Questions from the Client: Can I Take My Advocacy Marketing Campaign International?

 

Put on that beret, grab a “cuppa tea”, and break out your favorite manga, today we’re answering the common client question, "Can I expand my advocacy marketing campaign to another country?"

At SocialToaster, we’ve had the pleasure of working with several of the world’s top global brands. As such, we’ve had experience launching and managing internationally focused advocacy marketing campaigns. While the short answer to this common client question is "Yes," the more accurate response is that it’s not as simple as throwing a switch and yelling, “Hey world, we’re here!” There is a lot to consider when building an international advocacy marketing campaign.

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What to Keep in Mind When Taking Your Advocacy Marketing Campaign Internationally

Choose Your Program Countries Carefully
First off, you need to decide on the specific countries you want your program to target. Remember, your program rules, regulations, and program asks (what you’re actually asking participants to do, like share content or take pictures), are all subject to the law of the country that program is offered in. The more countries you include in your campaign, the more laws and restrictions you need to abide by.

Before committing to a large global initiative, we recommend selecting a single country to run a pilot international program. This will give your team a warm-up round to familiarize yourself with the work it takes to open your advocacy program up to a new country. When selecting a pilot country be sure:

  • You are already doing business in the country
  • You have a social presence in the country (we recommend selecting a country that you’re already seeing high engagement with on Facebook)
  • You have the creative ready to go to handle any language needs. - If you’re only producing English content, consider launching your first International program in an English-speaking country like Australia or the UK

If you’ve never done any marketing in Asia before, an advocacy marketing campaign might not be the easiest way to introduce yourself.

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Learn the Legal Requirements of That Country
Full disclaimer before reading this next part: this blog doesn’t count as legal counsel. Before you take your advocacy marketing campaign to an international level, you’re going to want to be sure to get the blessing of someone that knows the specific rules of the country you’re targeting.

Unfortunately, you aren’t going to be able to simply copy and paste your program's U.S. rules. Remember, if you’re a U.S.-based company launching an advocacy program in Australia, you must follow Australia’s rules.

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Advocacy marketing campaigns tend to fall into two categories:

  1. Sweepstakes – No purchase required and winning is determined by a random drawing. Your advocates can earn points or entries by sharing your branded content. If you require a purchase, it’s considered a lottery which is illegal to conduct in most countries including the U.S.
  2. Contests – There’s a level of skill involved in the program and the winner is determined by a judge or some sort of ruling party. For example, if your brand is utilizing a pic challenge to award a prize, they are holding a contest.

For most countries, advocacy marketing campaigns are regulated by the same rules that govern social media sweepstakes and contests (or even broader marketing sweepstakes and contests). Don’t be surprised to run into some “quirky” international rules around sweepstakes and contests. For example:

For skills competitions and prize draws in Italy (what they call contests and sweepstakes), the winner must be selected either in the presence of an Italian Notary Public or an Officer of the Chamber of Commerce. In the case where the selection of winners is undertaken electronically, the results generated shall be certified by an expert.

Believe it or not, if you run a sweepstakes in Canada, all winners must pass a basic skill test (usually a math problem) to claim their prize. When running a promotion in Quebec all materials must be available in English AND French. This includes rules, promotional ads, posters, entry forms, web sites, etc.

 

Common questions you need to have answered:

  • What promotions are allowed?
  • Are there language restrictions?
  • Are there requirements about you doing business or hosting in the country?
  • Is there a prize value limit in the country you’re in?
  • How do prize taxes work?
  • Are there certain restrictions on what can and can’t be given away?
  • How long do you need to keep a record of the winner for?

Pro Tip: We’ve launched dozens of international campaigns, if you have any specific questions, let us know, we’ll be happy to help. We’ve got the expertise and the legal contacts to help keep you on the straight and narrow.

 

Should I Develop a Single International Program or Multiple Country-Specific Programs?
You’ve got the country, you studied the rule book, now it’s time to determine if you want to manage a multinational single program, or create multiple country-specific programs. The choice that best works for your program will be determined by several factors including:

  • Will the U.S. and pilot country program share the same content?
  • Do they have the same goals?
  • Do they speak the same language?
  • Will any program prizing appeal to both groups?
  • Does the program signup page effectively communicate that the program is open to both countries?

Even though it tends to be more work to manage two separate platforms, most of the time brands see stronger results by having a program specific to your international market. This way you can ensure that each program is set up to meet the needs of the demographic being targeted.

 

Launching an international program may seem daunting, but our talented team of legal experts and account managers have what it takes to open your advocacy marketing campaign to the world. Have questions? Let us know, we’re here to help!