Just because you decide to expand your business by entering foreign markets does not mean you will automatically have buyers lining up in droves to order your products. It’s a nice image, but it’s merely a fantasy at this point. To turn it into reality, you’ll first need a good export marketing plan to begin your efforts.
So what does your plan need to include? Here are some elements which must be accounted for:
1. Identifying the right potential foreign market.
If you’re a US-based business, you can’t just decide to export your products to a country like Japan. How do you know that the buyers in Japan will even be interested in your product? Are there laws or trade agreement rules which prevent or limit your expansion to Japan? You have to know these things. This is the first step you need to take, and you can only identify the right target market through proper market research.
2. Formulating the proper export marketing strategies.
These strategies must address issues such as market entry, positioning, and proper pricing. How do you categorize your brand and your product in the minds of your potential buyers? What price should you charge? With the right strategies, you can provide more accurate answers to these questions.
3. Creating your marketing communication tools.
These tools include your brochures, product catalogues, sales letters, and perhaps even a new website. For example, if you are a US-based website and you plan to expand to Japan then perhaps you need different tools that feature the Japanese language instead of just plain American English. Even marketing to another English-speaking country may need some revision in your brochures and sales letters. For example, you may have to use different words and use a different tone when you try marketing your products in England.
4. Promoting your brand and your products.
Do you invest in local TV spots, or perhaps reserve a whole page in a popular newspaper for an ad? That depends on what your market research tells you. But your export marketing plan has to include details on the types of promotions you plan on implementing. How much will it cost, and what kinds of benefits do you expect?
So if you plan on putting up an ad in a local newspaper, then you should know that your potential buyers read newspapers, and you also know which newspapers they read. Then you have to decide on a budget, the size of the ad, on what page the ad will appear, and on what date.
A successful export marketing plan gives you an idea of what you need to do and what you have to know in order to succeed in exporting your products. Without a plan, then you’re more likely to fail.