International Marketing: 2024 Career Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Want a global career? Learn about the benefits and principles of international marketing, find out what these marketers do, and learn how to get into the field.

[Featured image] International marketing colleagues collaborate in their office.

If promoting products or services in new global markets sounds interesting, consider an international marketing career. This growing field offers various exciting job opportunities in different countries, such as market research analyst, brand manager, marketing director, and more. 

This guide explores how international marketing differs from domestic marketing and explains the benefits of expanding to global markets. You'll discover several key principles of international marketing, learn what international marketers do, and find out how you can pursue this exciting career. 

What is international marketing?

Marketing involves enticing people, groups, or organizations to buy a product or service; international marketing includes expanding to global markets. Learning how to distinguish international marketing from domestic marketing can help you better understand it.

Domestic marketing vs. international marketing

When a company engages in domestic marketing, all its activities fall within its home country’s borders. Employees working for the company all follow the same marketing policies and procedures. They also use the same currency and usually speak the same language when conducting business. 

When a company engages in international marketing, the scope of marketing activities expands from its home country to another country or multiple countries. International marketing involves different languages, currencies, and cultures, so each country's marketing policies and procedures will likely differ.

Before expanding to global markets, companies must prepare to invest more time and money than they would if growing in their home country. Companies also need to consider:

  • Access to technology

  • Buying habits of people in the community

  • Costs associated with expansion

  • Market trends

  • Foreign markets

  • International trade

  • Cultural differences

  • Consumer behaviour

  • The level of influence governments have over businesses

What are the benefits of international marketing?

Advancements in producing and delivering products and services have made global expansion possible for more businesses. International marketing benefits companies by allowing them to expand their customer base, which may result in greater profit margins. Expanding to other countries also helps companies stay solvent if the economy in one country falters. Other benefits of international marketing can include: 

  • An opportunity to boost the company brand or reinvent it

  • Less competition for a product or service

  • New sources of financing

  • A chance to sell products or services that are no longer selling in a company's home market

In addition to helping companies, international marketing can also benefit new communities. Examples of community benefits may include:

  • Better cultural and social relationships between countries

  • Improved living standards for members of the community

  • Increased economic growth and tax revenue

  • More available jobs

Principles of international marketing

Companies that succeed globally often follow several basic guidelines, regardless of location. The following are some international marketing principles:

  • Know your customer.

  • Be ready to alter your product or service to fit the customer's needs.

  • Be willing to change how you package a product to suit the market better.

  • Adapt your message if needed.

  • Use of local resources, especially people.

  • Be consistent with pricing across global markets.

  • Make sure the impact of international marketing on the community is constructive.

  • Give back to new communities through charity or volunteering.

What does an international marketer do?

As an international marketer, you promote and sell a company's products or services. Before global expansion, you'd need to learn as much as possible about a new community, its citizens, its government, and how it conducts business. 

Typical working environment

You can work as an international marketer in retail, energy, pharmaceuticals, or technology industries. No matter your position, you'll likely work from an office. However, you may work from multiple locations since this role often requires travel. You may also explore new communities and interact with locals in your research. 

Skills required 

To be a successful international marketer, you'll need specific workplace and technical skills. 

Beneficial workplace skills for an international marketer include:

  • Analytical thinking

  • Attention to detail

  • Creativity

  • Curiosity

  • Empathy for others

  • Good verbal and written communication

  • Leadership

  • Organizational skills

  • Problem-solving abilities

Good technical skills to have as an international marketer include:

  • Copywriting and editing skills

  • Experience in web design

  • Experience with project management software

  • Digital marketing abilities

  • Experience in social media marketing

  • Knowledge of data analytics

  • Knowledge of HTML 

  • SEO/SEM skills

Common tasks

Certain work tasks in international marketing are common across many different positions. Some of the duties you might have include: 

  • Conducting thorough research involving foreign markets and cultures

  • Designing brochures or catalogues to market products or services

  • Creating and following marketing budgets

  • Advising on the development of products or services

  • Regular consultation with sales managers

  • Analyzing consumer trends and making sales forecasts

  • Creating marketing campaigns

  • Handling contracts and other essential documents

How to get into international marketing 

If you decide to pursue international marketing, several steps can make the process easier. You can earn a degree, gain marketing experience, build your network, and consider professional certification.

Earn a degree. 

You can earn a bachelor's degree, which takes about three to four years to complete. Depending on your desired career, you can pursue a master's degree or a Ph.D., which takes one to five years to complete. These advanced degrees allow you to specialize in a particular area of international marketing, like brand management or marketing strategy. 

Additional educational avenues for an international marketing career include enrolling in a study-abroad programme or applying for an international marketing internship. 

Common International Marketing Degrees

Getting a degree is the best way to prepare for a career in international marketing. Common areas of study include:

• Advertising

• Business

• Business administration

• Business management

• Digital marketing

• Marketing

• Market research

• Public relations

Sales management


Gain marketing experience. 

It's wise to start with an entry-level position in a local marketing firm or department to gain experience for a career in international marketing. A position like marketing assistant or marketing coordinator can help you build your skills to attain your career goals.  

Build your network.

Whether going to school or working, use every opportunity to build a professional network. New connections may help you advance your career in the future. To create a professional network, try these strategies:

  • Form good relationships with college professors, advisors, and coworkers.

  • Do your best to impress employers while working.

  • Create profiles on professional social media websites.

  • Join professional organizations and honour societies.

  • Attend job fairs and other career-related events.

Consider professional certificates. 

Some international marketing jobs in Canada may require you to become a certified economic developer (EcD). Regardless of the role, you may also further your career through professional certificates. Professional certificates show employers you're willing to go the extra mile to land a position. 

Certificates can help you develop or strengthen career skills faster than a degree program. They can have various completion times, from weeks to months. Gaining a relevant certificate may improve your job prospects if you're considering a career in international marketing. You can find numerous professional certificates on Coursera to enhance your resume. 

International marketing salaries

When deciding whether to pursue a career in international marketing, it helps to know the wages of different roles. Here are some examples of international marketing positions and their median annual salaries in Canada. 

  • International marketing coordinator: $68,752 [1]

  • International marketing consultant: $64,532 [2]

  • International marketing director: $130,733 [3]

  • Global brand manager: $167,700 [4]

Next steps 

You may consider taking an international marketing course or a group of courses to learn more about this exciting career. The International Marketing & Cross Industry Growth Specialization on Coursera involves five classes taught by professors at Yonsei University in Korea. This specialization covers key global marketing concepts and various market sectors, from health care and hospitality to sports and entertainment. Upon completion, you'll earn a certificate to share with future schools or employers. 

Article sources

1 “International Marketing Coordinator average salary in Canada, 2023,” Accessed April 17, 2024.

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