Achieving Sustainable Export Growth Through Digital Marketing
Want to sell your goods and services to buyers in some far-away country? Export marketing is your key to gaining a foothold in foreign locales. Still, it isn’t just about finding the appropriately sized shipping containers or translating your ad copy into a new language. You must become well-versed in the cyber landscape and understand your target cultures and countries. Here’s why adopting a digital-first strategy could help you optimise your growth potential.
Export Marketing Explained
Export marketing is like everyday marketing but far more significant in scope. Effective domestic commerce plans typically involve user research, product design, pricing, branding, promotion, and feedback gathering, to name a few of the steps. When you go international, you’ve got to do all those things and conduct a thorough cultural analysis.
The Value of Getting to Know Someone
Why is it so vital to understand the audiences you’re marketing to? For one, it helps you keep your brand from becoming a pariah, like when a company sells Halal meat intended for Muslims to Sikhs – they aren’t allowed to consume it. Or when an international sports manufacturer names its latest pair of sneakers after a weapon of genocide used in Nazi Germany.
At best, the public will laugh off such blunders. At worst, they’ll view your brand as an inconsiderate enterprise unworthy of their time and money. News flash – Neither option is optimal.
The Importance of Studying the Problem Before Diving In
While it’s true that cultural considerations are also relevant in increasingly diverse domestic markets such as Australia, export marketing also includes other potential pitfalls. For instance, you’ll face tougher regulatory burdens, take on far greater logistical workloads, and possibly need to worry about finding regional partners that can take action on your behalf.
Full-on international marketing also tends to involve larger quantities: The profit potential is more significant, but so are the possible risks. From exchanging currencies to paying the proper taxes and tariffs – including those imposed by your home nation – export marketing is a problem with far more dimensionality than merely finding a local retailer willing to stock your items. It’s vital to lay the appropriate groundwork by exploring the issue in depth.
Why Digital Marketing Is Critical in the Global Arena
Luckily, you no longer have to do business in the pre-web dark ages. The internet can solve many of these problems by keeping you way better informed than you’d be otherwise.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you can simply Google “selling my product in China” and become an instant expert – such a simplistic approach might even leave you worse off. Instead, put the internet to work by using it as a strategic testbed that helps you evaluate and refine your marketing plan.
Digital Marketing Research in Practice
Google and social media sites like Facebook afford you much granularity when choosing your target audiences. If you plan to sell a new product in Kenya, you might show ads to Kenyan ex-pats in your area first to see how they respond. Such a maneuver could also help you make inroads into overseas markets if those individuals shared your content with their friends and relatives back home.
Digital marketing also makes it possible to conduct valuable direct research, although not as you might expect. Since connectedness is the name of the game online, you can easily glimpse a preview of what you’ll be up against once you begin marketing elsewhere. Simply find an ad agency capable of setting up a spoof account for an imaginary test consumer in a different locale and observe what kinds of targeted ad content they receive. Gauging the competition is just as essential with international marketing, and putting yourself in the target user’s shoes makes it easier to grasp the greater context.
Using Digital Marketing to Limit Risk and Loss
Having a solid digital strategy makes it easier to minimise loss. Service-level agreements between you and your international partners can employ technologies like smart contracts to self-correct for currency exchange rate fluctuations. Business tools that let you sign documents digitally give you more leeway to broker deals without getting tripped up by the red tape. You can even find digitally connected shippers to provide complete tracking services and thus present yourself as a more reliable supplier.
Sustainable growth depends on risk and loss minimisation, and e-commerce offers an ideal way to expand without assuming all burdens alone. Curious whether your seemingly promising market research was rigorous enough to reflect reality? Use Amazon or another international distributor to sell a few lots online and find out where user pain points lie. Are you unsure if your goods or services are as culturally sensitive as you thought? Becoming a third-party seller on a consumer and B2B site like Alibaba or eBay could be an excellent way to experiment with larger lots that let you generate a broader pool of relevant test data.
Digital marketing makes it easy to integrate research, strategy, and refinement into your product sales lifecycle. You can experiment with new ideas in a low-risk environment at any stage until you’ve discovered a viable path forward. While there’s no avoiding some loss, doing things incrementally makes it easier to overcome temporary setbacks, which is almost impossible if you jump in headfirst.
Key Takeaways for Using International Marketing to Grow Your Business
Export marketing has the potential to help your business thrive, provided that you leverage it wisely:
· Respect the fact that you’re in new territory with novel considerations and cultural nuances. If you’re unsure about something, ask an ex-pat to join your team and help you craft a better strategy.
· Get a feel for the hurdles ahead by watching other companies and offerings in your niche. Were they instant successes (unlikely), or is there something to be learned from their mistakes?
· Take it slow, gather good data, and scale sustainably. Doing business overseas tends to be costlier, so remember not to bite off more than you can chew.
· Document your results rigorously using quantifiable metrics, such as a KPI. If you plan on duplicating your successes – and not repeating the failures – you’ll need a track record that keeps you informed and honest.
November 14, 2023
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