More than half (55%) of UK marketers are actively managing international marketing campaigns across Europe with an additional 14% also managing campaigns further afield – bringing a total of 89% – according to research from Rakuten Marketing.

While nearly a quarter of 400 UK marketers surveyed are in the privileged position of having a centralised global marketing team, just 11% said they have local marketing teams in overseas markets able to carry the responsibility for rolling out international campaigns.

The majority of respondents (61%) are reliant on their current UK teams to take charge of global campaigns.

“In the UK alone, more than 35% of transactions driven for Rakuten Marketing clients are now taking place overseas, highlighting the significant international growth opportunity for UK brands,” said Anthony Capano, managing director, Europe at Rakuten Marketing.

Premium buyers by region

UK marketers are focusing more on high growth regions according to the study, particularly APAC, with 82% targeting the region confirming they see their customer base as ‘premium buyers’.

In addition to reaching those customers, marketers are using social media channels such as WeChat (36%), Weibo (30%) and Renren (18%).

Following APAC, marketers are also expanding their global customer base by targeting the Middle East (7%) and South America (4%).

The Middle East is considered by marketers to be comprised of premium buyers with an appetite for luxury goods.

The biggest e-commerce potential, however, in the region comes from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE with fashion, travel and transportation being the most popular online shopping categories. Of course, it is important to be conscious of the diverse cultures in this region and distinct sales peaks.

Technology advancements

From a technology perspective, voice has overtaken virtual reality as the focus for UK marketers with 44% stating Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home or Apple HomePod as key technologies to reach their target market overseas. In particular, marketers targeting Europe (45%) and APAC (42%) are keen to adopt voice into their campaigns.

Whilst display advertising remains the chief means of engaging audiences overseas (48%), marketers are fast realising the potential of social commerce (46%) given its success in eastern markets where social platforms such as WeChat double up as marketplaces.

Marketers targeting APAC are missing out on the popularity of QR codes in the market. At present, just 39% of UK marketers targeting this market are prioritising the technology – despite 43% of customers in China using QR codes for payment through AliPay and WeChat Pay.

Display is closely followed by affiliate marketing which is considered a key marketing tactic by 44% of respondents.

In particular, the affiliate channel is considered the most important tactic in Asia-Pacific by 52% of respondents and in the Middle East (48%) and Europe (45%).

“It’s important to keep an open mind and understand that consumer behaviour and the perception of your brand varies market to market. Therefore, experimenting with local channels and technologies to gain insight into what appeals to your international consumer will help uncover what resonates,” said Capano; “Similarly, by identifying and partnering with key players in market, you will quickly receive feedback into performance and how your brand is being perceived.”