How to Become an International Marketer (With Steps and Skills)

Updated June 8, 2023

Businesses operate in a global economy that requires specific marketers to understand consumer behaviour. International marketers are business professionals who create brands that appeal to foreign consumers, conduct market research in different countries, and invest in various advertising channels. Understanding how to become an international marketer can help you decide whether you want to pursue this career. In this article, we discuss the steps to becoming an international marketer, highlight the required skills to become one, and explain some benefits of pursuing this kind of marketing career.

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Steps on how to become an international marketer

Understanding your path in this potentially overseas career choice involves understanding the global economy. Here are some steps you can follow to become a successful international marketer:

1. Obtain the qualifications

To become an international marketer, there are certain educational requirements to fulfill. In most cases, earning a bachelor's degree in business is the best way to prepare for a career as an international marketer. Business schools offer courses and programs specifically designed for students who want to work as international marketers at many universities.

You may also benefit from specialization in international business. Besides your formal education, volunteer opportunities and internships offer great ways to gain experience to help you later in your career. It may also be a good idea to earn a master's degree or higher in international business or another related field.

2. Gain work experience

Before entering the international market, it's essential to gain work experience. The more you know about marketing, finance, and business management, the better prepared you are for a career as an international marketer. While some entry-level positions are available in global marketing, it's common for marketers to enter the field with several years of relevant work experience in another area. You can gain experience in your industry by working in various roles to develop the necessary skills for international marketing positions.

Related: Marketing Job Titles (Examples and Hierarchy)

3. Develop business knowledge

As an international marketer, it's crucial to understand the basic principles of business. For example, you may benefit from understanding financial statements and each part's role in running a business. In addition, basic marketing principles can help you understand how customers decide when to shop or why certain products are more popular than others at the company's foreign locations. You can also gain business knowledge by attending seminars and lectures at conferences and trade shows.

4. Study foreign languages

Some positions may require fluency in a foreign language because it's important to understand the language of the company's target audience. Some companies conduct business in countries where English is not common, so you can gain a competitive advantage by learning the appropriate foreign language. The more languages you speak, the better your chances of excelling as an international marketer.

5. Become familiar with foreign cultures

As an international marketer, it's important to understand how culture affects consumer behaviour. For example, you may understand whether the use of gerberas in advertisements would be acceptable or offensive in certain countries. You may also understand why some products are more popular than others overseas. As an international marketer, you might know what cultural issues you may face when promoting certain products.

Related: How to Learn More About a Company's Culture

6. Understand foreign trade

If the company you work for imports or exports goods, it's important for you to understand how foreign trade works. You can gain this knowledge by working as a liaison between the business and the shipping company. Sometimes, you may travel overseas as a representative of the business. If the company does not use any international marketing, it's still helpful if you gain an understanding of the industry that you hope to enter before preparing for a career as an international marketer.

Required skills for an international marketer

Some important skills for an international marketer include:

Communication skills

An international marketer uses excellent communication skills to understand the language and cultural differences of his target audience. In addition, it helps international marketers to explain marketing concepts using easy-to-understand terms that are familiar to their target markets. You can build your communication skills by taking courses in business, foreign languages, and public speaking.


An international marketer may work with a wide variety of professionals from different departments to achieve marketing goals. In this position, it's beneficial for you to work well with advertising agencies, graphic designers, photographers, retailers, and distributors. You can build your teamwork skills by participating in group projects and volunteering to form alliances with other professionals on your team.

Critical thinking

As an international marketer, it's a good idea to think critically about the success of marketing campaigns abroad. To become successful at this job, you may understand how culture affects consumer behaviour. Studying the target market's language, social customs, and buying habits can help improve your critical thinking skills. In addition, you may also understand the company's business goals and how you can meet them through marketing campaigns.


An international marketer uses good networking skills to build relationships with people from other cultures. You might network with retail managers who sell your product, public relations experts who write press releases, and shipping companies transporting your goods. In addition, you may build relationships with foreign distributors and advertising agencies. You can gain networking skills by joining local organizations to meet people from other cultures and take courses in business communication.

Related: Guidelines on How to Network


As an international marketer, you typically have excellent research skills. You might conduct secondary research to find out how the target market accepts your product. The company you work for may provide you with consumer research, but it's often helpful for international marketers to do their independent studies into purchasing habits and culture. You can gain research skills by taking classes that require you to carry out independent projects, such as research papers.

Business skills

As an international marketer, you may work with the company's upper management team to achieve marketing goals. As an integral part of the campaign planning process, it's important to understand how business works to align your marketing plan with the company's needs. Besides developing good communication and teamwork skills, you may consider courses in business, marketing, and economics.

Related: What Do Marketers Do? (With Definition and Duties)

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The benefits of becoming an international marketer

From increased personal and professional growth to greater career opportunities, international marketers enjoy a wide range of benefits that come with the job. Some of the many benefits include:

Variety of work responsibilities

An international marketer can expect to be responsible for a wide range of marketing activities, such as developing marketing campaigns, managing advertising agencies, writing press releases, attending trade shows and conventions, and building relationships with foreign distributors. This position provides the opportunity to work in various industries, such as food, technology, travel, and fashion.

Global experience

As an international marketer, you may learn about different cultures and customs, which can help you grow as a person by broadening your perspective of the world. You may also travel often for business, visiting new locations every year, which can be exciting and allow you to experience new cultures.

Career opportunities

As an international marketer, you typically have the option to work in various industries. You may gain experience and access to resources that may increase your chances of landing a more senior position, such as marketing manager or vice president. Many professionals also find opportunities at other companies and negotiate their pay.

Personal growth

International marketing offers a great deal of personal growth and the potential for advancement. This position provides an excellent opportunity for professionals to develop new skills or enhance existing ones, such as communication and leadership. In addition, it's a chance to connect with people from diverse backgrounds, which can help you grow as a person.

Flexibility due to a variable schedule

International marketers often work variable hours to accommodate time differences with foreign markets. This schedule may include working evenings, weekends, and holidays to communicate with overseas distributors, which may help you gain additional work experience for future career opportunities.

Creativity and innovation

International marketers develop creative strategies for promoting products overseas. Innovation and creative thinking are crucial in this role because the marketer must come up with new ways to promote products in different countries and cultures. They also find ways to appeal to consumers' tastes across the globe.

Related: 7 Steps to Improve Your Creative Thinking Skills

Networking opportunities

International marketers often interact with people from various countries around the world. This can create networking opportunities that grow your professional network and help you learn about different cultures. In addition, these networking opportunities may also present job opportunities where you can advance your career.

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