Fri 27 Jul 2007
Managing International Marketing
As a small business owner, there is no reason why you should limit yourself to just marketing your products domestically. The advent of the Internet has made it possible for just about all businesses to go global.
If you are considering making a foray into the international market, before you so much as take the first step, make sure you do your research. The markets outside the U.S. are very different from what you may be used to; it is very easy to make fatal mistakes in an unfamiliar market, on unfamiliar turf.
Remember that social, culture, and religious nuances of the country you are targeting may affect your business. International demographics are bound to be different from what you are used to in the domestic market. In addition, you should try to find out the exact size of your target market and be able to conduct effective market segmentation and positioning for your brand and products.
You need to develop media strategies for consumer marketing as well as business-to-business marketing, and come up with an affordable plan. In addition, you will have to come up with affordable channels of distribution to get your product to where you want it to go. Copyright and trademark laws may be different (even nonexistent) in the foreign market that you are targeting, so that you may have to examine your products and services to decide if marketing in the international market will be profitable.
Resources in the international market of your interest may be either plentiful or scarce. The ability to secure enforceable contracts with your customers, as well as your vendors and distributors, may be limited by the different laws in the foreign market. There may be differences to be considered in the areas of staffing, training, and labor laws; there are also local customs and cultural idiosyncrasies that have to be learned and observed in international business, so as not to offend the people you deal with.
Managing international marketing isn't easy, but it can be done. Do your research, and you will be well on your way!