Breaking into new markets, navigating new local landscapes and understanding the behaviour and needs of global consumers are a few daunting issues requiring close consideration when preparing for global growth.
I have witnessed organisations expanding into overseas markets for reasons that in hindsight were poorly planned and forecasted; fewer competitors, lower costs and growing local demand were at the forefront; along with time constraints of hitting the market before opportunities are lost. Expanding into new markets can be exciting, financially rewarding, while encouraging innovation, creativity, adaptability and responsiveness. It also requires careful consideration, local knowledge and understanding and in-depth research. Some critical questions to consider are:
- How will you differentiate your service/product to appeal to local consumers?
- How/what has the local market/landscape hindered local companies providing this service/product previously?
- Local consumers often expect company interactions to have a local, relevant ‘feel’ – how can this be achieved?
- How will you understand specific regions, markets and customers?
- How will you gain the trust of local customers?
- How will you incorporate local ideas/skills into your strategies?
- How will you incorporate cultural intelligence into your organisational goals and visions?
- How will you know how successful your organisation is performing in terms of interactions with customers and stakeholders?
- How will you build local supplier relationships?
Successful companies with long-term strategies, that develop and apply carefully considered new approaches to their business conduct, products and services have a greater likelihood of enduring global business success. While tailored strategies to each country’s context can ensure capitalisation on the strengths of particular locations, following are some high level areas for refection.
- Different cultures have different expectations, needs, perceptions of quality etc. The challenge is often how far to go when modifying products/services for different markets, without compromising the reputation, value or quality of your product/service that has been the backbone of your success. How do you achieve this without risking your global brand reputation?
- Finding the balance between being adaptable and flexible in terms of business models, marketing, product design etc when entering new markets is challenging. Understand what the local market and consumer motivators are, their values and the different cultural key drivers and preferences.