information about the Global Marketing Virtual Internship program offered by the Center for Global Busines. The program matches trained and talented Maryland Smith undergraduates with companies in Maryland to provide marketing and website globalization support during a summer internship from late May to early August. Companies interested in applying to the program can do so by May 20.
The MAPIT Alliance will present the next webinar in the series, “You Can’t Travel, But Your Products Can: Shipping and Logistics During a Pandemic,” on Tuesday, May 19 at 11 a.m. EDT. Register today to receive the Webex link to access the webinar.
This event was sponsored in part by CIBE, a Title VI grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education.
- By Ha Le, a second-year MBA student at Maryland Smith.