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Is Your Business Export Ready?

 

Are you ready to take your products or services offshore and profitably grow your business in new markets?

If you are new or relatively new to export marketing, then you will need an export marketing agency to guide you through the steps. There is a specific series of events and activities that you will need to take to achieve success.

At Baker Marketing, we have the experience and expertise to help you manage the risks associated with export marketing and reap the potential benefits.
As an export marketing agency, we do this by helping our clients to both plan for export and then execute their export marketing plans.

By highlighting the key steps required for a strategic approach to export, you will hopefully gain a better understanding of what is involved.

 

Read on for Baker Marketing’s Key Steps to becoming Export Ready

 

Export Marketing Plans

 

In preparing for export, marketing plans tend to evolve in stages as the information gathering, and decision-making process continues to take place.

 

Stage One – Laying the Foundations for Export

 

The first stage of export marketing planning involves laying the foundations with a clear understanding that the export component of your business should be considered a separate business unit. A business able to stand on its own two feet and not feed off your successful domestic business.

As such, there must be a clearly defined set of objectives for export from a financial perspective. Including sales and profit expectations over the long term and the cash flow implications.

The foundational planning stage also involves export market research where different markets are assessed against criteria such as existing demand, trends and competition.

For first time exporters, preference is usually given to markets nearest to home or countries with similar cultures and language. Free trade agreements, export market development grants and other economic and political factors must also be taken into account.

 

Stage Two – Market Entry Planning

 

Stage Two of the export marketing planning process, market entry planning, involves most of the work and relies on input from the foundational stage.

The most critical decision to make in the market entry planning phase involves which country or countries to target for export.

This decision is usually made by assessing the degree of best fit when all things are considered including risk.

Another critical decision to be made, particularly where a business domestically offers a portfolio of products and services, is which one (s) to focus on for export.

Again, the research conducted in stage one should help support this decision. This is a key decision as it will most affect much of the remaining export planning work. It may require some further research, particularly where food is concerned as food ingredient and packaging regulations can vary significantly from country to country.

Sales channel selection is another key decision regarding how best to get your product into the hands of the desired end user.

The more sales partners involved in the process, such as importers, wholesalers and retailers, the more margin that has to be shared. Which in turn impacts on both retail price and the profit left for you.

What role, if any will e-commerce have to play in your export marketing plans?
Freight, handling, insurance and import taxes need costing to determine the landed unit cost of your product. Once this is established, pricing strategies can be developed.

 

Stage Three – Export Marketing Support Program

 

The final component of the export marketing planning process involves the ongoing, in market support program you propose to build your brand overseas.

Your export marketing support program is vital for two main reasons:
Firstly, its primary purpose is to define the activities that will help build awareness of and desire for your product at various touch points, both online and offline.

Secondly, your prospective export sales partners will be very interested in how you propose to support their efforts concerning trade sell in and consumer off-take.

The strategic decisions made in stage two, justified by findings in stage one, leading to your export marketing support program, will be summarised in the form of an export marketing plan.

This plan, along with your export company profile are the two most important documents to assist you in the next critical step of the export marketing process, sales partner selection.

Export Sales Partner Selection

 

Selecting the right sales partners for export is critical for success as the wrong decisions here can and do lead to heartaches, headaches, wasted time, money and effort, lost opportunity and the potential for adverse impact on your existing business.

The process begins with the drawing up of a short list of potential sales partners that may include sales agents, importers, distributors, wholesalers or retailers, depending on your plan for market entry.

The shortlist will be based on a matching process, where your needs are matched to the strengths of the potential sales partner. Research is required here that can take different forms including desktop research, talking to existing Australian exporters and other sources including Austrade and international trade groups.

Arranging meetings, usually face to face, followed by well-rehearsed presentations, negotiations, further follow up, hopefully, results in the appointment of a suitable sales partner.

Then it becomes a matter of finalising sales reporting systems, communication procedures, logistical details and adding any additional activity into the export marketing activity calendar.

From there, it becomes a matter of building the relationship with your sales partners and their customers and managing the process to ensure motivational levels are maintained and targets met.

Export Marketing Logistics

 

The logistics involved in exporting goods in most part bureaucratic involving accurate documentation, but there are some more practical aspects.

It’s important to seek the services of a quality freight forwarder, experienced in dealing with both the country of destination and the category of goods concerned (e.g. frozen, perishable, fragile etc.).

A good freight forwarder will advise on things like the best shipping routes to take and how best to package and protect your product as well as the required documentation processes.

Selecting the right person within your organisation to be the primary person responsible for export logistics is important. When it comes to export the devil is in the detail, so the chosen person needs to be very detail and process minded.

Whoever is responsible for export logistics will need the help of a set of standard operating procedures dealing with all aspects of the export logistics process.

 

Export Market Development Grants

 

It’s important for Australian businesses who are serious about export to be aware of the opportunities for reimbursement of export-related expenditure by the Australian Government’s trade agency, Austrade.

Austrade, through its marketing development grants EMDG program, provides the opportunity for Australian exporters to receive a 50% reimbursement of eligible expenditure on export marketing activities. The reimbursement is given on all marketing expenditure that relate to the promotion of goods and services in most overseas markets.

Therefore, it’s important to keep good records of what you spend on what activities at what times and how those expenses are paid.

As you would expect, the Australian Government cannot hand over money for claimed export marketing expenditure without adequate evidence.

Generally, the information required when applying for an EMDG is no different than what is required for tax records.

For more information about how Baker Marketing helps support small businesses with all aspects of export marketing including export market development grant applications, please click here

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