We operate in a global marketplace today, and there is no getting around it. If you primarily focus on where you live, you will lose in the long run. Some ways to make sure that your industry or business can tackle the challenges of a global marketplace include the following:
Identify Your Customer’s Partners – Especially Manufacturing Partners
Especially in the high-tech world, many deals have been lost when the company’s overseas ODM (original design manufacturer) found a better deal on another product that fit the bill. It is critical that you identify WHERE the end product will be produced, and form a working relationship with that entity. Otherwise, your “secure” business may literally fall off the face of the earth! This entity also needs the same customer service and care that the end customer received during the design cycle.
Make Sure Your Ads and Literature Reach a Global Audience
If your website is only readable in English, you are missing a sizable portion of the world! There are many translation services out there that will translate your website so that it shows in the proper language for each country in question. Don’t discount Latin America – it is growing by leaps and bounds. Your literature also needs to be translated; don’t assume the entire world speaks English.
Learn the Local Customs and Words, and Modify Your Ads Accordingly
Everyone has heard the old joke about why the Chevy Nova didn’t sell in Latin America – Nova means “doesn’t go”. This type marketing gaff happens all the time when marketers don’t do their homework before entering a new global market space. Make sure YOU are not the next joke that goes around!
If Possible, Hire Local People in a Local Office
Most countries want to deal directly with locals, and not have to call back to a time zone that is 11 or 12 hours off. The local people can also build a camaraderie with the local customers – this is why most MNCs have sales and marketing offices located in the countries they most want to do business with. This is especially important in Mainland China and Europe.
Make Sure you Understand Local Taxes and Shipping Duties
Some countries have very different duties and shipping taxes. For instance, Mexico has a high duty if a product is made in China, but not if it is made in Taiwan. If your company has manufacturing facilities in both places – you can win by only using your Taiwan facility for Mexican customers. Brazil levies an 18% tax on any import – if an equal product can be purchased that was made in Brazil. Knowing these little gems of information can save you embarrassment – and deals.
Try to Learn Key Phrases of the Language
This makes your customer feel comfortable and validates his or her culture and way of life.
We definitely live in a small world, and it is getting smaller all the time. Learning the rules of each culture is not only rewarding but will pay off through expanded revenue in the long run.