7 Essential Building Blocks For Your Export Marketing Success
Selling your products in different countries has unique requirements and your export marketing success can be built with these 7 steps.
Over the last couple of years, the world of business has become a global game. Now that the fruits of the digital revolution have become widely available even the companies from the SMB sector have a fair chance at starting an online store or planning out the global expansion. In some cases, such moves are all but necessary.
However, most of us forget that the bigger market also requires a different marketing approach.
Reliable strategies that worked on the local or even national level may not translate when applied in the export scenario. To put it simply, different market circumstances require different marketing strategies.
What is Export Marketing?
Export marketing is the tactics taken for marketing your product in other countries instead of your own. The strategies may be similar to domestic marketing, that being said, export marketing tends to be more challenging, since you’re targeting different cultures, ideals and tastes.
There are a few other items that need your serious consideration when approaching export marketing such as; laws and regulations. There is also the simple fact that export marketing comes with an inherently greater risk and may require substantially more financial resources.
All that to be said, export marketing can increase your revenue substantially when done correctly. Let us take a look then at a couple of building blocks you can use to redefine the marketing approach of your company and craft a strategy that will give you a fair shot at the global audience.
Much like any other facet of your company, your marketing team won’t be able to efficiently perform its duties without a developed strategy that will outline specific steps and help you build the infrastructure for global expansion. The key to success here lies in market research. Only when you know the age, purchase patterns, and habits of your future audience can you start choosing the appropriate marketing channels, messages you want to send, and the resources you are willing to invest in this effort. The more thorough you are both in research and penning the correspondent strategies the better.
Understanding of the local audience
This mention is heavily leaning on the topic we have just covered. But, in that case, however, we would like to point out that some marketing approaches may translate very poorly to audiences with different cultural and political outlooks. For instance, Chinese people have a very different way of interpreting the meaning of colors. The color red which, in the Western world, generally represents some sort of danger or alert is in China seen as a symbol of fire, good fortune, and joy. Black corresponds to water and Heaven. Understanding the details like these can make or break the message you are trying to send.
A well-defined brand image
To put it simply, branding promotes recognition. While smaller markets tolerate companies that rely solely on the quality of their products and services to reach the audience, the global arena is reserved only for the well-defined entities capable of inciting some kind of emotional response. Be sure then to put more effort into developing some of the key elements of successful brands like:
- Effective logo
- Recognizable visual language
- Easy-to-remember slogan (e.g. ‘Just do It’)
- Engaging storytelling and mission statement
- Archetype personality
- Identifiable and recyclable message keywords (e.g. happy, easy, intuitive)
- Packaging and style elements
Seamless cash flow
Cracking the foreign market means you will probably need to rely on the services of the foreign marketing teams and third-party service providers. At the same time, your income flow will be severely slowed down. The only way to overcome this problem and keep your marketing machine going is to make your domestic cash flow spotless and collect the invoices as early as possible. One of the ways is to offer discounts for early payments. If not, you can concede the open invoices to a trade finance service provider and collect the bulk of the cash within 24 hours. In any case, be sure to keep the cash coming.
Specific objectives and marketing budgets
Pursuing more customers just for the sake of it is not a good enough goal on its own – you need to know how many people you want to convert, how, when, how much profit you need to turn, and how this money will be used for further expansion. The idea of these specific goals and their impact on the finances of your company will help you to put establish a tight budget that will truly take into account the overall goals of your company, the complete sales funnel, specific marketing channels, benchmark values, operational costs, product-related promotional costs, and other important budgeting factors.
Limiting your foreign expansion may seem like a limiting move but you need to be aware that you are entering an already established market with already engaged audiences. That is why you should avoid scattering your marketing messages all around the ether and aim for the low-hanging fruit instead. The great thing about the audiences that are lost in the shuffle of the general market is that they present a very loyal customer pool, take very little time to convert, and feature short sales cycles. All these things are absolutely necessary until you find a strong footing and become ready to tackle a larger client pool.
Strong unique value proposition
Last but not least, we need to quickly address the unique value proposition or in other words, the key benefit your company offers in comparison to direct competitors. Being the primary reason why foreign clients should buy from you, this important marketing asset should be very well defined and put at the forefront of your campaign. Generally speaking, the unique value proposition can be found by answering the following questions:
- What your product is and what isn’t?
- How is it relevant to the lives of the prospects?
- In what quantifiable manner does it improve the lives of the prospects?
- What makes it different from similar products?
We hope these few examples will help you get a general picture of the assets and strategies you need to have in place to make a successful transition to a foreign market. Successful companies are not made by some irrational twist of fate – they are built block by block. In order to stand the test of time, all these blocks need to be carefully thought out and laid into foundations. Admittedly, that’s not an easy task but now you at least know where to start.