In a previous installment, we talked about globalizing your brand and its advantages: "a world of opportunities." In this post, we list a number of considerations to be taken into account before opening up to international markets:
- IN ORDER TO GO "ABROAD," FIRST YOU HAVE TO BE WELL ESTABLISHED AT HOME.
You need to have a clear business philosophy: Vision - Mission - Ethics, based on a solid strategy. This involves understanding the brand and knowing the answer to these questions: What are you selling? Beyond the product itself, the point lies in the concept and the consumer’s experience. How do you sell it? Not only are your communication means important, but also the message you are delivering and how it is delivered, in addition to attributes that make you stand out over your local competitors, i.e. the classic SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats).
PLEASE NOTE: After this process has taken place locally in your “home” base, it must be repeated by adapting it to the new target market. PRODUCTS THAT ARE SOLD AT HOME ARE NOT ALWAYS SOLD ABROAD. It is important to give it a global rollover. And here is where a very important step takes place: considering the LANGUAGE. This is why you’ve found this post on our website. Because at weLanguages we understand that the key to a globalization strategy is to speak to the consumer in their own language. At the same time, markets are globalized and personalized. This phenomenon is achieved through new technologies. This is not about automatically going from one language to the other: Being familiar with the distinctive cultural features behind each language is a must.
Explain the reasons WHY you are entering an international market, and turn them into medium to long-term goals.
2.Take into account: macroeconomic variables, legal and judicial frameworks, and how they allow foreign investment in the new market.
Regarding studies on these variables, we have developed several baseline posts, where we constantly refer to the World Bank guide on Doing Business.
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- Run a detailed target-market study for the market you want to enter: consumer habits, media, trends, etc. Currently, there are many technological tools available that can help in case you do not have the resources to carry out your own market survey. Social networks are also a great database.
- Take into account market introduction costs and the advantages of the digital communication age.
- Take into account product distribution (logistics), production needed to meet the demand, and the possibility that more staff may be required. Be prepared to offer customers a full service up to the post-sale: every detail must be taken care of, since the point is for customers to be satisfied so they return and refer.
Regarding these considerations, we are also sharing 5 QUESTIONS BEFORE EMBARKING ON AN INTERNATIONALIZATION PROCESS, posed by Carlos Jimenez, an expert in market research studies.
1. What is the competitive advantage of the company?
What makes you win customers over? Is it your prices or how you sell your product? Or is it the quality? I suggest using Michael Porter’s competitive strategy viewpoint: differentiation, leadership on costs or on high segmentation.
2. How can competitive advantage be taken out of context and applied towardsforeign markets?
This question leads to the decision of which market(s) to address: a single market or multiple markets? I recommend starting out by gaining experience with a single market.
3. Does my company really know those markets?
4.How much is the company willing to invest in such a process?
It may be that the company is not well known in those destination markets, that is why it is important to invest in marketing and advertisement, including social media. Then, defining the financial plan for the company regarding this process is key: private funds, debt, partnership with third parties, etc.
5. Should I collaborate with local entrepreneurs?
Which internationalization model should the company adopt? Should exports be done through a target-market distributor? Or should a branch be set up with a local partner? The company’s best interests and needs will lead to the right answer.