Repeating your marketing without question from one country to another – can be a waste of time with negligible results. You must become aware of the differences in each country; how people react to marketing messages; how they talk about your products and what influences their purchase – so that your marketing is intuitive and emotionally intelligent. Assuming we are the same the world over is wrong.
1. Before you start spending money put your products and services under the microscope. What are the deep underlying needs you are satisfying and where do you fall short? No time for puffing up your feathers and for ego to get in the way of making improvements. How do these needs vary from country to country?
2. Don’t claim a product is unique if it isn’t. You don’t have to be unique to be successful. But you must communicate in a clear, positive and unambiguous way. And your product may be unique in the UK. Will you retain this uniqueness in your export countries? What else exists to crowd you out or welcome you in?
3. Don’t overlook the importance of charm in your communications. Charm is being relevant and inspiring your audience with what you can do for them. Charm is a universal currency but you must understand how far your charm offensive can go in another country and if indeed tipping the scales in favour of being more factual is a better strategy.
4. Recognise that most of us do not arrive at the decision to buy immediately. You may have to play a long or a short waiting game. Look at how you can build value in your communication pipeline to keep prospects engaged. Again, how do people arrive at the decision to buy in your export countries? How similar or dissimilar is this to the UK?
5. Find out how people arrive at the decision to do business with you and, how many people are involved in the decision making process. Pitch to the right people in the right way. This will vary from country to country.
6. Don’t jettison traditional marketing – networking, advertising, PR, direct mail and so on in favour of a wholesale shift to social media. Look at adding value, enhancing the communication process and, reaching out to more people. The emperor’s new clothes are all well and good but the old clothing may have the edge. In some countries social media is very much underplayed and more traditional forms of marketing communications are rated highly. You may be able to telephone cold call a business owner in the UK to showcase your wares but not so in another country. Don’t make assumptions until you know what works on the marketing front and what is deemed acceptable as well as effective.
7. Communicate what you offer with passion, enthusiasm and hard facts if you want to inspire others to do business with you. The amount of passion and enthusiasm will vary. In the USA it is a given that you can be exuberant but in China and South Korea where, despite the fact that the emphasis is on friendship first, business second, a warm bear hug and a hearty hand shake may not elicit the same positive reaction.
8. If you want to build your business into a brand country to country, you must focus on consistency – delivering a fabulous service to the same high standard every time; clarity – making sure that your messages are clear, attractive and easy to understand and, visibility – ensuring that your logo, strap line, all imagery associated with your business is exceptional and it is clear what you do. No room for home-made creations. And this rule of branding applies to every country you are exporting to.
9. If you want to grow, you must allocate time for marketing. How much? One day a month minimumfor every country you are exporting to. Ideally more! Don’t snatch a minute here and there. Allocate quality thinking time.