Over the past decade, the international marketing landscape has changed dramatically. The last two years, however, have been exceptionally turbulent. Traditional methods of marketing for exports have had to adapt or die in the face of global pandemics and unforeseen geopolitical tensions. In the face of these disruptions, international marketing personnel have had to look at innovative ways of entering international markets, reaching foreign customers, and effectively engaging in international trade. While we would love to say that 2023 looks more predictable than the chaos of the last few years, the new year will undoubtedly come with challenges that require tremendous versatility, particularly for African exporters. This article focuses on possible trends in international trade for 2023 and the construction of your export marketing plan.
Factors that could impact your International Marketing efforts in 2023
1# The continued growth of digital International Marketing
In an increasingly digital world, African exporters need to adapt to the increasing importance of having a professional and suitable international digital presence. Several exporters ditched in-person sales missions, trade fairs and sales meetings during the covid-19 pandemic in favour of website sales, virtual trade fairs and zoom calls. However, while during the pandemic, shifts towards digital marketing as a means of marketing for exports were done out of necessity, several digital mechanisms used for international marketing have continued to grow in relevance in 2022. The importance of international digital marketing for African exporters will continue to grow in 2023.
2# The changing International Trade environment
Currently, the World Trade Organisation predicts a decline in merchandise trade in 2023, fuelled by decreasing import demand in several major markets. In Europe, high energy prices caused by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine continue to put pressure on consumer spending. In the U.S., the monetary policy used to combat high inflation could put pressure on interest-sensitive spending, i.e., consumer spending that requires interest-bearing credit, such as vehicles, homes, investments etc. Finally, China’s strict covid-19 policy and supply chain disruptions continue to impact manufacturing demand. Low manufacturing demand in China has a ripple effect on many developing countries that rely on China as a major importer of key commodities. Low demand in many prominent foreign markets will mean that exporters must adapt their international marketing efforts and budgets accordingly.
3# Climate change and international marketing
There is a considerable and growing movement to address the impacts and causes of climate change among several countries worldwide. However, there is also a growing movement within the consumer segment of these countries to favour products and businesses that demonstrate their commitment to addressing climate change. While the push towards a greener future is not new, many experts predict that in the near future, we will see more significant and radical demands by both governments and consumers to force businesses to abide by climate-friendly practices. Exporters who begin incorporating sustainable and climate-friendly changes within their processes and international marketing will be better suited to capitalise on these changes.
Should you revisit your Export Marketing Plan for 2023?
As discussed in our “international sales and your export marketing plan” article and throughout our international marketing section, any successful international marketing effort relies on a well-thought-out export marketing plan. However, an export marketing plan is not a static document, i.e., it is not a document you complete and put away. An export marketing plan is a working, iterative document that requires constant revisiting, particularly when the international marketing landscape is evolving rapidly. Replicating the essential tasks, processes, and procedures necessary to complete a winning export marketing plan can and should be done as much as possible. For example, regularly research a country’s income, population size, economic sectors, overall international marketing environment and trade statistics.
The essential considerations for your Export Marketing Plan
Remember, your export marketing plan typically has two main parts. The first part involves a strategy to get your business and products export ready, and the second part is an export market development plan. Preparing for the changes predicted in 2023 will give you the edge you need and assist you in pivoting, if necessary, to a more profitable future. For example, a digital presence’s increasing relevance may require you to revisit your budget allocation for international digital marketing. Furthermore, the delayed financial impact of the Covid 19 pandemic and continued global military tensions may need you to reconsider your distribution and pricing strategy.
If you would like a complete introduction to effective international marketing, including how to construct a winning export marketing plan, The TFSA team has collaborated with the International Trade Institute of Southern Africa to create a free online module. The current international marketing module will outline key considerations when constructing and adapting your export marketing plan. Click here to sign up.
How the TFSA School of Export can help African Exporters
Throughout the last 18 months, the TFSA School of Export team has received tremendous validation that African exporters are benefiting from the export assistance we provide. Our modules on Incoterms®, Trade Finance, Export Administration, Customs and International Law have equipped countless African exporters with the necessary knowledge to succeed. However, we have also identified essential areas that could significantly impact the success of exports from the region—one of which is international marketing for African exporters. Thus, the TFSA team is developing two additional modules focused on marketing for exports to complement our existing offering. Ultimately, the TFSA School of Export has a simple mandate – GROW EXPORTS FROM THE REGION. Join our community for free by registering with the TFSA School of Export. Click the links below:
To sign up to the School of Export CLICK HERE.
If you already have a profile, CLICK HERE to login to begin the module.