Are you planning to go international? Is your business ready for global markets? If your business is in the process of global expansion or if you are considering entry to the US, here are 5 international marketing strategies for successful entry to new markets:
Many companies skip this crucial step and jump right to market penetration. They open an office in their target market and hire a local salesperson. After a year or two, this office still has more expenses than revenue. As an alternative, we suggest to conduct brief research to identify local market needs. This helps identify specific market trends, competitors and ways the solution can be customized to meet demand.
This step delivers a positioning strategy that enables you to refine your marketing messaging and definition of potential client segments. For example, if you would like to enter the US market, you should first determine what states are a good fit for your solution and focus first on these regions. This will lower your initial costs and enhance the likelihood of turning prospects into clients.
Instead of a taking advantage of a short planning phase, most SMEs choose to respond to random opportunities. For example, a potential reseller contacts them and they say to themselves: “Sure, why not bring them onboard.” After 2 years, it turns out that the reseller is not delivering results. By this point, the company has invested a lot of resources to train this reseller.
To avoid this scenario, we suggest building a marketing plan to generate demand in the targeted international markets, based on the initial research (as described in Step 1) and available budget. Choose international marketing tactics that enable you to focus on the target market that best fits your product/service and incites prospects to learn more about your offering, while your sales team is still operating from your headquarters. If your company is looking to develop a distribution network, our plan will include a process to identify, validate, and monitor resellers.
International markets are different and there are many considerations to examine. Trade barriers, proximity, and currency are some of them. But what about cultural differences? How do you handle these?
To this end, we implement the positioning strategy from Step 1 and make sure to adjust the website, sales and marketing material and other documents to reflect the newly suggested messaging. After all, if your messaging does not match your target market, potential clients may not be as attracted to your solution.
While executing the marketing plan, you want to make sure that you have someone on your team who understands the cultural or language nuances. A lot of the times, companies assume that they can deploy marketing tactics the same way they do in their local market. This is not necessarily true. We have seen campaigns where the use of certain wording in a different context results in market rejection. Sometimes, colors in one culture drive a message that a company had no intention to evoke, impacting the attractiveness of their solution. Thus, it is important for an expert in the targeted market to review the implementation before it goes international.
You need to measure each international marketing campaign on a regular basis to ensure the company receives the desired results. The assessment should not only concentrate on quantitative, but also on qualitative aspects. Though the number of prospective clients is important, we highly suggest to assess the quality of the prospects and define whether the potential clients meets the specific definition of the potential client base defined in Step 1.
Follow the above steps and you will manage to go international safely.
“Ranking our Web site high on search engines results, designing a professional Web site look and developing engaging relevant content for a heavy technology company like us resulted in a dramatic increase in client leads that we receive from our Web site.”Simon Robin CEO, Hardent