Before embarking on an export drive, you will need to research your business environment and figure out how to optimise your marketing efforts. Each new market will present you with brand new challenges that may require new strategies to ensure success. You will not be able to determine optimal strategies, however, without examining the various components of what is known as the ‘international environment’.
International Marketing Environment
So what do we mean when we refer to the international environment and how is it likely to affect our businesses?
The world is a large and diverse place with distinctly different regions, climates, cultures and economies. Every country has its own unique characteristics, any or all of which could play a pivotal role in your international marketing strategy and eventual export marketing plan. Typically, the international environment is made up of the following:
The Natural Environment
This refers to the geographical and climatic conditions unique to a particular region or country. These can vary greatly, ranging from deserts to wetlands. Depending on the nature of your products, there may be only a seasonal demand for them, or they may need special transport conditions to preserve their condition during transit. The natural environment could also impact any plans you may have to invest in a particular market.
The Cultural/Social Environment
Particular customs, languages spoken and traditions differ from one country or region to another. These greatly influence the ways in which you will need to communicate with potential buyers.
The Economic/Financial Environment
Factors, such as the disposable income of the population as a whole, the purchasing power of your particular market segment, and the ease with which payment can be transferred between countries all play a part in international marketing decisions.
The Political/Regulatory Environment
Every country has its own laws governing how individuals interact with each other and how companies operate. The extent of development of a country is also usually a good indicator of how stable its political environment is likely to be. Both political instability and stringent regulations can pose major barriers to exporting.
The Technological Environment
Finally, development of, and access to, technology in a country are amongst the most influential factors in the everyday lives of its population. These can vary greatly from country to country, and may impact your international marketing decisions.
As you begin assessing the sales potential of your products in international markets, it will soon become apparent that a single environmental difference can radically alter your entire export marketing plan. In order to ensure that your products are as successful internationally as they are domestically, you will need to make decisions on a myriad of marketing issues, from determining the viability of your products and figuring out whether or not adaptations will need to be made to your products or their packaging, to deciding on optimal pricing and the best ways to attract sales.
There is, of course, a great deal more to be said about the international marketing environment than we could cover in this article. To increase your understanding of the topic, we have developed a comprehensive course on all facets of exports, including international marketing. This course, which is offered at no cost to the trainee, has been developed by Trade Forward Southern Africa, in collaboration with the International Trade Institute of Southern Africa (ITRISA). Click the links below to sign up and start improving your export knowledge.
To sign up to the School of Export CLICK HERE.
If you already have a profile, CLICK HERE to login to begin the module.