Even though a global economy seems to suggest that there is plenty of business to go around, without the right strategy and plan for expansion, growth efforts can fall short. Whether on a local front or an international scene, the marketing department is primarily responsible for conducting the research that shows the potential for expansion. In addition to selecting the right market or demographic, the marketing team also has the job of developing a plan to attract customers. When it comes to global expansion, what has worked in the past or at the local level won’t be enough to sustain your company’s development and growth. There are some common roadblocks that tend to get in the way of a company’s global success.
Failing to Identify a Country of Interest
The idea of global expansion is a broad categorization of your business growth plan, but being too vague in your area of exploration leads to chaos and disappointment. Oversimplifying your company direction as a shift in focus to Asia or to explore growth opportunities in Europe is a problem. There are many countries in Asia and in Europe, each with different cultures, markets, needs, restrictions, and regulatory concerns. Customers also tend to identify themselves on a national level, choosing to consider themselves German, English, or French rather than European. Define a more specific geographic market for your growth, as this will create more distinct revenue possibilities and lead generation. You will also be able to have more accurate market-based research guiding the direction of the company. Product availability in a specific region, the local consumer needs, the problems and solutions currently in place, and the size of the market are concerns that can only be addressed through identifying a specific country of interest and knowing the local competition already in place.
Ignoring the Findings of Internal Data
Global marketing is more complex and specialized that what your company might be currently attempting in your home country. There is a wealth of data that can point to what areas or markets are best for investing. Prime areas of consideration include how much opportunity is estimated to be available in the market, how easy it will be to do business in the market, and determining how much success your company has already experienced in the market. External data sources can provide a fair amount of information concerning the market needs, but the internal assessment places the focus of opportunity or demise on your company. Third-party data sources aren’t familiar with the unique value your product or service might hold, nor does it focus on the consumers who your brand typically attracts. Using internal data to prioritize global marketing decisions keep the long-term goals in alignment with the company brand that has already seen some success.
Refusing to Adapt
Western schools of thought tend to reject the ideas that foreign countries and cultures require a special type of marketing or salesmanship in order to close a deal. You need to pursue sales and marketing in a manner that reflects the values and ideals of the consumers you are seeking to connect with. As the global mogul SjamsulNursalim knows, the path to global success adapts to the country and field you are trying to reach. It doesn’t matter if you sell tires, as Nursalim does, or paper products. The cultural impact of your operating style clashing against what the local traditions and values have established can turn a market against you. Rely on local input or speak with an immigrant from a country to learn what the culture values the most. Adapt your presentation or position to be compatible with their desires and comfort levels. As the market changes or shifts, your marketing plan will also need to follow suit. Some channels of marketing, such as social media, might be the most cost-efficient for your company, but if a culture places value and trust in an interpersonal relationship, you might have to do your advertising old-school through word-of-mouth and referrals.
Failing to Alter the Product
Even if the company’s idea of expansion extends beyond just one country in Europe or Asia, you cannot try your hand at a product-market fit that takes into account the other potential areas of operations. Too often companies will try out their products in different markets without considering how different the customers will be from one market to the next. Features that might be life-changing and valuable to one set of consumers might have very little use for others. Most companies that are looking to expand overseas have developed advanced products for use within the United States, but these advancements are of little consequence to global markets that haven’t achieved such tech no-how and comfort. It is best to start out with a basic version of your product as a manageable introduction to the market. You can always improve your line when the time is right.
Being able to expand your business to a global market can be highly beneficial to your company. Be sure your data is in order and your strategy is in place if you want to succeed.