Every business entering the international market is doing so in the hopes that it will be successful abroad. There are many potential advantages to selling products internationally, such as increased innovation, improved production, improved quality control, and more profit! However, the effectiveness of your export marketing will greatly influence your international success. In order to realise the benefits of doing business internationally, an exporter needs to ensure that they select the most appropriate target market, optimise their company, product and processes for the foreign market concerned and achieve foreign market sales success. A well-constructed export marketing plan initiative goes a long way in achieving these tasks.
What is Export Marketing?
Export marketing is a term used to describe the research, activities and practices related to the promotion of products or services in foreign markets. Export marketing and domestic marketing differ considerably.
What are the Factors Influencing Export Marketing?
Several factors will directly influence your export marketing decisions. When marketing for exports, it is important that you research and understand the natural environment, the cultural/social environment, the economic/financial environment, the political/legal environment, and the technological environment of the foreign market concerned.
Analysing the Natural Environment in your Export Marketing Plan
The natural environment in international marketing refers to the foreign market’s physical surroundings and climate conditions. Thus, when assessing the natural environment in your export marketing plan, you are attempting to determine how the natural environment of the foreign market will impact your international marketing decisions. For example, does your product suit the climate conditions of the intended foreign market, and how does the topography and climatic conditions of said market influence decisions relating to packaging and the mode of transport used to deliver goods, etc.?
Analysing the Cultural/Social Environment in your Export Marketing Plan
The cultural/social environment in international marketing refers to factors such as the language, customs and cultural traditions of the intended foreign market. Thus, when assessing the cultural/social environment in your export marketing plan, you are attempting to determine how cultural and social influences may positively or negatively impact your international marketing effort. For example, how does your brand resonate with the cultural influences of the intended target market, and what translations and adaptations would be needed to ensure my product is perceived positively?
Analysing the Economic/Financial Environment in your Export Marketing Plan
The economic/financial environment refers to factors such as the distribution of income, employment levels and the general economic outlook of the foreign market concerned. Thus, when constructing your export marketing plan, you are attempting to determine how the country’s overall economic/financial environment will impact your short-term and long-term international marketing and sales ambitions. For example, how does your product register with foreign consumers from a disposable income perspective, and what are the long-term prospects for growth in the foreign market, considering the country’s economic outlook, etc.?
Analysing the Political/Legal Environment in your Export Marketing Plan
The political/legal environment refers to the rules, regulations and political climate of the foreign market concerned. Thus, when assessing your intended foreign market’s political/legal environment in your export marketing plan, you are attempting to establish the stability and regulatory requirements of the country where you intend to do business. For example, does your product and company abide by the various rules and regulations of the country concerned, and does the political environment of the intended foreign market pose an acceptable amount of risk, etc.?
Analysing the Technological Environment in your Export Marketing Plan
The technological environment refers to the level of technological application that underpins the business environment of the foreign market concerned. Technology profoundly impacts consumer habits, consumer expectations and the mechanisms businesses use to distribute their goods efficiently. Thus, when assessing the technological environment of your intended foreign market, you need to establish answers to questions such as; how technology impacts the buying process in the country concerned and what technological requirements are non-negotiable to be competitive in the foreign market etc.
What is the Process of Export Marketing?
The process of marketing entails analysing foreign market opportunities and threats, selecting target markets, optimising your business and product for the foreign market concerned, selecting a foreign market entry strategy, and developing an international marketing mix.
What is the International Marketing Mix?
Traditionally, devising an international marketing mix involves developing a suitable product, price, promotion, and place strategy. However, the components of an international marketing mix differ in some subtle ways from their counterparts in the traditional marketing mix. For example, in an international context, place refers not only to where your product will be sold but also includes your in-market distribution channels, i.e., the network of distributors, wholesalers, and retailers whose task is to ensure that potential buyers are easily able to access your products.
It should be becoming evident that the success of your marketing effort relies heavily on a well-constructed marketing plan. To help you put together your marketing plan, Trade Forward Southern Africa, in collaboration with the International Trade Institute of Southern Africa, has created a comprehensive online School of Export. The TFSA School of Export provides you with the knowledge you need to achieve international growth and contains modules on various topics, such as Incoterms®, export credit insurance and foreign exchange rates.
To sign up to the School of Export CLICK HERE.
If you already have a profile, CLICK HERE to login to begin the module.