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Friday, 4 July 2014

Friday Guest Blog: Six ways to improve your international business marketing

As a Queens Award for International Trade holder and with an envied international client portfolio, René Power (pictured), business development director at BDB, offers some advice around international marketing.

There are a wide variety of things to consider when entering new markets – from the linguistic to the logistics, distance to distribution and sales to service. But marketing is often something left to last. Build these six steps into your planning for your next market entry plan.

1. Insight research

Building a comprehensive picture of the business environment you’re entering provides information to make intelligent decisions.

Use a variety of primary and secondary data sources to understand your new target customer pool, their motivations and buying behaviour, and your competition.

Consider drawing on media subscriber lists and email opportunities to survey a relevant group. Also, tap into services like the UKTI OMIS report scheme or Open to Export portal.

2. Unique positioning

Achieving standout in new and competitive markets is critical to creating sustainable business. Again research will help uncover major players and how they position, but it will also highlight un-met customer needs.

Think like an ‘advertiser’ to distill the benefits you offer into easy to understand positioning. Then make this your vocabulary.

Check this is transferable into other markets – making sure brand elements like colour, tone, font, message and images are all culturally acceptable. And test different incarnations of the same material to see which works best.

3. Creating an expert profile

What does it mean to be an expert? You know your industry. You understand the critical issues, challenges and opportunities. You are respected by your peers.

This comes from being active in your sector, providing not only news, but views too. Informing, education and training through a wide variety of channels and content.

Start by using your research of industry watering holes to establish what people like, need, want and value and re-configure how you talk about what you do.

4. Qualified lead nurture

You can bet there will be lots of interest as you enter your new market, but how do you try and focus on the bona fide customers?

Traditionally, targeted direct marketing works best to put the right offers in front of the right people. The advent of online affords the opportunity to put better conversion metrics in place to ascertain who is interested in what and who really is a customer.

Make sure you tap into every type of analytics available – media readership, email click through, website traffic and conversion.

5. Effective selling

Great salespeople need great sales tools. And great sales tools can continue to work even when your salespeople aren’t. This means every piece of collateral (print or digital) needs to be regionally relevant.

The new buzzword ‘transcreation’ is replacing translation – as content is re-developed for different markets rather than simply being translated.

It is important that all sales materials – brochures right through to apps – are  validated by the people using them, so they can refined and work better for and with customers.

6. Digital footprint

It is very easy to get lost in digital marketing. Get the basics right. Have a smart customer focused website that is well signposted, easy to navigate, with some useful content and clear contact information.

Draw on existing communities to help extend your reach – bodies like UKTI and the British Chamber have groups all over the world.

Invest in all the regional URLs you are likely to need to protect your web footprint ( for Spain, for France and so on).

Of course, consideration needs to be given to regionally hosted and local search engine optimised, multi lingual landing pages as well as regional social media. But that is a whole other blog post for another day.

For more visit today to learn more about how you can improve your visibility in specific parts of the world.

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