Weak Pound Signals Export Opportunities
If one thing is certain in this time of post-Brexit uncertainty, it’s that the Great British Pound is down the pan and looks like it might stay there for a while.
Although this isn’t great news if you’re taking your family of 4 on holiday abroad, it is great news if you have something to sell overseas. With the Pound so weak, now is the time to try and entice foreign customers through export.
Export marketing will be crucial to your prospects – however it is key to always remember “cultural differences” in the back of your mind when putting together a strategy and approach.
What is the norm, what is comfortable, what you have always done, might not necessarily work in a new, foreign market.
Cultural dissonance is very common for those who believe it’s business as usual when working globally. That’s why you need a culture-savvy marketing plan. As well as capturing goals, milestones, key tasks, budgets and KPIs it should always be flexible and adaptable to new audiences.
For those looking to take the plunge, here’s some quick-fire tips on incorporating cultural awareness into your thinking:
1. Research, research, research. Before diving into any export market, whether a country or a region, do your research, and do it gooood. You must understand more than who you can sell to – you need to understand the country, the people, their habits, your sector’s place in the wider marketplace, potential obstacles and even if there is potential for ROI. Look online but also approach export support organisations.
2. Learn from your competition. If you plan to sell into another country, the easiest way to understand the culture of the sector you are entering is to watch and learn from local competitors. Carry out a SWOT analysis of how they market themselves, their service or product.
3. Examine cultural differences. The importance of cultural differences cannot be underestimated. Culture impacts people's buying habits, how they respond to marketing messages, colours, website pages, how your product/service might be used and even how your company sounds in their language! Go over every aspect of your offering and get local input to avoid banana-skins.
4. Speak the lingo. People buy out of trust and most people trust something sold to them in their language. You have to invest in good quality translation and localization to ensure your messages are culturally on-point. This applies to everything from emails to leaflets to adverts to PPC campaigns.
5. Alternative marketing channels. Not everyone markets the same products in the same way. One country may rely on search engines to sell a product whereas another uses printed catalogues. Find out what the local marketing channels are you need to be using.
6. Get sales inline. If you are going to shout about something to sell, make sure the people doing the selling have the skills to convert. Can they deal with emails? Phone calls? How are they with foreign accents? Can they even take payments from abroad?
7. Face time. Forget virtual communication via apps; if you want to win business in some parts of the word it’s all about face time. Building relationships and developing trust are key means of securing business in much of the world and this can only be done face-to-face. So get ready for lots of flights!
The heart of successful export marketing is in wanting people to buy what you have to sell – however, you can’t do this if you don’t understand what it is that makes those people tick. This is why cultural awareness is so crucial.