Internationalization doesn’t happen when you first put an office in a different country and set up a team there. Simply by existing on the internet, any company can operate as a global business.
In fact, at this point, many companies are “born global” due to the nature of the internet, inbound content strategies, and the importance of digital advertising.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that your company is a globally operating organization – rather that you can be known in countries where you do not operate before you make a concerted effort to sell into that population.
However, that puts companies who do want to expand globally, especially companies that offer digital products like software, in the predicament known as the one-world model.
That means when you do start to put effort into selling internationally, due to the digital nature of the business your organization and your audience is going to expect a similar experience to what they’ve tangentially experienced in your home country.
It seems easy in theory but every country has its own set of cultural norms, not to mention laws, regulations, taxes, and expectations.
Especially when you think about the channel of corporate gifting and direct mail – a channel we’re very familiar with here at Alyce (that’s kind of our thing).
There’s a certain dichotomy that exists in international gifting. On the one hand, your international advocates and customers will want to receive the same treatment they see you giving to people within your home country.
On the other hand, executing a gifting strategy for colder prospects, even those who are further down in your marketing and sales funnels can come with some constraints and cultural norms we don’t often think about.
So we sat down with our General Counsel to discuss privacy norms outside of the United States.
But they want you to know that this shouldn’t be taken as legal advice – classic lawyers.
What to Take Into Consideration When Executing An International Corporate Gifting Strategy
The Culture of Disclosure and Gift Giving
While practices between Europe and America, for example, can look similar at a high level, there are more steps to executing a culturally appropriate sales and marketing strategy that adhere to each country’s cultural, social, and legal norms.
To start, Europe views privacy as a fundamental human right. And that’s just across the continent of Europe as a whole. Every country within Europe has its own viewpoint of privacy and data, and that informs the difference in how you should assess your gifting strategy.
Therefore depending on which countries you’re selling into, there is additional research and privacy considerations that should be done to ensure that your business is operating within the standard legal and social expectations of that country.
Especially in the past year, with more people working remotely from their homes, asking individuals to disclose their home address, even with the reassurance that you will be using that information to send them something, may not go over very well.
Not to mention there could be cultural differences in what makes a good gift from country to country. It takes an additional layer of thoughtfulness in understanding the gift giving culture in personal and business situations in each country to make sure you’re not only following the law but also following the social norms of that country.
Taxes & Fees
If you’re thinking of sending physical gifts to your prospects and customers across borders, make sure to consider taxes and fees.
From the perspective of sending gifts internationally from your home country, the extra costs of taxes and tariffs on goods crossing borders can limit how far your gifting budget can take you.
Additionally, if you choose to send gifts from local merchants to keep taxes down, you’ll now be making orders in different currencies. Make sure to keep in mind currency exchange rates and potential taxation of the gifts.
As with prohibited items that are not allowed to be transported state to state, the list of prohibited items increases when you start to think about sending physical items and goods outside of your native country.
Often, you will not know that an item is prohibited in a region until it fails to get delivered to your prospect. This is not only a negative experience for the prospect, but also shows you, or your company, haven’t done enough research on the person you’re trying to gain the attention of.
We generally suggest starting with digital gifting to start before you expand to sending physical goods to international prospects. This will allow you to get a feel for how your prospects feel about receiving gifts in general without having to divulge any personal information and gift selection be more flexible with purely digital options.
International Corporate Gifting
Existing on the internet may make companies known around the world, not just in their home country.
But that doesn’t make you an international business yet.
Once you start putting a concerted effort into selling internationally, it’s exciting. Your business is growing and expanding into new markets.
With that expansion comes a knowledge of the laws, regulations, and cultural norms of a country or region, especially when you’re thinking about the marketing channels of direct mail and corporate gifting.
Just like any huge business change, we recommend starting small, getting a feel for your international audiences and phasing out your international corporate gifting approach.
Photo by John McArthur on Unsplash