So, when it’s decided that you want to do business somewhere in the other part of the world, everybody would start saying – I can’t help you, since I don’t know anyone there or have no marketing strategies for there. But what will you do then. How will you go ahead with the entrepreneurial instinct inside you that just arose. Would you just let it burn off? I’ll take this up later. First, think about this. Have you ever noticed unemployed people saying “I will take any job” but just with this information you won’t be able to think anything about it. But, if he says that I am an electric engineer and I want work for a fortune 500 company like IBM. Hearing IBM all of a sudden, you would realize you probably know someone at IBM and you can put him in touch with that concerned person. Here, in this case you were able to help the person because he became very specific.
Here is the answer of the question I had left unanswered. Always be specific, even if anybody seeks help form you then specifically ask about the areas in which he/she needs your help like in the above case the engineer did and also vice versa. Always have a pertinent, specific, to the point answer. This is the most important part to be kept in your mind while framing a international networking and marketing strategy and organization’s marketing strategies.
Deploy Social Media Extensively In Your Marketing Strategies
Your marketing strategies may consist of A) List of companies B) List of decision makers and many such things. What is most important here is, you should be able to find a common means of communication between you and the other person because this would make things a lot easier for you and your marketing plan. Social media, for instance is great for this, specially “Linked-in”. Linked-in helps you know the professional profile of the person really well. On the other hand, you also have sites like Facebook, Twitter where you can have informal communication with the person as well. Thus, social media can help a lot in knowing the person.
Besides these, you can always Google the person, send mail to the person, send message to the person or even call the person say through Skype or VOIP. In short, this would enable you with all the information you wanted to always know. Sometimes companies invest heavily in their internet marketing, internet advertising strategies, online marketing or online marketing tactics to be present actively across all the social media forums to promote reverse/pull marketing strategies.
Creating Local Partner Model As One Of Your Key Marketing Strategies
Now, you know about the customer well, say through some of the social media means, but one question that still remains unanswered in your marketing strategies is – how to reach out to the customer? Answer is simple, instead of you yourself trying to reach out to the customer, you look for a liaising partner in between. You may try to find out a guy who has a good network and can help you to reach out to your customers. This is same as this situation, say I am selling a product for an education institution, so I have 2 options with me; either I can go to each institute on my own or else I can sell to the “X” guy who sells to these institutes. I would approach “X” and ask him whether he would like to sell my services as well, and will offer him good commission. These Intermediaries are generally known as Local Partners.
Thus knowing local partners and establishing connect with them in the specific region you wish to go would help you in 2 ways; first it would give you a good understanding of the region, second it will obviously help you in your business expansion. Apart from all this, one thing that is irreplaceable is you yourself. Before doing any kind of business in the new country, you first need to go there, meet people, get acquainted with their culture etc. Also, sometimes in some cultures people prefer to see you face-to-face before they actually do any kind of business with you. In this case, a local partnering model proves to be very helpful creating a win-win situation for both.
I will like to give you a small tip which someone had given me sometime back and it is a brilliant one. When one of my closest friend who had never been to Singapore before, landed at the airport he just called up the top 10 hotels of Singapore saying that he is a sales trainer by profession, and he will do sales training of their sales staff in the evening for free, if they could allow him to stay for two weeks in their hotel. Isn’t is something very creative and interesting to hear. I guess it’s certainly is. And guess what, his communication with those 10 hotels made him win a complimentary room in all those 10 hotels for 2 weeks. Since he had a pool of choices, he could choose the best among them.
But aren’t you thinking how was he able to get a free accommodation? All this happened because he asked himself a question “How can I go to Singapore on a budget?” And while thinking for an answer to this question he realized he could use his training capabilities in order to stay in a hotel. So, aren’t you asking this question to yourself – how can you make it happen instead of just relying on the normal belief that you cannot afford it since it’s too far or since you don’t know anybody there.
My same Singapore friend just called the place, offered his services and was there for good 2 weeks, and he just networked, networked and networked, probably didn’t get too much out of it in the first time. But he did the same thing again two months later and now Singapore has become one of the hub for his business operations. And now he is doing the same with Indonesia, Malaysia, China and other countries around Singapore. Now, he is even developing a hub in Dubai as well. Thus, the bottom line is “You have to go there, no matter how far is it, whether you know somebody there or not and that is the only marketing strategy one can deploy at that point in time”.
Just couple of quick tips on marketing strategies – as takeaways to expand your business internationally:
1. Give yourself a local phone number.
2. Get a local virtual office address.
They will facilitate your liaising with a local partner and will give a boost to your newly set business in the new country.
Here’s another very simple idea, just to show that you have an international mindset, add ‘+’ in front of telephone number, as all international numbers have. Start with a ‘+’ in front of the telephone number, then add the country code. This will help your local partners to know that you have an international mindset in type of marketing strategies you do and you can think on their lines as well.
Re-Validate Your Marketing Material And Marketing Strategies
Last tip, have a look at the marketing material created by your senior management or public relations cell, check if your marketing strategies cater to the international audience or does it only use lot of local lingos that might not be understood by even an English speaking people in the foreign country. This kind of research and planning is important because if they cannot understand your marketing material then whole idea behind creating that material and allocating huge finances towards them goes completely in vain.
Hence, all these points and marketing strategies are needed to be kept in mind in order to inculcate in your business DNA an international mindset.