International Marketing in the Real World
by Andrew Dugdale
Having taken my company from 100% UK revenue in 2008 to over 90% Export sales across more than fifty countries worldwide last year (2015), I can speak with some authority about the benefits and pitfalls of International Marketing, especially as a UK based SME.
Let me start by saying that the best marketing theory in the world doesn’t make up for a lack of experience and that in support of this effort I cannot praise highly enough the work and support of UKTI.
If you are going to export, start by getting them on-board. They bring the missing pieces of the jigsaw – local knowledge of target market, local experience in market, local people, and a wonderful research team who can shortcut weeks of work for a very small fee.
Having UKTI on board however, doesn’t excuse you from doing the marketing basics. Start with simple things like SWOT’s. Yes I hear you say – not that SWOT thing again! I know, but, it sure helps if you apply yourself. What a SWOT does is highlights what you don’t know – the things that are most likely to ‘trip you up’. These are the gaps you can ask UKTI to help you fill.
Also, produce a ‘basic’ Directional Policy Matrix on your target market, to help you identify the most likely customers to target for rapid market entry. Not quite segmentation, but enough to get you ‘out there’ mixing it with people who are most likely to have an interest in your offering – and with your competitive knowledge from your SWOT, you’ll know exactly who you’re up against and, how to win!
So, in summary, do the basic marketing homework, but get the experts at UKTI in real early in your planning cycle – it can save you a LOT of heartache. Take it from someone who did just that – and make exporting work for you. If you are attending the International Festival for Business 2016 – then you need look no further for all this assistance than the principle sponsor – UKTI. Happy Exporting!
To register for specialist advice from UKTI or to submit a business request for advice on overseas market advice, sign up to the International Festival for Business Club.
Andrew Dugdale (Chartered Marketer and Fellow of The Chartered Institute of Marketing) is founder and President of SalesAssessment.com Ltd; and founder and Director of Sales Skills Audit Ltd who operate in more than 50 countries and in 14 languages.