Has your business been thinking of stepping outside the U.S. and testing the foreign markets?
If so, having a solid marketing plan in place is nothing short of critical. Without such a plan, you all but run the risk of failing to take your brand worldwide, something that could ultimately hurt you in the pocketbook if you try to expand and do it the wrong way.
In order to enhance the chances your brand will succeed when you step outside the United States, make sure you put together a comprehensive review of where you’re thinking of going, why this decision will benefit your brand now and over time, and what plan you have in place should things not work out.
Get the Lay of the Land
To improve the odds your business desires will succeed outside the U.S., keep the following in mind:
- Economic and political conditions – First and foremost, what are the economic and political conditions in the country or countries you’re looking to expand to? What may seem like stability today could be gone tomorrow or the next day, so get a long-term analysis of what expects believe may happen down the road. Whether you are looking at an Asian venture, expanding to Europe, doing business in Brazil or gaining a foothold right across the borders in Canada or Mexico, research the economic and political climates;
- Demographics now and later – You also need to review and get a feel for the long-term demographics in the regions of the world you are considering expanding to. Will there be gains or losses predicted in the population bases? Having a feel for these statistics is critical for your long-term success. If you’re looking at a region of the world where the population shows to be dwindling, does it make much sense to move there, especially given lesser opportunities to add to your customer base? Populations increase and decrease over time in various parts of the world, so have a feel for which direction your intended advances are going in;
- Competition today and tomorrow – While your business should never be afraid of challenging the competition make sure you do it wisely. As more opportunities open up globally, it only makes sense that competitors will look to fill those opportunities sooner rather than later. Have a feel for where your competition may be going, what they expect to achieve there, and if you can mount a formidable challenge to them, especially economically. If you don’t have any competition in the intended marketplaces you are looking to expand to, be sure to go into such markets fully prepared for long-term activities. If you go in and pull out quickly, consumers may see this as a company that did not things out fully, something that can easily have a negative impact on your company’s persona. Finally, it is also critical that when dealing with competitors in foreign markets you clearly state why having your brand come into the market is a win-win for both consumers and other businesses in the area. Remember to always keep a positive approach and state why your company should be the chosen one.
If 2016 is the year to expand your American business globally, make sure you do it carefully and with plans for long-term success.
About the Author: Dave Thomas covers marketing and business topics on the web.