Savvy business leaders understand the importance of making decisions based on data. However, with so much information available, how do you know which data will guide you to make the best decisions for your transnational strategy? Here are five of the most important data sources to help with your planning efforts.
When formulating a transnational strategy, it’s a good idea to start by looking at markets where you have a good chance of success. The easiest route is to choose countries that speak the same language. For example, if your company is headquartered in the US, you should consider branching out in countries that also speak English, e.g., the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia.
After you’ve successfully gained a satisfactory market share in other English-speaking countries, it’s time to consider expanding into the next tier of “easiest” countries, i.e., the ones with high levels of English language proficiency. Click here to access the EF English Proficiency Index, which ranks countries according to their levels of proficiency in English.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
To understand how much of a market opportunity there is for your brand, you’ll want to consider the size of the economy. However, you should not only think about countries in order of their GDP size because not all opportunities within given markets will be equally accessible for your company. Some markets will require significantly more investment than others. There are many GDP rankings that you can access. Two such are from World Population Review and Statistics Times.
Different countries come with varying levels of internet access, meaning a greater or lesser percentage of the population will be online. An excellent resource is Internet World Stats. This site will help you determine not only what the internet penetration rates are, but also raw counts of potential users.
- Example: Afghanistan has around 7.3 million internet users compared to Singapore, with only about 5 million. But do you think Afghanistan represents a better marketing opportunity for a digital company like yours than Singapore? It obviously depends on what you’re selling, but in most cases, the answer will be no. If you look at the rate of internet penetration, you will see that Singapore, with 84.5% penetration, is a far superior market than Afghanistan with just 19.7% penetration.
The higher the percentage of internet penetration within a country, the more likely it is for people to pay for things online.
Credit Card Availability
Another thing to consider is the different payment types used in the United States that are not common in other locales. If you are looking at expanding into a new country, you will likely need to add other forms of payment. If this isn’t something you can easily accommodate, you may need to initially stay within countries where you can accept payment.
Global Economy provides data showing the percentage of people who have a credit card in each country. You might be surprised to discover that some countries – e.g., Canada, Israel, Norway, Luxembourg, Japan – have much higher levels of credit card penetration than the US.
Ease of Doing Business
An excellent resource on this topic is the World Bank. This data set informs how difficult it will be for you to operate in a given market. The site also provides insight as to how hard it will be for your potential customers and partners to do business with you.
Your Transnational Strategy
Major investment decisions need to be informed with reliable external data. Avoid making decisions to expand in a given market based on internal data alone. For example, if a particular country is leading a disproportionate rate of traffic to your site, it probably isn’t because there’s an untapped yearning for what you’re offering. There are a variety of reasons why people might be landing on your website from different parts of the world. It doesn’t necessarily mean that your product would be a good fit in a particular market. It could be because:
- The country has a vast population, and many of them speak the language of your website’s content.
- You have content that they are unable to find online from a local site.
- You publish content that has captured the interest of people in a given country for reasons that have no relation to what you are offering.
- There is a lot of activity by hackers from the country in question that is showing up in your analytics as an increase in traffic.
- Your SEO rankings are higher because of strong inbound linking from websites in a particular country.
- You’ve recently attracted attention from local bloggers or in local media in a given country.
Before deciding to keep your international growth engine firing on all cylinders, take a step back to consider the above-mentioned external data sources. These should be incorporated into your transnational strategy. One single data source won’t give you all the answers, but this core set of data resources can help provide you with a much clearer picture of how to proceed.
Localize Can Help
You might be just dipping your toe into international marketing. Or, you might have had some success in “easier” markets and are ready to move into more difficult ones. In either case, you need the assistance of a top-quality translation management service (TMS) like Localize. Talk to us to see how we can help turn your transnational strategy into a successful reality.