Probably the most common options to grow a business is to penetrate beyond the local borders. Despite the fact that global marketing makes use of the original principles and concepts Marketers are familiar with, there are a few issues that a firm should consider when considering going global.
If your Marketing department is responsible of putting together the strategy for expanding the business internationally you might find the task challenging, in particular if the foreign market is totally different than what you are used to when marketing locally. I am currently responsible of such an ambitious project, and I would like to share some tips that you might find useful.
Global Marketing Should Begin Locally
This might come as a surprised to you but your research should start with identifying programs run by the local and/or federal government to help exporting firms succeed internationally. You might be surprised (like I was) at the quality of resources available. These includes free market studies, grants, profiles of different countries, and a list of potential contacts that can help you obtain a better understanding of that particular foreign market. As an example, the Canadian government even provides exporters with fully equipped meeting rooms abroad that export managers can use to meet potential clients and partners, at no cost. Obviously these resources vary by country, but it’s well worth investigating.
Look At The Big Picture
A certain country might look like the perfect expansion opportunity for a lot of reasons. Before you look at the specific sector you are interested in make sure you have a good understanding of the macroeconomic environment that affects the way you conduct business. Identifying the opportunities but also the challenges such as political and economical corruption, bad infrastructure, unattractive taxation, lack of legislation, political instability, poor banking, is mandatory in getting a solid start to exporting. Other points to look at are the entry costs such as legal services, trademark registration, bureaucracy. It’s very tempting to just commence exporting based on an inquiry received from abroad, however rushing it will cause inconvenience later.
Get A Good Understanding of the Local Culture
The most common mistake exporters make in the international marketing planning is not customizing their offer to the local market.This is key to a successful market entry. Every country is different, regardless how similar they look in theory. Many think that USA and Canada are twin countries, that speak English and have more or less the cultural and shopping patters.However, whoever visited the two countries realize how different they are in so many ways. Ensure you get feedback from locals about business manners, purchasing habits and motivators and the things you should definitely avoid when selling there. It is advisable to hire local translator for any marketing materials you wish to use to generate sales for your products or services, and employ locals if possible.
One last thing: I personally like to create a list of best practices based on the feedback and research information I receive from different sources. Once I have a check mark beside each bullet point on the list I can work on the strategic planning phase and craft the go-to market strategy to be deployed.