Expanding globally: The benefits of creating an international marketing plan
Many rural businesses across Australia have the potential to successfully export their products and services.
However, numerous rural businesses feel as though they are not able to reach a global audience due to their size, their target audience or their geographical positioning. This is simply not the case; many rural businesses, despite their size, can potentially enter into the export market, compete at a high level and reach new global target markets.
All rural businesses operating in Australia know their target markets inside and out (hopefully!) and have a clear understanding of their needs and wants. They understand the costs, what marketing tools (both on and off line) they need to use to reach these audiences and they understand how to achieve their business objectives using these tools and strategies.
The Australian rural market is a familiar place for all rural businesses; however the tactics and strategies that work for this market don’t necessarily work once a rural business expands their export business globally. In this case a new international marketing plan is needed.
Here are a few things a business should take into consideration when creating their international marketing plan.
Why export business?
Firstly, it’s important to determine why the business is entering into the export market. A business should always have clear objectives and goals when entering into any new market. Ask why the business is undertaking this challenge? What will success look like? And what is to be gained from this expansion?
These questions help to establish the growth direction of a business and influence the marketing strategy.
Use Market Research:
Market research is critical to the success of a business’ expansion and online marketing campaign. Without this step a business is essentially entering blind into a new market, with no clear understanding of who they are talking to, what this new market is looking for, and what new competitors they will be facing.
Market research reveals the niches and gaps in a market that new businesses can slip into. This research also reveals the political, legal and regulatory, financial, cultural, competitive, consumer and marketing challenges that a rural business may face. It determines whether or not a business should enter a particular market, and what they should do once they are there.
For example, if an online rural export business were to look into entering a market where there were restrictions on social media and online marketing tools, market research would help a business to either create a solution around how they will market their business online through other channels or will determine this market as not suitable for them.
Is the business ready for expansion?
The next step for this business plan is to look into the business and really determine if it is the right fit for the chosen market. Will the business really be able to deliver a solution for the needs and wants of the target consumers?
The best way to determine whether a business is ready of expansion into a particular market is to ask these questions:
- What products and/or services does the business offer – do these products or services suit the new market?
- What is the point of difference or what is unique about it?
- Do a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) of the business. How will the business’ SWOT affect the expansion into this market?
- How does the product or service offered compare to the products or services offered by foreign competition – is there a key point of difference?
- How does the website compare to competitor websites?
- Is the business’ website ready for foreign customers? Will there need to be different pages for different languages?
- Is the business’ social media strategy ready to incorporate an international strategy? How will the business target those consumers unable to access the same social media sites?
Plan out your time and money
Investing in a global market can cost substantially more than investing in a local market. It’s all about researching how much money will be needed in order to successfully expand. Know how much is too much but also understand the business will need to prepare for higher expenses.
Planning and creating an international online marketing plan will help a business transition smoothly into an international market. Don’t plan to go in blind and “wing it” from the start – invest as much time as necessary and then a bit more. A business that spends time preparing and planning will always end up in a better position.