In recent weeks there has been an increased focus on export opportunities for South Australian business operators. This is exciting as exports certainly present significant opportunities for many of our clients to grow their sales and profits.
Before you jump on the next Export Market Mission or visit an industry Trade Show I ask that you consider five keys that will help you prepare a powerful Export Plan.
By the way, both Export Market Missions and Trade Shows are very useful ways of gaining market intelligence and can be a very smart investment.
Taking a structured approach to your export preparation and planning can help you extract even more value from your investment in activities such as Export Market Missions, Trade Shows and other export promotions.
5 Keys to your Export Marketing
The following are five key planning and decision-making areas to get right before you progress too far down the export launch and marketing track:
1. Export Market Research and Selection
An area I find is really overlooked is that of up-front export market research and information collection. In my opinion the decision regarding which export market you actually launch in the first place is a very significant decision.
I often find that the critical decision of export market selection is based on initial contacts or sales enquiries and is rarely the outcome of a well-informed evaluation process.
2. Export Market Brand Strategy
There is no question that all of your strategic marketing planning and decision-making areas need to be re-visited for each export market that you enter. This does not always mean that the decisions and outcomes will be dramatically different (although often they are) but they really do need to be reviewed before you plough too far into a new market.
When I talk brand strategy I am referring to the decisions associated with:
- Specific market segments to target in your new export market
- Desired brand positioning within your new export market
- All of the other brand specific planning and decision making areas that we have covered in the 2014 Baker Marketing Summer School
3. Export Market Pricing and Trading Terms
Your pricing expectations and trading terms from new export markets are both very critical success factor for your exporting profitability.
For this reason they must be considered up front. Your initial market research and information collection should uncover the answers to important questions such as:
- Regular and promotional price points
- Specific trading terms and margin structures
- Overall profitability
4. Export Sales and Distribution Strategies
Determining your ‘Route to Market’ is also a critical factor in your export marketing success. Plans and decisions regarding your sales and distribution strategies will impact on your pricing and overall profitability. For these reasons they must be defined up front rather than decided ‘on-the-run’ after you have invested in launching in your selected export market.
Included in this area are important decisions such as:
- Distributors versus brokers?
- Which retail channels?
- Other physical distribution considerations
5. Export Market Promotions Program
Giving thought to how you will actually support your brand within the new export market post launch is also a very important consideration up front.
Too many business operators have the belief that the hard work is over when they announce their new distribution arrangements. Experienced export marketers know that this is actually when the real work gets started. Important activities to consider in this area include:
- Supporting your channel partners
- Building your brand in the new export marketplace
Other Exporting Considerations
Remember that I am only talking about Export MARKETING in the above five points. There are plenty of other areas of your export operations, physical distribution and logistics to get right.
Your Export Marketing Plan
Your Export Marketing Plan document will have more headings than the five above and will be a more complex exercise. I strongly recommend that you complete at least a top-line Export Marketing Plan before investing significant time and resources into your export activity.
However, the five planning and decision-making areas summarised above are a very good start for you to consider before you jump on a plan or start spending time and money on export activities.
Over the next few weeks I will expand on the five key areas above to provide you with more help in generating profitable sales and growth from your export activities.