There’s good reason to believe what sells in America can sell elsewhere. But assuming you can market it in the same manner in a foreign country produces disappointing sales for many exporters.
Even if you’re marketing your product in an English-speaking country, buying patterns change by borders. Don’t give up on the use of your product or service abroad, but be prepared that it might not take off as quickly it did stateside. As you prepare to enter foreign markets, consider these pointers for your export marketing plan.
1. Don’t neglect the market research. Just like rolling out a product into any new market, the market research indicates a couple important factors:
· if your product or service is likely to succeed in the market
· what selling points and purchasing habits resonate with the market
As we mentioned in a previous exporting post, you have numerous secondary market research information available. And if you have the time and money for primary market research (conducting research for your specific product), you’ll have an even greater understanding of customer needs.
You may be surprised to find that, while you have little competition stateside, your new market has a similar product or service. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to withdraw from the market, but you’ll have to research your chief competitors.
2. Develop your export marketing strategy. Most entrepreneurs fall into two camps: They love the strategy work and extensive planning, or they want to roll up their sleeves and execute marketing campaigns immediately. For the good of your business, even if you want to start marketing in a new country immediately, you’re almost certainly better off developing your strategy.
Through the federal government’s International Business Plan Workbook , you can create a detailed strategy. Before you begin, prepare to answer hard questions about your international marketing ambitions, such as:
· How will international trade help you reach your long-term goals?
· Why is your business successful in the domestic market?
· What is the projected growth in these international markets over the next five years?
While the workbook provides some guidance, completing it is a very-time consuming exercise that will require significant resources.
3. Capitalize on government-sponsored advertising opportunities. In many instances, you can find fairly low-priced advertising platforms through various federal government agencies tasked with fostering exporting.
The U.S. Commerce Department, for example, produces the bi-monthly Commercial News USA, its official export promotion magazine distributed freely to worldwide U.S. embassies and consulates. If you prefer online advertising to print—or you use an integrated marketing campaign—you may want to investigate FUSE, a directory on international U.S. Commercial Service websites.
Of course, all of these items represent just several of the key export marketing components your business will need in order to compete. To learn more about recommendations for everything exporting-related, export.gov is a great one-stop shop.
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