Illinois Small Business Development Center March 21, 2012
How to best promote products overseas How to better understand international customers How to find and use correct sales channels How to use the best brand promotion vehicles How to do global networking How to use best practices in international sales How to adapt sales message by understanding cultural differences
1. Identify your target market and market size a. Continent i. Consider risk and opportunity b. Country i. Gather information from country Chambers of Commerce ii. Attend events sponsored by Chambers of Commerce; some will be general, some by industry c. Areas within country/Regions i. Regions often have business development offices ii. Take into consideration proximity to customers (Lean Thinking)
2. Consider a “pilot” (e.g. IKEA)3. Determine support sources (Federal, State, City). Sometimes export tours are offered.4. Inform yourself about legalities of bringing your product into the global market. Tariffs? Other stumbling blocks?5. Other sources of information a. Determine what U.S. competitors are doing b. Research competitors in target markets (national companies) c. Industry associations/connections
1. Learn culture as related to your products a. Readiness/openness to new things i. Where will your product be accepted? (e.g. Michigan Asparagus Growers) ii. Perception of American products in your industry (e.g. flooring) iii. Open or closed market
2. Learn the culture of business a. How do they sell within their markets? What are the risks of adapting? (e.g. same price country- wide drives customer service—washing machines, SAP, etc.)
b. What are the legal differences? Employment law? (e.g. “Hire and Fire” is a very American concept.) How does the U.S. law compare to other countries’ business practices?c. Resources i. business schools (especially those with specialties in International Business, e.g. Michigan State); ii. language institutions--such as the Goethe Institut--sometimes have specific courses about business culture iii. find business people from that market who aren’t in your industry iv. “reverse engineering” – what difficulties did a company from your target market have when entering the US culture, regardless of industry?
d. Look at values—do the business values mesh with yours? Consider countries with similar values (e.g. Canada)3. Learn the culture of the country a. Resources i. meet people from your target countries ii. Libraries iii. Universities or schools – places where they teach the culture of your target countries.
Evaluate how you want to enter the global market.Different levels of risk are associated with each option:1. Purchase an entity in a foreign market2. Partner with a company in the foreign market3. Export your product and use distributors4. Evaluate assembly there5. Manufacture in the target company, either using your own facility or having manufacturing done through someone else (distributed by…)
1. Check your brand name in other languages!2. Explore whether there are novel channels we don’t have or use here3. Determine if an advertising agency can give you the best insight for your initial approach a. Mass market What will reach the masses in that market? b. Business to business (B2B) i. Relationships and introductions – can “buy” them by hiring nationals who have established relationships for business development and proven track records. ii. Talk to end customers about what service levels they require. The voice of the customer (VOC) is essential.
c. Specialized market Trade shows, demonstrations, recommendations Trade shows will probably give you the most “hands-on” information for the least money. Look at international industry shows—who from your target market is attending? (e.g. Widget International Show) Are there shows at the national level in your target markets? (e.g. Widget Show of New Zealand) Identify related industry leaders and talk to them