International marketing tips from historic female icons


Sarah Oxley

Content Marketing

Now I love my history; I’m terrible at remembering dates, but I love the stories behind the events. And having an eye for the historical I’ve noticed a surge of female Google Doodles recently.


Google doodle


Due to Google being called out by the female advocacy SPRK for only having 17% of doodles dedicated to female figures, there’s now been an increase with 48% female vs. 52% male focused doodles this year.

These Doodles got me thinking about who I admire and what I’ve learnt from them, particularly about international online marketing (often on my mind).

Below is an interesting and practical account of my findings and experience.

Marie Curie

Winner of two Nobel Prizes for discovering new elements, Marie Curie is one of the most famous scientific figures of her time representing the power of a scientific approach and a drive to understand how the universe works.

As data is vital for marketing, I decided there had to be a heroin for the analytical approach.

Jane Austen

An iconic female novelist with a unique insight into the lives of 19th century women.

To be successful internationally, there needs to be an understanding of the social and cultural situation of a country and market. Jane Austen was renowned for her insight into the behaviour and social drivers of her society.


Queen of the Iceni people of Eastern England, Boudicca rose against the Roman rule (due to crimes against her family) defeating the Ninth Legion.

This may be a surprise entry (it was indeed for the Romans!), but it’s a tough world, and you need a bit of bite.


historic heroines

Icons wisdom to entering a new digital market:

Marie Curie – gather your data

Curies discoveries would’ve been impossible without extensive data, before deciding which market to expand into and how you need to gather as much market relevant data as possible.

Once you’ve done a SWOT analysis for the markets you’re most interested in, you can then make a suitable decision.

Boudicca – know your enemy

Boudicca was underestimated, as the Romans didn’t know their enemy. Although not ground-breaking, you may be surprised how many companies get swept away by the excitement of a new market, and overlook who they are up against.

Its not just who, but:

Current actions

– Not just from a marketing perspective, but also a content one, as youll be meeting them in the online field.


– Finding out about their brand following and how this can be countered.

– If the industry is well-established or new with no significant brand loyalty.

Past actions

– Their general reputation, i.e. what customers say about them.

– Any content or marketing efforts? (Including mistakes)

– Any content or marketing efforts picked up by the media?

Lessons for them/lessons for you

– How they handled a crisis or conflict?

– What would you have done in the situation?

– Spotting a gap or lack of offering from competitors in the market. Have competitors disappointed their target audience?

Jane Austen – know your audience

Austen really understood her target audience and what kind of content appealed to them. Understanding content in different markets is key to gaining attention from your desired audience.

For a clearer understanding of content likes, below are some examples:


Supermarket franchise, Edeka, recently launched a popular content campaign combining a beloved German musician and actor with “Gangnam style” dance moves and a catchy tune.

It was a well thought-out umbrella campaign, with the content being integrated into TV, print, online and social media strategies.

If you dont know why Germany is Supergeil, you need to find out here.





A group of vegetable producers, Les Gueules Cass (“the broken faces”), has started a campaign to encourage the purchase of what is referred to as “ugly fruit and vegetables”.


Les Gueules Cassées ugly fruit campaign


The initiative has several different goals, including reducing waste and selling more of their produce.

Big supermarket chains Auchan, Monoprix and Cora are all on board with selling these “ugly fruits.” It’s also receiving a lot of media coverage with two of the biggest French TV channels (M6 and France 2) discussing the initiative.


In China, Korean TV shows are having a lot of success, particularly the reality TV show “Ba Ba Qu Na Er” (Where are we going Dad?).

In each episode the five celebrity Dads and their young children complete tasks, such as finding ingredients for food in the countryside.

The first three episodes have been shown on the country’s biggest video-sharing website, Tudou.

Success has been credited to the shows all-star cast, however Zang Zhi from Superstar China (Like BGT) says its due to Korean programmes being in-sync with the Chinese culture and values.

Marie Curie – analyse your data

There wouldn’t have been two Nobel prizes, if Curie hadn’t analysed the data shed gathered. With the big picture of both market and competitors, you can spot opportunities.Without analysing your data, it will remain just that – data analysis enables you to develop tactics with evidenced success (rather than diving in head first.)

Jane Austen – know yourself

Understanding how you fit into the new market, and what will make you stand out from competitors, you can plan to your strengths, as well as gain support for your weaknesses.

Prioritise the markets best suited to you and your situation. Youll not gain anything by spreading yourself too thinly.

Boudicca – have a battle plan

Have a plan in place for what you want to achieve with realistic step by step goals, and time frames.

There will always be factors you can’t foresee, so a certain amount of flexibility will be required; but with goals, you can better keep track of what is going well, and what may need refining.

With new digital markets, you have various tactics with which you can test the water and plan accordingly.

Integrating PPC with SEO

Often PPC and SEO are seen as an either/or tactic. Particularly with new markets its important to consider how these campaigns can complement each other or pave the way for the other.

ConclusionSearch Laboraotry SEO and PPC logos

We can learn a lot from history, especially for new digital markets.


– What the market looks like

– Who your competitors are

– What resources you have to commit to the market


– An agency with the resources and market knowledge to best support you

– A (battle) plan for entering the new market

And finally, as a word of advice from history: “dont mess with Boudicca!”