Exporting internationally is not a decision that you can take lightly. From the moment when you’ve determined the reasons why you want to expand, you must put together a marketing plan dedicated to exporting. Here are ten marketing-communication initiatives we recommend to help you start out.


1- Get your team on board
. Make sure your team is ready and motivated to carry out this major project. Some of your key stakeholders may not be on the same page—which could lead to disengagement and cause your project to derail before it has even begun!

2- Talk to your current customers. Ask your customers if they currently export. You may be able to rely on an existing partnership to sell your solutions or services to an affiliate abroad. 

3- Participate in trade show. International trade shows or conferences can help you gain a better understanding of potential markets, enhance your network, and get sound advice regarding your international endeavours. 

4- Target the right market. Susan Bincoletto, ADM and Chief Trade Commissioner at Global Affairs Canada indicated in a recent discussion: “entrepreneurs often underestimate the importance of focusing their market development efforts on markets that are burgeoning with opportunities for their products and services. Many businesses target prospects in several different countries at the same time; the problem is that they deplete their resources in the process.” 

5- Analyze the market. Once you’ve set your sights on a market, you then must analyze it in order to maximize your success. Pinpoint the market’s economic, social, political and cultural information. Develop client personas and describe the purchasing behaviours and what are the key factors potential customers take into account before buying.

6- Analyze your products and services. Describe each product or service, focusing on both its strengths and weaknesses. Think about how you can commercialize your products or services in foreign markets and by targeting the personas you have identified. 

7- Set up in-person meetings. Many cultures favour meeting potential suppliers in person as it is the best way to build long-lasting business relationships. Fine tune your interpersonal skills before your visit (patience, communication, professionalism and manners). This work will go a long way to establishing trust and adapt to different cultural mindsets. 

8- Localize your products or services. You will most likely have to change your promotional material so that it is more attuned to the local culture. This means you may have to eliminate imagery or texts that can be deemed inappropriate in your target market. Invest in a professional translator to adapt your marketing material in the country’s language—and have it revised by a local representative.

9- Prepare your media kit. Add a description of your company, products and services. Highlight innovations and approaches that are worth being covered by the media. You should also add any coverage you have already generated to boost your credibility. 

10- Measure your progress. Constantly obsess about your results and stay on top of evolving socio-economic and political changes that impact your target market. Stay abreast of changes and update your marketing plan on a regular basis. When you are located thousands of kilometers away from your international markets, it can be challenging to maintain good business relationships. However, these relationships with partners and employees abroad are critical for your success. 

Sources

Gagnon, Jean. Adapter le marketing à l’international. La Presse. http://affaires.lapresse.ca/portfolio/exportation/201210/12/01-4582816-adapter-le-marketing-a-linternational.php. 15 octobre 2012.

Desjardins. Avez-vous votre plan marketing pour vendre à l’international? . https://www.desjardins.com/coopmoi/entreprises/fiches-conseils/avez-vous-plan-marketing-vendre-international/.

BDC. Réussir sur les marchés étrangers- Guides pour les entrepreneurs. https://www.bdc.ca/FR/Documents/marketing/guide-marches-etrangers.pdf?utm_campaign=150422_WEB_ebook_foreign_markets_FR&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua. 20 octobre 2015.

Gouvernement du Canada. Guide pas-à-pas à l’exportation. http://deleguescommerciaux.gc.ca/exporters-exportateurs/step5-etape5.aspx?lang=fra.

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