Marketing Consulting

International Marketing…some tips and tricks

For businesses to consider taking on the challenge of international marketing, or selling their products in other countries – “think before you jump”….
Step 1: The Strategy

  • Clearly define why you want your business to grow internationally & what do you want to achieve – do you have limited growth opportunities in your home market and need to expand? Is there a market internationally demanding your products and services, so the new market is ready? Choose markets which are going to be there for the “long haul”. Remember, a Politically Stable country usually means stable business conditions, stable currency values and lower overall risk. When choosing markets do not lose sight of mature markets such as the UK, US and Japan – these can be a lot easier to deal with than emerging markets.
  • Clearly define what product range you are going to offer. From my experience, exporting commodity products we targeted specific customers which in turn produced a narrow product range. This was very successful as we had a vast experience in producing the range of commodity product; we understood our customers operations in detail and their market. In short, “we really knew the markets and the business in detail – so we understood the prices, costs and margins through the whole supply chain”
  • Choose your offshore agents very well…..very very well. Build relationships, both personal and professional, with them so you get beyond the transaction sale and become partners. In some cases it will pay to start with trial shipments over 6 to 1 month period – this reduces the risks for both parties, builds understanding and builds trust.
  • Make sure you get payed – get sound advice from your bank or EFIC to ensure that you minimise the chance of not getting payed – this is a strategic issue not a clerical one.
Step 2: Logistics
The logistics of exporting can be quite daunting so take some time to understand what is involved and what the cost of each service or activity. Consider the following; this is just the start not the complete “picture”:

  • Any additional quality testing of products required or certificates needed?
  • Any additional packaging required?
  • What is the stevedoring cost or the freight forward costs?
  • Do I have to have more storage space to consolidate my shipments?
  • What are the sale terms? Do I need to account for the costs of unloading at the port?
  • What insurances do I need?
  • What are the additional banking and or payment collection cost I will be incurring?
  • Do I need to employ more staff to handle these export shipments?
  • Am I going to get product damage due to shipping and handling?

This is not the complete list, but do go into the detail, the cost will quickly add up. Make your decisions based on the best available information – talk to other who are exporting and get there experiences.

Step 3: Servicing the Markets
International marketing can be fully of fantastic experiences and the opportunity to travel the world. This is all great but remember you do need to remember that you have a business to run. What additional staff, expenses and time is required for visiting agents, customers, trade shows and market research?From experience, I ensured that I travelled once per quarter to my key customers and in those trips I would visit a market I wanted to develop. I kept the trip to between two weeks and three weeks – not longer. Plan well and ensure that you are using weekends to the best business advantage – building relationships.
For further information and experiences in International Marketing give me a call on 0448839840.
Dave Burgess