A lot of executives and business owners ask us what is important to consider when developing a marketing and sales strategy to enter a new market. So, I decided to share some relevant tips regarding the necessary marketing and sales planning that you should be concerned about before investing time and money in a challenging new market.
If you haven’t been putting much thought into your marketing plan, then it’s time that you give your start-up a boost with the following tips.
- Research before spending a lot of money
It sounds like common sense but, believe it or not, most companies do very little (or none) market research before investing a lot of money in a new market.
Market research must be the initial step for any new business effort in a new market. Hire a reliable research institute that can really go deep into the fundamental aspects of the business environment, the competitors, the local rules, the consumers’ behavior and the positioning of your brand and your product or service in the new market.
The knowledge you’ll gain and the time and money you will save after the market research compared to a trial-and-error approach is priceless.
During the market research phase, try to identify the strategic partnerships that you really need to develop and beware of some of the “online-famous” companies that are just traps for new entrants.
- Make sure to have good local people onboard
Another common mistake we usually see in the companies that have just started in a new market is that the headquarters send their best HQ people. That’s not a problem at all, as excellent people from the HQ can definitely help in conveying the corporate culture and the operational knowhow of the business. However, it’s also important to have local people who know the other side of the coin.
When I mean good local, I mean people that have enough long-term connections to solve everyday problems easily and can also add strategic value to the decision making needs of the start-up.
- What you know in your home country may not be too valuable in a new market
I know you know your business like nobody else does. And me as well as everyone else respect you for that. But everything you know about your business in your home country may not add too much value in a new market.
Thus, be ready to be open-minded and become a good listener as you disembark in a new market. Many times, we meet executives who have built their whole marketing and sales plans based on assumptions that made sense in their home country and, only after the start-up was already running in the new market, they realized that most of those assumptions were wrong and they had to deal with expensive correction plans, spending money and time.
- Hire a marketing agency that understands your own culture and the local culture
When it comes to developing a good and solid marketing plan, it is important to count on people that know what your brand strategy and your unique selling proposition mean in your home country and how this can be adapted or adjusted to the new market so that potential consumer segments will understand, try and adopt your product or service.
The marketing communication styles also vary a lot from country to country. It is not uncommon for us at NeoLive Marketing agency in Miami to receive communication materials from agencies based in New York or London with key visuals showing plenty of blonde people skiing in beautiful winter resorts and that communication will be used as trade marketing point-of-sale materials in tropical countries like Mexico, Dominican Republic, Colombia and Brazil.
So make sure to choose a marketing agency that not only speaks your language but also understands the local culture of the markets it intends to develop in.
- Consider having commercial partners that are small but professional and ambitious enough to care about your business
A while ago one of our clients was happy for having closed a deal with a large distributor in Florida. On the other hand he wasn’t so happy because he only had found small distributors in Arizona, Georgia and Central America. After a few months, we talked again and, guess what, the large distributor from Florida wasn’t buying as much as he expected while the smaller distributors were buying much more than the forecast.
That’s a common case of making your business be relevant and mean something to someone. Obviously, the large distributors or commercial partners tend to focus on the accounts that represent more volume and they also have what the economists call monopsony power, and you definitely should avoid that. So, try to find that company full of energetic and professional people that are starting and will do whatever it takes to leverage their – and consequently your – sales.
Make sure to come back next week for other marketing tips on how you can improve your marketing strategy.
Next Post: What is monopsony power? How it can affect your business.
Antonio Miranda is the Managing Director of NeoLive Marketing in Miami. NeoLive Marketing is a strategic marketing agency with offices in Miami, Sao Paulo, Curitiba and Porto Alegre and is specialized in branding, corporate events, trade marketing, digital marketing, proprietary events and promotions.