How To Market Your Business Globally
Neil Bromage has run his own small business and is a freelance business writer working on a range of newspapers including The Times, Sunday Times, Telegraph and Financial Mail on Sunday. This book is based on a wide range of columns and Q&As written and answered by Neil for Business Link over a number of years. He is based near Preston, Lancs.
Marketing is difficult enough at home, but in international markets it’s much more complex. You may need to account for diverse cultures, economies, and laws. This will involve an analysis of the financial risk, economic situation, import regulations (such as tariffs, quotas and restrictions) and other factors that could affect successful market entry.
There is no guarantee that your product or service will be acceptable in another country without some modifications – from packaging to translation of text into another language. It would be foolish to assume that language barriers can be overcome by simply translating your advertising material into the home language.
There may also be legal, social, cultural and other barriers to overcome. Equally, images of men and women that are acceptable across Europe could be seen as deeply offensive in many Middle Eastern countries. And pay attention to brand names – something that sounds completely innocent in English might be offensive or ridiculous in another language.
Having decided that you want to enter an overseas market, there are a number of options available for getting your product or service to the customer.
- 1.Set up your own manufacturing facility in the host country. This is the most expensive and riskiest but some of this can be offset by looking at alternatives such as licensing, franchising or contract manufacture.
- 2.Manufacture the product at home and use overseas agents or distributors to sell it into local markets. Distribution rights are usually granted exclusively to one company. However, the task of finding suitable overseas agents and distributors for specific products can be difficult.
- 3.For smaller businesses, a more manageable short-term strategy is to use export houses. These offer the advantage of being based in your home country and therefore, easier to locate, and administration and logistics are reduced to a minimum.
Finally, it is worth noting that companies who have a presence on the Internet will automatically have access to international markets.