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Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Thu Mar 21 10:29:00 UTC 2013
A Tale of Two TrendsThe World Bank recently published a forecast for global growth which was recapped by Business Insider. Included with the report was a list of the 20 economies they expect to be most stagnant over the next three years. The list was largely populated by developed, Eastern European and Caribbean economies and included:
- Euro area
- St Lucia
- St Vincent
- El Salvador
If the US & Europe are going to be stagnant, where's one going to find growth?
McKinsey says it's clear"The world’s economic center of gravity shifts" and "Rapid urbanization is propelling growth across emerging markets and shifting the world’s economic balance toward the east and south. By 2025, it will create a “consumer class” with more than four billion people, up from a billion in 1990. Nearly half will live in the emerging world’s cities, which are set to inject almost $25 trillion into the global economy. Yet business leaders mostly ignore them."
Are you an ignorer? A lamenter? Or a DOER?Seems you have a pretty simple choice. Hang out, hold on and hope for better times....or....take your business to where the opportunities are.
And here's the point you might not realize. The process of global business development and selling internationally can be started easily and inexpensively. A strategic approach lets you maximize the return and mitigate risks. Selecting the optimal markets and creating the infrastructure required require expertise but not magic.
Think maybe it's time to grow your business by going where the growth is? Or do you really enjoy hammering your head against that brick wall?!
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Tue Mar 19 10:18:00 UTC 2013
Spinning plates & balls in the airThere are hundreds of blog posts for every day of the year that talk about the process of content marketing; the difficulty of creating a sufficient volume of high quality content; and executing the myriad of internal and external steps to align the entire organization, nurture leads and interpret data.
We're not going there.
But here's an important reality. If you really embrace inbound marketing in all its nuance and detail, then you are marketing at a sophisticated level. And therefore you probably have some microsites targeting specific industries (or perhaps personas) and a variety of contextually dependent content.
So why is it that with all the energy spent discussing the best social media management dashboard, the best landing page app, the easiest tracking tool, the most reliable hosting or the most powerful SEO apps it seems like there's very little discussion about the best content management system (CMS.)
Content management by defaultLarge and sophisticated marketing operations obviously do consider this tool as carefully as others. But many SMBs view it as an extension of the design and site building process. Initially, of course, it is. But once a site is published (emphasis on function over form as @stevehall reminds us) the work of content becomes the raison d'etre for the CMS.
So shouldn't the ongoing, day-in-day-out use of the tool for managing content be the real acid test for a CMS rather than the tool with which the web designer is most comfortable, a favored blogging tool, the one with the greatest range of low cost themes or the one that is bundled with some other tool?
Your putting real marketing dollars into your content marketing effort, shouldn't you use a real tool for the heart of the infrastructure?
Evolution & GrowthAnd how well defined are content marketing best practices, anyway. This superhot (appropriately so - it works) marketing method that really only got a name a year or two ago is evolving quickly. It's fair to assume that the methods and approaches that are cutting edge now will likely evolve quickly. Your CMS should be robust enough to accommodate the unknown changes which you'll face.
Additionally, the folks you are marketing to today are quite likely different than those to whom you will market in a year. Not only do buying habits change, but global markets are rapidly becoming the centers of growth as the traditional domestic market is stagnating. What's that mean?
Your content management system ought to be able to handle multiple languages and multiple cultures across multiple domains - all with work flow capability to allow local channel partners, translation and localization resources and other internal and external resources to access parts for which they have responsibility.
Have you stopped to think about the hassle, complication and massive amount of duplicated work involved in logging into separate CMS portals for each domain/language/microsite? If you've got one now, it may seem inconsequential, but in several years you will certainly have several. If your business intends to grow and thrive, you will be doing international inbound marketing. Plan for it now.
An interesting optionI recently met folks from E-Spirit at their new US offices. I'm certainly no IT expert nor am I an enterprise software reviewer. In fact I'm an easy sell if something looks like it will work and really make me more effective, more efficiently. So this isn't an official review. It is a gut feeling though, based on the perspective of someone who uses and manages sites built on various popular CMS tools. FirstSpirit looks pretty darn cool.
My goal was simple - to find an affordable (it is), intuitive (it is), powerful (it is) tool that would let a diverse team manage the volumes of multiple language, persona and market content required to really leverage the power of global content marketing. My take? This is a tool worth putting on the short list to consider.
Want to discuss it? Give me a call.
Want to understand how international inbound marketing can help you inexpensively and efficiently develop new markets? Let's talk.
Thinking that slow domestic growth isn't going to give you the trajectory you forecast? Let's explore which global markets represent opportunities for your product and company.
image from ezone
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Mon Mar 18 10:15:00 UTC 2013
Why don't you treat your business like an investment?I've noticed an interesting dissonance when discussing strategy with business owners and senior executives. They often use an entirely different vocabulary in discussing their business investments than they do vis-a-vis their financial investments.
This is fundamentally perplexing because in nearly every case the business itself (or their vested interest in its success) is far and away the most significant financial asset they hold. And yet they often are far more committed to a broad strategic perspective of their liquid investments.
Take diversification for instance. Portfolio theory has evolved to the point that diversification is recognized as the single most important element of success (for preservation of capital in down markets and growth of capital in up.)
And yet, for many SMBs, diversification of their target markets, and innovative approaches in reaching them, are anathema.
Relevant analogs?Obviously managing a business IS different than picking investments. But it's too convenient note differences and stop there. More helpful is to recognize the long-term investment insights that can be applied to business.
That precisely what today's cover story in Barron's does - and the result? In light of consumption growth, income trends, demographics and fundamental factors, Reshma Kapadia (@reshmakapadia) notes that foreign markets are important investment locations; that BRICs aren't the best option; and that the frontier markets (a financial varietal of emerging markets) are particularly attractive.
Interesting emerging markets that are specifically mentioned include Nigeria, Kenya, Turkey, Mexico, Vietnam, Philppines, Indonesia, Thailand, Colombia, Sri Lanka & Sub-Saharan Africa in general.
One way to play these trends? To identify companies that are actively growing their sales and channel in these markets - that's an indirect way to capture the future value of these opportunities.
The curse of 'self-attribution' biasBut many business owners eschew these steps for their own business. The typical justifications are based on either the risk of that expansion, or the lack of need based on adequacy of domestic business.
These are really two sides of the same coin, because risk is a relative measure. They're not necessarily saying that developing the market in Vietnam is too risky, but that it's riskier than committing the resources, which that effort would otherwise require, to the domestic effort.
But there's a huge flaw in that position. Psychologists will tell you that people nearly always attribute their success to their own actions. For the moderately successful American business owner that could be justified. Alternatively the moderate success could be a function of a few sound actions and a generally favorable market. In reality, it's almost always a combination.
That means that the manager has less control over continued success than they may believe, especially since the status quo is in dramatic flux.
In other words basing future business expectations on past success is indeed a very risky proposition, particularly as market conditions change quickly and the economic center of mass shifts from the US and west to emerging markets.
Ignored risk vs. exaggerated riskSo if "doing what we're currently doing" is much riskier than we acknowledge, instead convincing ourselves that we are expertly piloting the ship; and emerging markets are sensible as an important element in your liquid investments; then maybe there's a lesson here.
Perhaps a dose of emerging markets, carefully selected and strategically engaged with risks mitigated really should be part of your plan for your biggest investment - your business.
And before you say "Sure, but we must stay focused", here's a point to ponder. On what are you focused? Strategic growth, or simply myopic execution of the domestic strategy that you have convinced yourself you have so masterfully crafted?
Do it right....Don't 'just do it'Of course there are downsides and risks. It would be folly to strut into the office this morning and announce your departure, out of the blue, for Nigeria later in the week.
But you could strut into the office on Monday and give us a call. Let's talk about your business, your product, your strategic goals and whether global expansion might support those. For what it's worth? We're into success. If it's not a fit, we'll tell you pretty quickly. But let's figure that out - don't just assume!
But maybe it is - and we could support your expansion into Nigeria (as we are for another client now) or any of the other enticing markets that beckon American SMBs.
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Thu Mar 14 11:45:00 UTC 2013
The "Old World"I enjoy an espresso (or beer or glass of wine) at a café beside a cobblestone street as much as the next person. But those experiences are often a byproduct of business - not the core of it.
In reality many of the most compelling business opportunities in the world today are in developing and emerging markets. (And don't get offended. There are many charming experiences in many emerging markets too, although the pace is more frenetic and the conditions sometimes not quite as congenial - but changing rapidly.)
After all, business is about creating value - and leisure is about appreciating it.
So "Old World" is a great expression on several levels. It conveys the depth of history and experience, but it also conveys attributes that oppose entrepreneurial business growth. These include:
- Unfavorable (aging) demographics
- Sclerotic bureaucracy and regulation
- A traditional (conservative) approach to business opportunity
Pope Francis I - and the New World alternativeNow we don't do religion or politics here. This is a business blog. So let's look at the "business" side of this bold decision by the Catholic Church.
Quite simply it's "customer base" in the "Old World" was stagnating. It made the only responsible more it could make - it is reaching out to the emerging markets that will drive it's growth over the next several decades.
And what's gratifying to observe is the almost universal joy, excitement and optimism that the decision has engendered. Surely some debate an individual's qualifications and philosophy, and the old world may lament losing its primacy, but generally reactions support a pragmatic move justified by current trends.
Cognitive disconnectBut here's the rub. While almost everyone "gets it" - or understands that the Catholic Church made a sound decision, they turn back around to their email inbox without ever considering that they face precisely the same conditions in their business. But 95% of American businesses are too conservative to take the sensible step that the Catholic Church has taken.
Imagine that! Here in the US, the supposed crucible of entrepreneurial vigor; the laboratory of business strategy; the avant-garde of innovation....instead we focus on trying to bludgeon a competitor to gain a point or two of market share.
Are we nuts? Isn't that the quintessence of Einstein's definition of insanity? To continue to do the same things but to expect different results?
How will that produce 10-20% annual growth for most companies?
Simple choiceIf you want your business to remain really relevant (not just sustain, but to thrive) over the next decade you have to go where the growth is. Study after study shows that is in emerging markets. Are they all risk free? No. Are they all appropriate for your product? Without even knowing your product I can answer...No.
But for many American companies the opportunities are enormous. A strategy drawn upon expertise simultaneously accelerates success and mitigates risks.
So if you're wondering whether you can be as wild and crazy as the Catholic Church; whether you can live on the edge; whether you want to go where the growth is....then call us. Let's talk.
photo from theguardian
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Thu Mar 14 10:39:00 UTC 2013
“In a media-saturated world, persuading through interruption and repetition is increasingly ineffective. To engage consumers, advertisers must focus on where and when they will be receptive.” Harvard Business Review, March ’13, Advertising that Works
But how do you get there?
If you’ve ever listened to a Brian Halligan presentation you’ve heard the “interruption marketing” mantra. What not to do is reasonably clear.
The problem is that what you should do isn’t necessarily as straightforward, but the key lies in the “where and when they will be receptive.”
The beauty of search is that you don’t need to know who is going to look when. If you are properly developing your inbound marketing program they will find you. That part is assumed.
But when they find you will you convince them?
Who you're really selling to
Well this is where all that jazz about personas and buying process come into play. If you haven’t gotten really cerebral with these then you’re squandering conversions and missing qualified leads.
If you really understand who your buyers are and what the typical buying process is then you will populate your editorial calendar with content (we’ll just presume it’s going to be awesome) across multiple channels, multiple personas and multiple buying stages.
Buying stages are going to have to be more specific than just TOFU, MOFU & BOFU (that’s a handy reference but not terribly nuanced, particularly for more complex sales cycles.)
If you do it right your public content will engage the prospect and direct them through a link or CTA to a page or section on your site that speaks to their persona/stage or to a dynamic landing page for an offer adapted to the persona/stage. Ideally either will also be adapted to their “learning style” (e.g. if an infographic brought them in, then your content will be visual in nature. If a snapshot of a financial analysis is the source, then a detailed, erudite whitepaper might be appropriate. Your content should accommodate auditory, visual and kinesthetic styles as much as possible.)
(Not to wander too far afield, but the style of hooks (snelled or barbed) shown on the HBR cover are worth noting. Traditional marketing was based on snells to keep someone on the hook. Expertly executed inbound marketing doesn't need a barb - the real & legitimate value of the content to prospects creates a symbiotic rather than combative relationship between seller & prospect.)
Prospects will intuit your expertise...and your respect for them
In other words your public content ushers them right in the VIP entrance directly to their suite. Ritz Carleton style (many say there’s no better yardstick for personalized customer service) you’ll have their favorite fruit in a bowl, preferred spirit on ice and down or memory foam pillow perfectly fluffed up according to their preferences.
And you can do all this automatically. You need only develop really accurate personas, understand the buying process intimately and put the time and effort into creating the content and infrastructure. Admittedly the latter isn’t a small task, but there’s help available – and it all depends on the former.
But if you do it, you’ll rock. If you believe in your gut that any link that directs someone to a home page (vs. a page that speaks to them, in their role, with their language, at their stage in the buying process) is a waste, then you’re on the right track.
Marketing automation and buyer personas - a magical combination
If interruption is the antithesis of what you seek, then the optimal result is the holy grail of hospitality service – transparency. Think about a really incredible experience you’ve had (maybe that $500 anniversary dinner) where in retrospect the right service, food, wine all just appeared magically at just the right moment without you even consciously noting it.
That’s the yardstick you should use for your inbound marketing, content and promotion efforts. Achieve that and you’ll have briefly attained mastery…but maintaining it won’t be easy.
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Tue Mar 12 10:29:00 UTC 2013
Fruitlessly struggling to distill a complex process into a "key step"
Anyone else tired of the lists? For example these knock your socks off classics...
- The 5 keys to social media
- The 10 factors in content sharing
- 7 factors in email open rates?
And how about this recurring topic?
XXXXX - The Most Critical Element of your Content Marketing Program
I’m not sure if the folks writing those do so because they are struggling to keep up with their content calendar, or because they really bounce hyper-kinetically from one focus discipline to another. But the stream of categorical pronouncements has become almost comical. Here’s an example I saw recently.
I’m sure the good folks at Mesasix get it – and maybe only the eager headline writer at the Beaumont Enterprise is the silly one. But “Content Marketing Overtakes SEO & Link Building in 2013”? Are you serious? What is great content if not the heart of your SEO? This sort of inanity misleads many small business leaders who want to capture opportunities but are misled by myopic “experts.”
Here’s the thing – as best I can determine, with the possible exception of strategy & planning, there is no single element more critical than another. And therein lies one of the real challenges of Inbound Marketing – it is a real grind.
Non-linear inputs & outputs
In many areas of business and life there is a generally linear relationship between commitment/input effort & outcome. If you never exercise, exercise two days/week or step up to double workouts daily you will find progressively greater benefit.
Similarly if you prospect just at trade shows, 1 day/month or 2 X ½ day every week you will find a direct relationship between your effort and results.
But inbound marketing is different. Let’s assume that it’s possible to identify all the key steps required to achieve Inbound Marketing perfection. My unscientific sense is that if you do 20% you will achieve 5% of the possible results. If you hit 50% maybe you’ll get 10% results. Hit 75% and you might get into the 40% range. But only once you start to get north of 85% of the ideal do you start to get 75 to 80% results.
The point is that it only works if you carefully execute the entire program, across all elements, according to a consistent schedule. Short of that it’s largely a waste of resources. It’s a classic example of the whole being far greater than the sum of the parts. Take away sound SEO and it fails; skimp on promotion and it fails; ignore social media and it fails; create crappy content and….you guessed it, it fails; ignore PR, events and other pieces and it fails. You must craft an entirely interrelated marketing machine….or you will fail.
Perspective is fundamental
What’s this mean?
First, if you’re an SEO expert (or video editor, or blog writer, or social media maven, or, or , or) you’d better get real serious real quick about rounding out your skill sets. Because even if you justify in your own mind that your activity is key to the total success (and your probably right) that’s irrelevant, because by itself it’s of little value.
Second, if you’re a business that’s tried to dabble, you’re deluding yourself. The blog link on your website that goes to last October’s ‘press release’ posting? That Facebook icon in your website template that goes nowhere? That twitter handle with 17 updates? They’re worse than worthless – they scream “we think we’re hip but we really don’t get it.”
Third, no software package is going to do this for you. No single person will pull this off. This is not a DiY or learn as you go activity. And there’s no easy way.
All that being said, it is incredibly efficient and economical. If you subscribe to the rule of thumb that a typical business ought to invest 5-10% of revenue in marketing, then I would argue that any company with $3,000,000 in revenue can create an awesome inbound marketing program. (If you want details on my calculation call me – basically I figured one FTE at $50K/year loaded @ 30%; software cost of $10K/year; consultant/outsource cost of 90K/year and a 5% of revenue investment)
A cavalier commitment is worse than none!
If you think you’re going to really nail it for $30K/year, save the money!
If your goal is that your business will be vibrant in 3 years, start today!
And most importantly if you can’t visualize marketing today as a completely integrated, multi-disciplined pursuit which demands that all components are concurrently and expertly executed, then you'd better hire someone who does….and prepare to work FOR them in the not to distant future.
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Thu Mar 07 11:10:00 UTC 2013
International inbound marketing - why you need it here and thereAll you marketers that are felling pretty good about the program you have conceived and built for inbound marketing...prepare to get pretty nervous.
Check this out.
Complete with HubSpot data no less.
Did you realize that 1 of every two babies born in the US today is Latino? And there is no such thing as Latino marketing - there are different languages (Spanish & Portuguese), a myriad of dialects, vastly different cultures, and uneven geographic distribution. So even if you have some Spanish language inbound marketing, don't feel to smug. Your content needs to be even more nuanced.
Emerging threatsAnd how about inbound marketers who will try to out market you? Is your marketing good enough (with a broad enough foundation of multi-channel super duper content) to resist the coming influx of Chinese inbound marketing?
Emerging marketsLet's imagine, for a moment, that you are a content marketing superhero. What market share can you reasonably expect to reach? And is a growing market share of a shrinking (or stagnant) market a pyrrhic victory?
Maybe diversification makes sense. Any idea where the world's growth is happening over the next 10 years? Let's take a look at what McKinsey projects. It's coming from emerging markets.
Marketing into emerging marketsAnd what's important to understand about marketing into those markets? Here's an excerpt from a recent GlobalWebIndex study reported by Warc.
"Digital channels are more important for marketers than traditional media when it comes to connecting with consumers in emerging markets, new analysis has revealed."
Among other key facts, Social Media is SIX TIMES more important and mobile campaigns are up to FOUR TIMES more effective.
What's it all mean for you?Fair question. Probably 4 key points.
- The domestic implications are less compelling for B2B than B2C (but there are other key lessons to learn through global business development that help make you competitive at home.) But if you are marketing B2C you had better have a robust (and nuanced Latino focused content marketing program with distinct strategy and personas and a very different channel balance.)
- B2B & B2C marketers need to understand that overseas companies will increasingly use the powerful inbound and content marketing methodology to uncover US opportunities. Stronger offense is definitely the best defense in this case.
- A business growth strategy focused just on the domestic market is inherently flawed. Growth, opportunity and buying power is migrating to emerging markets. Great marketing can be turned globally as one of two key business develpoment efforts - the other being new markets.
- When you are ready to internationalize your inbound marketing there's lots to understand - much of it counterintuitive or completely different than domestic considerations. Get great advice to avoid wasting time and money.
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Tue Feb 26 12:00:00 UTC 2013
Stuck in a rut?
Boredom...."one of the least recognized and most underrated hazards of company building" writes Inc editor @BoBurlingham in Small Giants.
Yesterday was a Monday...Since you own a business or help run one, you probably don't have the work week blues as if you were just slogging through the week to log the hours in exchange for a paycheck.
Nevertheless, as time passes, nearly every business becomes a little mundane. Sure there are some folks who say they love going to work every day. More power to them. My guess is that they're the ones who are solving big challenges in creative ways for diverse clients on a regular basis. Even though their role remains consistent, their work actually is constantly different. But in most businesses, after a while you've deftly handled the typical complaints; you've nailed exciting deals so often the rush is slightly diminished; the highs and lows of personnel management start to blur and the money? Sure you can always use more, but you're not terrified of satisfying your personal guarantees any more. Net net...business gets a little boring.
Growth (company & ego?)
So what do you do to keep it engaging? Burlingham's research indicates that many folks pursue aggressive growth (for growth's sake) including acquisitions and other strategies that introduce undesirable side effects - often compromising the company culture that they have carefully nurtured. But there's an alternative - carefully planned, strategically sound and properly executed global expansion can provide a bit of the growth rush, but more importantly foster the challenging, interesting and rewarding environment that makes business fun (OK....not every day, but generally.) Global business development may be the answer.
Market entry, product localization, global channel development, international marketing and host of other elements are sure to get you back on the balls of your feet.
Here's the great part. Undertaking this initiative is great for your business AND can put the spring back into your business step.
International business development offers a number of real business benefits including:
profitable sales growth
lower taxes on business profits
And those benefits are offset by far less risk and a much more manageable undertaking than most assume.
Let's chat about your business, your goals and your impressions/concerns about global business development. Maybe it's a good fit for you and your company - maybe not. If nothing else you'll noodle a big, interesting topic that will make your business day a little different.
Contact us to learn more.
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Thu Feb 07 11:30:00 UTC 2013
Go global the easy way...with Inbound MarketingAre you skeptical of the hype? Nauseated with the incessant drivel about the promise of content marketing? You're not alone.
But the problem is that so many "know it alls" (maybe more like 'know nothing at alls') are flapping their gums in an attempt to sound hip and/or keep their agencies viable. There are very few veritable experts.
That's why one of the best go-to-guys for Inbound Marketing info is actually a chemical engineer. That's right - the affable, cerebral and insightful Pete Caputa (@pc4media) talks straight about the science and metrics marketing in a way few others do.
What's Pete predicting now?If you're like me maybe you've got scars from the acid burns where you couldn't remember whether you add the acid, or add to the acid, to avoid the dreaded splash back. Sometimes the basic rules get jumbled up (unless you really are an engineer!) and that's why I track what Pete has to say. It's always a great combination of very grounded, metrics driven, fundamental tactical meat balanced with high level strategic perspective.
The Collaborative Growth Network article on inbound marketing that Pete posted on Wednesday is a perfect example.
Here's why it's great. First, it's a necessary reminder that not everyone yet realizes the enormous potential (and myriad benefits) of content marketing. He lays out 9 more reasons why inbound marketing can & should be part of every company's arsenal.
But what really got my blood pumping was Reason #7 - Global Opportunity, Business Growth & International Sales!
Shouting it from the RooftopsAt Consilium we've carried on about this global business development opportunity for a while - and we were starting to wonder if we were just way too early. Maybe just a little early - and thrilled to read Pete's take on the international angle.
He's absolutely right. Buyers are coming from all corners of the globe checking out what you are selling (the better your content the more they come.)
But are you listening? All the metrics in the world won't get you a piece of business if you don't work it. And if 30, or 50 or even 70% of your traffic is international, have you even thought about trying to sell to them, or do you treat those prospects and leads as wasted time?
And then taking it to the next level, if some of those leads are worthwhile, how would you work them, what regions seem to have the most interest/potential, and if you want to proactively develop that market, how would you adapt your inbound marketing to even more effectively mine that opportunity?
All good and reasonable questions - but here's the bottom line. There are answers to all of them. And because it's always the next question, yes, there are some risks (just like domestic business) but if you are aware of them you can mitigate them.
So the beret wearing artist may be a great coffee shop companion, but it's time to start taking your marketing advice from an engineer! Step up your inbound marketing and consider the enormous business growth opportunity that the 95% of the world's consumers which lay outside the US offer.
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Tue Jan 08 12:00:00 UTC 2013
Past what?Does it matter? There are eternal business challenges, and a slow growth environment like we'll all face this year accentuates all the warts which can be overlooked with easy growth.
No matter what you might be inclined to look past, I'd suggest you instead look across, with vision.
I read this quote recently:
"long-term view lets us look out across…The operative word is ‘across’…and not ‘past it.’…’Across recognizes the reality of the risks and opportunities presented by the (market) in which we find ourselves. ‘Past’ suggests an ostrich-like approach of ignoring reality in the blind hope of an unrealistic outcome. ‘Across’ is enabling, while ‘past’ is disabling" Ed Easterling, Crestmont Research
It struck me as a wonderful metaphor for so much of what I hold dear in business strategy. There are things you can control, and manifold more you can't. While some of those which you can't are completely random and unpredictable, many, many can be observed, measured and anticipated...that is as long as you don't try to just look past them.
"Looking across" then, what do we see for SMBs in 2013?Challenges for sure, particularly for companies that pursue the same strategies they traditionally have. Certainly they'll tweak around the edges. Maybe ask the recent grad who "manages" social media to add a Pinterest account; or perhaps seek some technique training for their sales team.
But for companies that are bold and committed we see huge opportunities as markets ripen globally and technology creates enormous reach and egalitarianism between brands.
Before we go any further, though, the word "globally" is important. To parse one's market opportunities artificially with distinctions of "domestic" vs. "international", is to enormously limit potential. Identifying new vertical industry opportunities and pinpointing regional areas with supportive consumption trends should be fundamental strategic objectives for every company. The key is to really think globally, in both the literal and the figurative sense. Only then will nascent opportunities become apparent - and those are where breakout growth will be found. Incremental growth in a 1% GDP trend economy isn't what will propel SMBs!
2013 - year of SMB Global Business DevelopmentSimple to say, but it feels hard to do? Particularly when you are buried with routine crisis and priorities? I'll leave the time management tips and tricks to others. But certainly commitment - public, formal and substantiated with required resources - to bold strategic imperatives is a prerequisite.
But where should that commitment be focused?
Two broad foci provide the tracks upon which your initiatives can be based.
Combined, they foster:
- above trend growth
- fun (positive challenge) in business
- improved profitability
- engagement (management & employee)
More to come - stay tuned! Want more detail immediately? Contact us.
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Thu Jan 03 11:05:00 UTC 2013
Elance predicts 2013 will be the year of the "freelancer"That's great, right? I mean you'll be able to have bits and pieces of work done for your business at affordable prices. Not only must you not wrestle with the time to add FTEs, and the full loaded cost, but prices among freelancers will drop as competition and ubiquity/talent marketplaces lead to market efficiency.
Imagine not hesitating to create a new brochure; or having tweaks made to your wordpress site code. All done quickly for short money. Awesome!
But there's an ugly underbelly to this trend - the implications to your business development strategies.
Immediate ease vs. long-term focusSo as more freelancers hang out virtual shingles you'll have an easier time checking tasks off your list. But what happens when it becomes so easy to jump from task to task? In many cases suddenly tasks become the focus. And as a result the "big picture" strategy is compromised.
Take B2B marketing for instance. As the economy slows companies typically reduce their marketing spend. Many B2B companies have limited budgets anyway - mostly trade show and magazine marketing as an adjunct to a direct sales focus. But with cheap freelance talent available, there's an option to avoid abandoning efforts.
The SEO freelancer that can drop a couple meta tags into your website page code will speak with a mystical authority that lends credibility...but does she even have a clue about how SEO has evolved into a pervasive element throughout B2B marketing strategies now?
The designer that can create a couple cool logo concepts conveys artisitic energy...but is likely ignorant of design's evolving (and somewhat diminishing) role in marketing. As customer experience and ease of use become drivers, and content marketing preeminent, sexy design can be a distraction.
Or how about the blog writer that produces 500 words for $17 based on purported familiarity with your field...but never even inquires about the target personas you intend to reach. Does he help you or hurt you?
And the bigger the goal, the bigger the riskPoorly conceived marketing carries an enormous opportunity cost - the potential leads and sales that are never generated. But the direct exposure is limited to the direct investment.
Global business development is another focus of many companies struggling to grow in a low-growth environment. Here the risks are higher. There is an enormous opportunity cost risk - emerging markets offer lucrative opportunities for substantial, profitable growth, and clumsy attempts to enter those markets reduces any likelihood of realizing those profits.
But there are other direct risks that can be quite expensive. Does that former corporate logistics expert who now consults understand the FCPA implications of customs snafus in target markets?
Does the expert in distribution channel understand the financial implications of how export profits are recognized domestically? (If not it might cost you 65%!)
And does the translator begin to recognize the marketing localization considerations in creating global campaigns?
"Consultants" - Are they freelancers with haughty titles?Maybe - but here's the point. Consultant, freelancer, or employee - The title isn't important. At the end of the day intelligence, creativity, aptitude, experience AND expertise, commitment to being professionally current and leading, and clear understanding of where they "outdrive their headlights" determine business value.
Finding that talent is always a challenge, regardless of the labor model you use.
Here's a thought - the freelancing trend probably means that you can afford higher quality, more experienced talent to support your business than you could otherwise. Picking carefully is the key, but picking and moving ahead is fundamental. The most expensive approach is almost always the DiY stumble along tactic. Don't be silly in 2013!
At Consilium we are proud to be consultants. We didn't just stumble into it, we built it. We've built companies internationally and have the B2B marketing and global business development chops as a result.
Consilium offers evolutionary B2B marketing and global business development advisory services. Our experience and perspective is unique and rare. Contact us to learn how our approach could help drive serious business growth, with a delivery model that is efficient and affordable.
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Wed Jan 02 11:13:00 UTC 2013
Where to go? Where not to go? When to get in? Should you get out?"Companies increasingly have to figure out which markets aren't strategic for them from a business and political perspective." Ian Bremmer (@ianbremmer) founder of Eurasia Group (@EurasiaGroup) in Barron's (@barronsonline) 31 Dec, '12
Speaking of geopolitical risk and "economic statecraft" Bremmer offered a number of thoughts in his Barron's interview. But the fundamental point that pervades his musings is that companies can't blithely "exist" in markets. A company's decisions regarding markets on which it will focus its international business development resources need to be sensibly made and routinely evaluated.
When considering which markets to enter, companies should weigh several factors heavily:
- fit for their product
- demographics (key to understanding growth opportunity)
- risk profile (political, currency and market risks - balanced against benefits of broad diversification)
- corporate strategy and how a specific market fits
Know why you're thereWhat's the driving reason that keeps you in a market? When products are caught up in a customs hassle; when reps freak you out with FCPA silliness; when jet lag wears you down and you wake up in a hotel room not knowing where you are....what's driving the commitment?
If you can't answer that intuitively, you probably don't belong in a market.
But sunk costs are a powerful and distorting factor in decisions. Too often decisions are skewed based on investments that have already been made rather than the realistic future opportunity.
That's the other relevant part of Bremmer's message. Consistently reassess. Make decisions regarding allocation of resources to market development proactively rather than reflexively or by default.
On occasion, that will mean retreating from a market into which you have dumped a ton of resources. That's OK, unpleasant perhaps, and humbling, but the right business decision.
Minimize mistakesThe key is obviously to minimize the frequency of that sort of about face. That takes a broad international business development perspective that is absent in many C suites. It also demands exhaustive research and ongoing processing of volumes of information. Doing it right the first time and keeping your ear to the rail are trite expressions, but apropos.
In the end, many frustrated international business development efforts wither because the broad skill sets and perspectives required to properly conceive them were missing.
Do you really understand how to develop international markets for your company? Or did you merely "stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night"?
Contact Consilium to get our perspective on how to do it right.
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Fri Dec 14 11:10:00 UTC 2012
Merely in markets or actually of them?The Dec 12 Harvard Business Review has an instructive article (What Panasonic learned in China) that explores Panasonic’s stumbles and successes in the Chinese market.
“Multinationals may be in global markets, but they’re often not of them; therefore they’re unable to extend their products’ appeal to broader audiences around the world…It’s surprising, then, when an established giant goes to an emerging market seeking the usual benefits of cheap labor and low manufacturing costs and comes back a changed company.”
Not all companies metamorphasize in this way. And the breakthrough comes at different points for those that do. But it’s happening more among American companies (despite Panasonic’s Japanese roots, the lessons are equally applicable for US enterprises.) Just as companies originally grasped the need for supply chain economics and seized the overseas opportunity, they are now awakening to the growth opportunity in emerging markets even as development in those markets renders them less attractive as low cost manufacturing hubs.
Two sides of the same coinIn general companies understand the fundamental export proposition. You have more opportunities to sell more stuff. Manage the process at least reasonably well and you make more money.
But much of my time is spent helping companies understand not only the imperatives that will often determine success, but also the myriad of secondary and tertiary benefits that derive from energetic and strategic international business development. In other words understanding what is essentially an accounting identity of resources required on one side and benefit derived on the other.
The HBR Panasonic/China article struck me because it speaks to critical points on both sides of that success “identity.” And while it discusses some of the substantial investments Panasonic made, the principles are applicable even for the smallest of SMBs.
Localization is criticalWe normally look at two “flavors” of localization: marketing localization and product localization. The latter normally drives the former – understanding what product features, price point, and value proposition are fundamental to having a kernel worth marketing. But that is often an iterative process even for companies that have thoroughly researched a new market.
But man, what a difference it can make! Simple changes can distinguish failure and growth. In China, changing the width of refrigerators by 10cm led to a 10X increase in sales. Further, once Panasonic realized that Chinese households with washing machines persisted in hand laundering undergarments; and that they did so to guard against feared infection of their nether regions by bacteria transferred from outer garments in a shared washing machine; some rapid and effective R&D resulted in a new product. And silver ionizing sterilization in washing machines yielded a curve bending market share increase of 500% (from 3 to 15) in less than one year!
And then the magic happenedThat growth was a solid reward for the company’s localization efforts. But in a sense it was just a byproduct of doing the homework they should have done originally – at least in the case of the refrigerators.
But Panasonic saw another opportunity. Although their domestic customers didn’t share the concerns about contaminated knickers, they did tend to worry about food contamination. Using the lessons learned abroad Panasonic developed a line of refrigerators which used the same technology to create a product which addressed an unmet need in their home market.
For companies with the executive vision and knowledge management capabilities to recognize and leverage lessons learned in global markets, international business development offers an opportunity for domestic business improvements. You can learn lessons through exporting that will improve your business at home.
For American companies one of the most compelling places to look is to Latin America. With 1:2 babies born in the US today being Latino, that demographic will be hugely important to domestic business success. But contrary to the oversimplified early Hispanic marketing programs, the Latino market is not a monolithic Spanish speaking homogenous group. Instead it is a fabric woven of various cultures, languages, national identities and regional preferences. American companies that intend to succeed will need to understand the tastes and habits of each distinct group – and localize products and marketing accordingly.
What better way to learn how to sell to these folks at home, than to really learn how to sell to them natively!
Growing beyond simple outsourcing and eager to embrace global sales growth? Contact Consilium to learn more.
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Mon Dec 10 11:50:00 UTC 2012
"But my business is B2B"OK. Maybe historically. And maybe domestically. But there are a number of reasons why global market diversification could be important to your business. (We've got lots of articles on that topic.) And if you think about going global, your strategy should include a component of B2G international business development.
Sound crazy? This quick intro might dispel some misconceptions and highlight some opportunity before you discount the idea.
Reasons why B2G business might be important for your company internationally include:
- Many developing markets are more centralized than the US. There are often substantial opportunities to sell products to foreign governments even though the product/service would normally be bought by businesses in the US.
- In many cases the US government provides subsidies to developing markets for purchases of American made products/services. Much of that money is routed through government purchases by the foreign government.
- In many emerging markets, the bulk of the funds available for early investment are available through the host government.
- In countries with substantial import barriers (e.g. high tariffs) many times local government purchases are exempt so your solutions might be far more economical for government buyers. In the case of Brazil, for instance, recent legislation means that products "dedicated to the use or consumption of the organization or the holding of the ('16 Rio Olympics) events" are tax exempt
And if it makes sense...then what?First of all it's a completely different sales process. Can you speak the language of "tenders"? Do you know what it takes to be an "L1" contender?
It's a different language and a different process. And even if you have experience selling to the US government, many international government acquisition programs have more in common with each other than with the US.
Success in this area often comes down to finding the right channel model and channel partners. In many cases international B2G sales require purchases be made through local firms. Therefore agency/rep arrangements often won't work.
If you have worked in developing markets you've probably wondered how many folks can actually be the cousin of the "Minister of XXX"? Been there? Sound familiar? The point is there are many, many folks who claim to hold the keys to the kingdom. A very few are legitimate, some are hucksters and many are simply mistaken. But any government tends to be very "silo'd" and therefore your efforts need to focus on likely targets in parallel efforts, and often with parallel channel partners limited to areas of vertical responsibility.
Proactive approach & patienceThe best acid test for a potential channel partner is their first contact with you. If the context is a tender that "has been issued", in many cases this isn't the right sort of partner. Conversely if the contact is in advance about a tender that "will be issued" there may be more value.
Why? By the time a tender has been issued the outcome is nearly a "fait accompli." Although nearly every government has contracting regulations that prohibit a specification so specific as to exclude all but one vendor (and formal procedures for instances where that is appropriate,) in reality this is often precisely what transpires. And although there are always opportunities to protest, success is rare and invoking that option often results in latent prejudice against subsequent tender bids.
The answer is participate early - during the formulation of the requirement and preparation of the tender specification. With deep understanding of the competitive landscape and detailed understanding of the project objectives you can guide a capable channel partner in their efforts to create a favorable tender specification.
A strong channel partner will understand this intuitively and will work early on projects. An opportunistic one, with little likelihood of consistent success, will monitor tenders as they are floated and try to poach opportunities. Real success over the long-term takes developmental work, patience and commitment. And your international channel management program should include these elements in many cases.
Don't get stung by the FCPABut you're wandering in a minefield here. (Sorry for mixed analogies!) The US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is often unknown to executives of US SMBs and yet carries substantial implications. It imposes substantial civil penalties, and potential criminal liability, on companies and their Directors and Officers, for payments to government officials. Noteworthy is the fact that actions of non-employees (e.g. channel partners) taken without knowledge of the company, still create the exposure!
The FCPA applies to payments not only explicitly intended to secure an order, but even, for instance, to alleviate a customs hang-up with a shipment. Therefore, every company working internationally, whether they sell to foreign governments or not, should be familiar with it and have a risk management procedure in place. (Contact us for more info. The program should require strict contractual compliance affirmations from employees and other associated firms, as well as regular training and certain record keeping.)
But clearly an important criteria in channel partner selection must be their understanding of the FCPA and strict compliance.
The unknown unkownB2G foreign sales could present a huge potential opportunity for your business - even if you don't normally think of your product as one purchased by governments. There are potentially unfamiliar procedures and considerations (did you realize that US Ex/Im Bank foreign receivables insurance typically can't insure foreign government purchases because of sovereignty complications?) but they are manageable.
Interested in exploring what opportunities you mightt be missing? Contact us today to discuss your global potential.
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Thu Dec 06 12:05:00 UTC 2012
The consequential impacts of technologyThis is not a technology blog...but technology has a tendency to disrupt in unexpected ways. And lately I've been wondering about how 3D printing / additive manufacturing might disrupt global sales. I anticipate it will revolutionize international channel management.
To follow the conversation you need to understand the premise of additive manufacturing. My discussion of why it's important follows below. There's loads of info available - I've assembled a representative selection here. You decide how much background you have time / interest in digging into. In addition to the videos below you might be interested in these links:
- a TED primer on 3D printing
- 3D printing infographic from Mashable
- a recent HuffPo article on Wake Forest researchers 3D printing of human cartilage!
- the definitive discussion (Wikipedia of course) of 3D printing
A longer discussion of the investment and business implications
And your point is?
I hear you. Occasionally I see some technology that is really cool. I'm not sure how it fits, but it's fun to explore. I enjoy learning about it, but I'm not in the tech business. So my interest really peaks when a technology matures to the point that it helps me make money or try to become more efficient. Technology just for the sake of technology doesn't "blow my hair back."
But stay with me for a minute...let's see where this goes.
For simplicity let's stipulate that we'll initially focus on companies that sell physical products - for instance engineered components machined from some sort of metal, ceramic plastic or other material that is currently, or will be soon, compatible with additive manufacturing.
As a baseline let's define the typical responsibilities of sales channel selling these sorts of products:
- find customers and market locally
- participate in the specification and approval process
- perhaps facilitate engineering to specific requirements
- assume responsibility for payment & delivery
- provide ongoing customer support.
And the export process itself includes a number of logistics steps involved in moving physical products from one location to another - and obviously large costs and lead-times as well.
When delivery is virtualWhat happens to the current model of international channel management when delivery of physical products is entirely virtual until the "final mile?" If products aren't shipped? If IP theft no longer requires reverse engineering but only access to files that by definition can't be kept behind secure corporate firewalls? How are customs issues of tariffs & duties addressed?
There is a long list of "what-ifs." If I was a freight forwarder I'd be particularly concerned, and I'm sure that companies like UPS must be investing in concept development for secure control of local 3D printing assets to address IP, licensing, customs and other considerations.
But without veering too far afield into a thought exercise, what are the likely implications for your international channel management procedures?
Predicting precisely is a fool's game. But you can generally anticipate likely issues and it's not too early to start to discuss strategies with your professional advisors (particularly legal), and perhaps to start to incorporate certain concepts into your target profile and channel contracts. Certain technical and facility requirements will likely emerge, and IP, trademark and other legal protections will become more problematic.
And the ideal model may well morph from a distribution or agent default to one of JV or licensee. It will be an exciting adventure!
Plan defensively...seek opportunity offensivelyThere are risks and exposures to anticipate - but there are also short term opportunities. Consider attractive (large, vibrant) markets with high tariffs which are a barrier to entry. In most cases economic development policies favor local manufacturing - perhaps your business can quickly seize opportunities through early adoption. As Brazil grows its auto industry, for example, this could be an easy way to circumvent 40-70% tariffs by manufacturing additively (through a JV) in country.
The bottom line is that the story is yet to be written. But it is clear that it will be. And a business world that is already very global will become even more so. If you wait until the outcome is clear you will likely be frozen out. Don't overcommit early, but jump in. Innovate new ways to build your business by leveraging this technology.
And if you hadn't begun to think about this topic; if your in-house strategy folks never raised the topic, or your current "export consultant" takes a myopic approach, maybe we should chat. Contact Consilium today to discuss how substantive global business development expertise can impact your business.
For instance, have you ever thought about the potential impact on your business valuation?
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Tue Dec 04 11:12:00 UTC 2012
Will history repeat itself?American companies were largely caught flat-footed by the influx of low-cost imports from China at the end of the last millennium. The competitive juggernaut began as a trickle in the 80s and accelerated into the 90s in a trend that is widely understood and acknowledged.
But US companies have battled back - that's what we do. American manufacturing competitiveness leads the world. (Although manufacturing jobs have dropped our manufacturing output has grown consistently and substantially.) As Americans do, we responded with creativity, innovation and determination and clawed our way back.
And now China's largest manufacturing challenge is actually stemming the flow of manufacturers fleeing as its own manufacturing costs have soared, largely eliminating the cost advantage.
But remember that we had endured similar challenges from other Asian economies (e.g. Japan) before, but were still caught unawares by the Chinese ascendance.
It may be about to happen again. Will we acknowledge it and preemptively meet the challenge?
B2B Marketing will be the next competitive battlefieldWARC (@warceditors) recently presented a digest of a study done by PR Newswire of Chinese marketers. Read the article for more data, but much of the information is captured in this quote.
"brand owners in China are heightening their focus on content marketing, with digital platforms like microblogs, video and mobile assuming increased prominence"
Let's put aside for a moment the whole debate regarding intellectual property and the ethics of a "copying culture." We must acknowledge that the Chinese have shown themselves to be quite adept at identifying what works and duplicating it in various forms.
So recognizing that they can't predicate successful future competition solely on their low cost strategy of the past, they are awakening to the need to market proactively. And even a cursory overview of the current marketing landscape brings any observer to the inescapable conclusion that a core (there are many flavors and approaches) of content marketing is the appropriate strategy for today's markets.
Therefore we shouldn't be surprised that the determined and capable business people in China will adapt their approach and adopt content marketing approaches.
First mover and qualityBut before we freak out....what's the first rule of content based inbound marketing?
Quality content is the foundation. And quality content is creative and original - that's what makes it awesome and shareable.
And what's the most common indictment of the Chinese approach? Lack of quality, followed closely by lack of originality. Are you seeing a competitive disadvantage here?
Without a doubt Chinese marketers will be far more effective inbound marketing to Chinese customers. (We know a lot about international marketing. This is an example of why it's critical to "know what you don't know" and to use local resources. So your company could also effectively inbound market in China if you do it correctly!) But their early efforts to create English language inbound marketing inertia from their offices in China aren't going to be very good. Experience tells us they will quickly improve.
That means that for the foreseeable future, skilled American practitioners of inbound marketing will have an edge in the US market and a number of others. While that edge will eventually vanish, another attribute of good inbound marketing will buffer early adopters against sudden competition.
The nature of inbound marketing creates a substantial "first mover" advantage - just as it doesn't provide immediate results when you start. If you start sensibly (good strategy, well researched personas, remarkable content mapped to stages of the sales funnel and presented via complementary channels, consistent off-page SEO, etc.) within 6-12 months you will have established a head start that will be nearly impossible to overcome in the short-term. And presuming you stay ahead of trends then your advantage will create a competitive barrier for much longer.
And that advantage, of course, would distinguish you not only from import competition from China, but also from your domestic competitors.
Like it or not, it's a global marketThat's reality. You will face increasingly competitive import challenges. But from your selfish perspective you don't necessarily need to outrun the lion - you only have to outrun enough of your herd to that the lion will be sated by others.
You understand that, and devote lots of resources to your product innovation for just that reason. But let this be your call to action - you MUST innovate your sales and marketing approaches as well. Start now as early action provides a clear advantage.
And also recognize the corollary to the reality of import challenges. You can play that game too! There are amazing "green field" market opportunities in developing markets. Seize them!
So really the question isn't whether history will repeat itself. Of course it will. The real question is whether you'll get caught trying to pick up a dime off the road in front of the steam roller or whether you'll create your own opportunities.
This confluence of factors is precisely the premise of Consilium's unique approach to business development. Evolutionary marketing and new markets - using inbound marketing best practices to set yourself apart, and then doing so in rapidly growing markets. That's business for the 21st century. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you stay ahead of the horde, your competitors, your demanding banker or whomever is nipping at your corporate heels!
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Mon Dec 03 11:03:00 UTC 2012
Jeremy Grantham - On the Road to Zero GrowthIn a rather dry, lengthy and scholarly article (not bad things - just reality in case you are tempted to read it) the founder of the global investment management firm GMO postulates that a complex set of relationships between various factors (primarily productivity and natural resource availability) likely portend 5-6 decades of essentially 0% growth.
0% growth for five to six decades....how's that built into your business plan and projections?
He projects that "all the remaining growth will be in those developing economies that function effectively in the face of the resource and environmental squeeze."
Certainly there are any number of brilliant economists who will offer other scenarios - and many which will fit comfortably into your business plan. There's only one problem - and it's one that you already know but you try to keep forgetting.
It really feels different this time...because it is differentMaybe in the end its not 5-6 decades. Maybe its not 0%. But helloooo - no matter how hard you wish, it's not going back to the halcyon days of the late 80s. Period. (And don't let an occasional outlier - a higher growth quarter - lull you back into complacency!)
So instead of quibbling over just how anemic it might be (on a continuum from flatline to ICU) how's about we collectively put that energy into a solid strategy that accommodates the reality.
What has worked...won't.
Traditional assumptions...will be shown to be invalid.
Accepted wisdom...will be comically naive.
But if the tried and true won't work, what will?
Be a growth magnet - and detectorIt's a business truism that many successful ventures are launched during challenging financial times. When the upside isn't so rosy, the downside isn't as daunting. So take the same approach to your existing business. View this period of slow growth not as something to be endured, but rather as a catalyst to position yourself for breakout growth. Here's how.
First, make it easy for folks to find you; to interact with you; to learn about you; and to engage you. Be a magnet for business! You'll do that by evolutionizing your marketing. And make sure you do it in a way so that all the amazingly creative folks out there noodling interesting ideas will learn about your core solutions in a general enough way that they can envision new applications. You've got your own R&D, but there's a world of open source R&D at your disposal too. Present your company's solutions so that others can build on them - growing your business in the process.
What do I mean? Just because you come from a certain industry background; invented your technology to address a problem you know well from that experience; and traditionally market it to folks who have the same background, speak the same language and have the same problem to overcome...doesn't mean that's your only target. Other folks in other industries with other problems (maybe similar) that you don't know about are looking for solutions too. Be easy for them to find!
Second, go where the growth is! Remember where Grantham said the growth would be? "all the remaining growth will be in those developing economies" That's not going to be in Kansas anymore. Rather it means targeting new markets with an international business development strategy.
Growth market strategyMany American businesses hesitate to export. Typically that hesitation is predicated on misunderstandings of risk. And often those misunderstandings originate in myths - or in the experiences of companies which take a haphazard approach to global sales - you might call them "accidental exporters."
But realistically how many things do you do well when you do them by accident? Honest answer....not many, right? So if "accidental" is the problem then "on purpose" must be the answer. And what does "on purpose" look like when it comes to new markets? It's an integrated strategy.
That means there's no instant gratification. It takes commitment, work and patience. It also takes (if you want to do it right and efficiently) a lot of expertise - more than you get from a couple "stale bagel breakfast export briefings" - and resources. But there are solutions to both of those too. Uncle Sam may have resources to chip in, and Consilium has the expertise.
Contact us today to learn about how our international business development experience can be brought to bear on your challenge of growth in a stagnant economy.
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Thu Nov 29 11:20:00 UTC 2012
The long painful declineMost companies are dying. They just don't know it yet.
That's true in any era, but especially in today's increasingly competitive markets. Companies that aren't proactively moving forward; essentially any that adopt the attitude of "maintaining until things turn around", are decaying. The decay accelerates as revenue stagnates and then falls. Capable employees, sensing the impending demise, depart, leaving the less dynamic as the force holding the fort.
It's a sad scenario. One that market forces periodically impose, and one that is likely to become more common. Indeed fundamental market realities have changed dramatically and relatively few B2B SMBs have acknowledged much less adapted.
But there is a group that have acknowledged and simply can't adapt. Once the decline begins, cash very quickly tightens, and taxes, payroll, bank and vendors are paid - often in that order. Any new, strategic initiative (e.g. B2B marketing or global business development) is absent from that list. That's a tragedy. But what if there was a workaround?
Bootstrap like a start-upI know. That's easy to say, but it's different now. The bills are big and the monthly nut is, frankly, horrifying. How did it get so big anyway!!??
But that's reality. You can only live on ramen so long and you've got to get this thing turned around. You can dabble in DiY projects, allocating a few moments as you have time between fire fighting, but that's a distraction, not a strategic initiative. The bottom line is you need outside support. But that takes money. So now we've come full circle....what to do.
If....if your company is suffering because you got your clock cleaned by import competition, the US Department of Commerce Trade Adjustment Assistance program might be the answer.
Are there strings? Of course. But if you are determined to get back on top of your game, institute strategic programs that will not only preclude another crisis but actually improve your businesses so that henceforth you're doing the clock cleaning, then this might be a perfect solution.
Consultants fees and business regenerationThe best news (for you AND me) is the nature of the funding and its typical use. According to the TAA Website "If an import-impacted manufacturer intends to change its business to better compete, anticipates using consultants to implement these plans and could use a boost in paying for the expertise, then TAA is a good fit."
Even Uncle Sam knows you need help...have you admitted it yet?
50/50% cost splitting up to $150,000. That's enough to vault your B2B marketing ahead of nearly every global competitor and launch you into lucrative global markets.
So maybe it comes down to this. Are you too run down? Just want to milk your "lifestyle" business as long as possible, or are you "Mad. Mad as hell and not going to take it anymore!!"?
Well if you think it's "like everything is going crazy" then get mad. Give us a call. Let's talk about a dynamic, strategic, proactive business development program built on our parallel approaches of evolutionary marketing and new markets. And let's talk about how TAA may make it feasible for your company.
Get up now - go open your window and yell at us!
And then download the piece through this link below.
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Mon Nov 19 12:03:00 UTC 2012
Potential value waiting to be unlockedAs sad as it can be to see a vibrant American company slowly stagnate and decay because of management that was too "traditional" the beauty of "the market" is that it can also provide the resources (cash, experience, strategy, expertise, management) to unlock the latent value in otherwise solid companies.
And one of the most compelling ways to do so is to focus on B2B (often industrial) companies that have stagnated due to a solely domestic focus amidst market evolutions and the transition of growth from North America to emerging markets.
Funky MetricsNow, all you numbers jockeys, before you get your knickers in knots let me acknowledge...cash flow. I get it. You're not buying companies out of charity. The deal has to stand on its merits.
But let's back up. Unless we're talking about a strategic acquisition that promises accretive earnings as a bolt-on business unit, then the deal is predicated on unlocking some value. Now, that value is often in operational efficiencies and other various areas of performance that will improve with capable management.
But why are those the primary areas of value that get considered? What if......
Global BlowoutWhat if the company was stagnating, not because they didn't know how to purchase properly or negotiate favorable credit terms, but rather because they didn't know how to sell? Taken a step further, if their selling had been stuck in an 80s model - built for the "go go" days of American B2B business growth - that was built around silos of ineffective marketing and decreasingly effective direct sales...all focused on domestic market growth.
Given that we're talking about stagnating companies, they are in industries which are domestically maturing - or at least slowing to no more than the background rates of GDP growth. You know the type I mean - many still have wood paneling on office walls which exhibit the must of the days when the office atmosphere was thick with cigarette smoke.
But those companies that seem destined for irrelevancy here have, in many cases, IP and product and application expertise which is precisely what is needed in emerging markets. And given the chance, there are certainly other creative and entrepreneurial folks domestically who could take that kernel and apply it in new, exciting and profitable ways.
In other words, if you market it in a way that allows folks outside of the traditional circle to learn about a solution, they will find ways to use it and clamor to buy it. And if you introduce it to folks in emerging markets, after they hammer you on the price, they'll likely buy a ton of it.
Enterprise valuation and business growth
If you have strong financial and operational management, and grow a company at 10, 20 or 25%, you're going to increase valuation. Open up new verticals and expand into diverse, rapidly growing new geographical markets and you'll enhance the metrics that contribute to valuation.
Is this potentially a longer process than simply cutting the fat? Probably. Maybe it's a 5-7 year window to the next liquidity event rather than 3-5. But it's also a far more dynamic process likely to reward owners both in the interim as well as in the sale.
But here's the question. Why aren't there PE funds that focus on this opportunity? America's industrial base hasn't been eviscerated as many assert, but it is beginning to wither. Here's a huge opportunity to create substantial investor and enterprise value.
If you know of a fund that is in this space, or if you'd like to discuss the opportunity, contact me at +1 978.238.9898 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you want to skip the PE buyout trauma and create blowout growth for your company, contact Consilium to discuss the parallel approaches of evolutionary marketing and new markets.
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Fri Nov 16 11:30:00 UTC 2012
A "foreign" problemHave you ever caught the show "Locked up Abroad" while channel surfing? Once you get past the voyeuristic element of a bird's eye view of someone's misfortune, there's a certain "There but for the grace of God go I" emotion that it evokes.
Now I don't mean that you might have tried to smuggle some cocaine with your surf board at one point - but it's easy to see how bad choices that were thought to be relatively innocent can lead to expensive (at least) and sometimes terrifying consequences.
I spend lots of time talking with companies and soothing their concerns - telling them not to be scared of exporting and to embrace the opportunity of global sales growth. So this piece runs somewhat counter to my normal approach. However, companies that jump into exporting without a comprehensive understanding of the interrelated elements of a properly designed program leave themselves exposed to unknown risks. And export "consultants" that lack a high-level perspective to complement niche expertise often compound the problem.
Locked up in customsA common example is a snafu in customs. Companies new to exporting will often assume that this is a simple logistics concern. (And it will reinforce the myths about risk and complications - particularly because companies just starting to go global tend to focus inordinately on transactional issues - and assume those will go smoothly.)
What they'll fail to understand is the potentially broad implications of the customs snafu. Sure you need to pick a great freight forwarder, but this could be a much bigger problem. For example:
- If you haven't registered your trademarks...it could be that a squatter (or disgruntled former agent/employee/distributor) has and now your entire shipment has been seized as counterfeit. Can that really happen you ask? It sure can.
- If your L/C is about to expire, now you have a finance problem as well. Of course you could have skipped the whole L/C issue (cost, intricacy and deadline) by having a foreign receivables credit insurance policy in place...but you didn't.
- If your local agent/distributor hasn't been carefully and routinely trained in the FCPA things might be about to get a whole lot worse for you. Trying to help, and pursuing the typical local remedy, they may well pay an expected bribe to customs to get your product released. They may mean well but you'd be the one (even if you didn't know about it much less condoned it) with personal criminal exposure.
- Maybe there's a problem with import licensing - did you have all the necessary permits and documentation? (And speaking of that do you routinely conduct denied party screening prior to shipping internationally?) You might have a compliance problem.
- Who vetted your classifications? Imagine the headache (and cost) if this customs incident actually opens a can or worms about classification, duties owed and a number of previous shipments for which you now have retroactive exposure....
Weaving it all togetherThat's precisely why I so strongly advocate for an international business development strategy which integrates multiple disciplines woven together into a global business methodology which avoids the complications of silo skills and "unknown unknowns."
Integrated strategy will include finance, international marketing, risk management, logistics and channel considerations with legal and strategy elements throughout.
So it's not just a simple "customs" problem, and it's quite possibly not even something your freight forward should have anticipated. Rather it's a reminder that if you are going to "go global" you should do so properly.
Contact Consilium to learn how we could help your company solidify its international business development strategy.
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Dave Kaupp - Thu Nov 15 12:00:00 UTC 2012
Why Lead Nurturing Matters
Would you ask someone to marry you on the first date? Of course not…at least most of us wouldn’t. So why would you expect someone to buy from you on their first introduction -- especially when they’re just entering the lead cycle or doing basic research on a topic when you appeared in their search results.
This situation reminds me of an old advertisement from McGraw-Hill…it’s the old conservative businessman sitting in a chair looking straight at you with the following copy supporting the ad:
“I don’t know who you are.
I don’t know your company.
I don’t know your company’s products.
I don’t know what your company stands for.
I don’t know your company’s customers.
I don’t know your company’s record.
I don’t know your company’s reputation.
Now – what was it you wanted to sell me?”
MORALE: Sales Starts before your salesman calls- with business publication advertising.
Well, McGraw-Hill was ahead of it’s the times and this ad copy holds true today with the exception of the “Morale” copy. Today lead nurturing and content marketing have surpassed a majority role in the sales process and the lead nurturing process takes precedence. Hence, the new “morale: copy should read:
MORALE: In simple, plain English, lead nurturing means engaging with qualified leads until they are ready to make a buying decision.
How Does lead nurturing help close the sales cycle these days?
Lead nurturing is one of the most powerful marketing tools and if used correctly, it can help firms increase conversions, sales and customer retention rates in the following ways:
- Generate and capture more qualified leads
- Increase conversions, upsells and customer retention rates
- Strengthen customer relationships
- Optimize the customer experience for every visitor to a company website
Remember that first date? Walk before you run. You get people to subscribe to your newsletter, read your blog, download your whitepaper, watch a video tutorial, take a demo and many other types of activities designed to help your prospects through the sales cycle. Once you have a lead, you don’t try to sell anything until you figure out that the lead is “ready” to make a purchase.
This process allows for a prospect or leads to mature, you’ve provided value to your lead by giving them more useful information, case studies, informative videos and other types of content through their journey. So why do you take all this time and effort to develop and deploy all types of content? Simple; it’s part of the new sales process and how customers and prospect buy today. This helps your customers develop trust in your brand and overcome the barriers to make a sale.
Everyone has a number and there are there are a lot of percentages doing the rounds on the internet regarding how much % of people are not yet ready to buy from you the first time they land on your website -- 70%, 85%, 90% just Google it!
The truth is that majority of your prospective customers will never buy from you the first time they come to your website. That’s where lead nurturing comes into play.
So what’s the Net, Net?
You need to establish lead nurturing techniques to get website visitors onto your list, build a good relationship with them and when you think they are ready to make the sale, present them an offer. You’d be surprised at how many people will convert to a paying customer when you adopt this strategy.
One of the biggest challenges facing small and medium size businesses is generating revenue from website visitors who may not yet be ready to purchase services immediately. In fact, studies have shown that 50% of visitors are not ready to buy when they first come to a merchant’s website, and that 80% of leads never convert into sales due to poor communication. That’s why an effective lead nurturing program can increase sales by 20%-30%.
Consistent and strategic content development and lead nurturing communications are critical before you can effectively market to your existing leads and prospects in your pipeline and you must find innovative ways to drive meaningful traffic to your website and then nurture them though their journey. You should have a series of automated lead nurturing programs if you expect create value offers that will help you drive traffic and build up your database of leads. If content is king then lead nurturing are the knights of the roundtable.
So you’re starting to drive leads to your website and understand they may not be ready to buy on the first visit. The obvious objective is to convert these web visitors into leads and capture their information in a contact form, typically based on a relevant, optimized content offer. IMPORTANT: Make sure your offers have real value -- give your site visitors a reason to register their contact information. This could be a free consultation, video tutorial, demo, eBook etc. Once the web visitor has been converted to a lead via a registration process you can start to implement your lead nurturing process and move this visitor through the sales pipeline. Whatever you do, don’t start to bombard your leads with irrelevant email blasts. Email is already broken and let’s face it, how many interruption marketing emails are already in your inbox that you simple cannot address.
Time to get creative
In order to keep prospects on your email list and to get them to open the emails and maybe even click through and convert, you need to get creative. Make sure that your emails are written and designed for conversion best practices. Try to keep the email content short and witty, with subject lines that are to the point and easily defined calls-to-action that give your prospects a reason to move through the sales funnel. And keep it fun and interesting! Don’t worry about coming across to casual. It’s much better to err on the side of casual and fun than boring and stiff. The kinds of emails that nurture leads include welcome emails, auto-responders, recurring campaigns and RSS/blog subscription.
Here are a few tips and best practices for developing a great lead nurturing workflow:
- Identify who you will be targeting
- Create a goal for the campaign
- Make the campaign personal and send it from a real person
- Keep it relevant
- Don’t forget to include calls-to actions
- Create a list/identity form that will trigger the lead nurturing workflow
- Write several emails and save them for automation
- Create several workflows
- Analyze, analyze, analyze
Consilium's approach to lead nurturing is an inegral part of the inbound markeing process is built on parallel approaches of evolutionary marketing and new markets. Call us today to discuss whether our unique approaches and business development consulting expertise are the right match for your corporate strategy and objectives.
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Ed Marsh - Tue Nov 13 13:30:00 UTC 2012
Holistic Approach to Export MarketsThere's often a gap between the intellectual and emotional embrace of change initiatives. For many American companies this is true in both the key areas where I often interact with them - evolutionary marketing and new markets.
Often the intellectual embrace comes early (trends are clear and today's brutal markets require innovation and new strategies) but the emotional embrace only occurs after some sort of a traumatic event like a banker threatening work-out.
Here's another possibility - let the traumatic event come in a positive form. The recognition of enormous and unrealized opportunity could serve as a similar "wake up call" but one with positive rather than negative consequences. Africa may offer that wake-up for many companies.
Africa - the last "Emerging Market"I've long maintained that there is exciting and compelling growth opportunity for American SMBs in many global markets. Although I have traditionally cautioned against a willy-nilly embrace of the BRICs, and noted that many "emerging markets" have actually already emerged, I remain convinced that consumption growth in international markets has the potential to be the prime growth driver for many American companies.
But of all the opportunities, the most compelling "green field" is certainly Africa. A recent McKinsey report "The rise of the African Consumer" provides a variety of compelling statistics and strategy tips. Noteworthy among these are:
- Importance of metro areas
- Huge diversity of market conditions
- Importance of localization
- First mover brand loyalty considerations
- Channel management challenges
- Marketing localization requirements
Adaptive & Evolutionary MarketingWant to penetrate and succeed in the green field of African market opportunities? Proper product localization will be critical (consumption habits, price points and distribution channels are all different) and marketing localization will be a make/break discipline.
Understanding the digital marketing opportunity (internet adoption in metro areas is ahead of many developing markets) requires a thorough familiarity with the idiosyncrasies of the African mobile environment. In fact mobile data and SMS marketing are simply the keys (after customer referrals) to success in these markets.
Inbound marketing (what we call evolutionary marketing) should be the fundamental strategy of any American business intent on growth in today's global markets. An international strategy which integrates the multiple relevant disciplines critical to global sales success will focus resources on certain areas including international inbound marketing. With that focus not only will pockets of potential opportunity be uncovered, but programs can be proactively adapted to target markets. That's the power of the parallel business development paths of evolutionary marketing and new markets. (Learn more at www.BizDevGrowth.com)
Skipping this step will void all the other resource intensive efforts companies may make in pursuit of global sales growth. It's critical.
And for companies eager to grow internationally through export sales to international markets, Africa is critical too. No, it's not NAFTA - but it may be far more important to your success in 10 years. Get started today. Contact Consilium to learn how we can help you and check out our free market report (we were months ahead of McKinsey!)
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Dave Kaupp - Tue Nov 13 12:00:00 UTC 2012
Wait! Who are we marketing too again?
At any given time in history the traditional role of marketing created content to support strategy only when necessary as it suited the company’s needs – a promotion, product launch, sales brochure or direct mail piece. Times have changes and the ability to develop targeted content specifically geared towards your customers’ needs is critical to the success or failure of your brand. Yes we’ve all heard the “content is king” but today it’s not just king but the entire kingdom. And, it’s not just about creating content for the sake of content, understanding who you’re developing content for is paramount in the process and, with the majority businesses today, it’s not just one individual, it’s several potential buyers.
It’s about content in context
Content marketing around the globe is gaining traction as well. But it’s not more content that we’re after. We already have more than enough.
Every day we get 100 thousand new videos,
1 million new blog posts
50 million new photos
95 million Tweets
We are all bothered by information overflow or interruption marketing. What prospects and customers search for is content that helps them with their problems and helps them make good (intelligent) buying decisions…something they do everyday.
As marketers we use content to connect with these potential buyers, during their buying process and afterwards. We use content to cement relationships that not only speaks directly to buyers, but also gets them speaking back to us in discussion. And we use content to distinguish ourselves as an expert and trusted provider. Again, it’s not just sufficient with any content. It’s only the meaningful compelling content that our target customers are interested in. Everything else just adds to the interruption marketing that we’ve become good at filtering out.
Understand your audience
A CMO from a Fortune 500 companies states: “When we have deep information about our customers, it makes all the difference in the world,” Hundreds, if not thousands of CMO’s across the globe make similar comments. Understanding exactly how buyers are behaving and thinking is becoming more of a premium for achieving success in marketing today and developing relevant compelling content that help they solve problems can make the difference between getting your marketing strategy right – or not.
OK, I would argue that “relevant content creation is now king” and the brick and mortar foundation of the kingdom is inbound marketing. Why? Inbound marketing forces you to give up that traditional approach to content creation. But constantly coming up with new content can be overwhelming, and if you panic and start pushing out content that’s a bad fit for your audience, you risk attracting the wrong kind of visitor while driving away high-quality prospects.
Relevant content to a relevant audience
Today’s CMO’s must have a detailed picture of their target audience in order to create optimal content for them. One of the best ways to understand your audience is to build buyer personas. There’s been a lot written about how to build buyer personas but typically it boils down to with these 3 steps: segment by demographics, identify their needs, and develop behavior-based profiles.
1. Segment by Demographics
Who are your ideal customers and prospects? What are their biggest concerns, needs, and interests? Where do they browse search, read, online and can you reach them – on search engines, social media, blogs – and what kinds of content do they prefer? These types of questions will help you develop buyer personas.
NOTE: Personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers, based on real data about customer demographics and online behavior, along with educated speculation about their personal histories, motivations, and concerns.
One of the best ways to start developing buyer personas is by researching your existing customer base to identify the most common buyers for your products and services. You may have several different types of buyers, so give each one a detailed description, including name, job title or role, industry or company info, and demographic info.
For example, a large retail chain’s biggest customers may include small business owners and mothers managing for a family of four. In this case, the chains marketers might name these personas “Business Owner Bill” and “Susan, the Busy Mom,” and extrapolate details about their responsibilities, the typical size of their business or household income, what geographic region they’re in, and so on.
2. Identify Their Needs
Based on those profiles, you can outline the pains, needs, and challenges of each persona by asking yourself several important questions:
What are the biggest problems they are trying to solve?
What do they need most in a retail chain?
What information are they typically searching for when they are online?
What trends are influencing their business or personal success?
Understand and analyze that prospects take on the journey to becoming a customer is a great way to get insights about the needs and challenges of your target audience. If you use a marketing platform like HubSpot, you can see which search terms brought prospects to your site, how long they stayed on your site, which pieces of content they viewed, and which forms they’ve filled out. Such lead information will help you make better decisions when identifying the characteristics of your ideal customers and ways to nurture your new prospects.
3. Develop Behavior-Based Profiles
Finally, develop a profile of each persona’s typical online behavior. You know who they are and what their needs are, now think about all the ways they research a potential purchase on your site or on others. Here are suggestions of the questions you should ask:
What kind of information do they tend to consume online? Educational pieces? Trend articles? Interactive tools like calculators or worksheets? Do they watch videos or listen to podcasts?
Which of your products do they spend the most time researching? How do they use those products?
The result of this process should be a detailed description of your personas’ demographics, needs, and behavior. The more detail you pack into your persona development, the easier it will be to build and manage a successful content strategy for each of your target customer segments and know where to promote it. In the end remember, relevant content is king and understanding your audience is absolutely critical and fundamental for all successful content marketing.
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Dave Kaupp - Thu Nov 08 14:25:00 UTC 2012
CMO’s today face many challenges today while developing and executing their global growth strategies. At the forefront of this strategy and, one of their most valuable assets, is their website. Website(s) and micro-sites they create and manage supports their entire company, helps build equity and promote their products and services. It's one of the first places potential and existing customers’, prospects, and stakeholders source to find information and transact business and is arguably the most critical tools in their arsenal for driving demand and creating brand equity.
Both the CMO's role and marketing in general has also change significantly over the past several years. Primarily traditional to digital methods and, the paradigm shift between sales and marketing (primarily due to how people use the internet) marketing, business development and growth strategies including inbound marketing are now one of their primary functions. In addition, new strategies for growth have shifted and US business growth at only a 5% rate just doesn’t cut it.
Consequently, business growth and expansion strategies now encompass global marketing and new markets. This of course demands a well-developed; search optimized and localized website or microsite as companies seek to grow their business through international expansion. If your international marketing strategy is not well aligned with your foreign markets, it can mean success or failure can make for your product and brand.
Before you consider exporting and expanding your business globally, here’s a list of critical factures supporting your web strategy that must be well-thought-out before taking those first steps.
1. Country Selection is Critical
Choosing new target countries based on existing analytics is a good idea to support your export initiative, but is not the best way to decide in which languages to roll out your new web site additions. For instance, if you sell ‘GiantWidgets’ to the French on your existing web site then what a good idea to try and expand those sales by checking on what the French are looking for. You may find that they actually search for ‘GiantWidgets’ in English because that’s how they most easily expect to find them. Perhaps some additional support via paid search targeting the Netherlands would be a good idea. But localizing your web site into Dutch would target the same people who are already buying and may not increase their propensity to buy.
Meanwhile, some keyword research might reveal that the Italians (who fanatically buy GiantWidgets) are not using your web site at all – so an Italian language web site would incrementally add to your sales in the way that adding Dutch would not. Your analytics are never going to tell you this.
2. URL Structure
- Decide on url structure: Separate domain with ccTLD (www.sample.ru)
- Subdomain (uk.sample.com)
- Subdirectory (sample.com/cz)
3. Choose Keywords Wisely
Translating keywords is by far the most dangerous trap of all in international SEO rather than the technical hosting issues or the cultural risks – not appreciating that ‘keywords’ cannot be translated is rule number one. If you’re not a linguist, this can be a difficult concept to appreciate but the fact is that ‘keywords’ are convenience words – not really normal words – created by people to help them search and then responded to by search marketers.
So for instance, let’s take ‘car insurance’ by way of example. The correct translation of this into French would be ‘assurance voiture’ where ‘car’ equals ‘voiture’ and ‘assurance’ equals ‘insurance’ which does see a small number of searches. However, most search volume is at ‘assurance auto’ where ‘auto’ is an abbreviated form of ‘automobile’. French searchers and speakers have simply adopted this phrase out of convenience. The translation simply goes to the wrong place. This happens in all languages including English. See our eBook on International Marketing Considerations.
The solution to this is in fact, very simple. You simply recreate the keywords in the target language exactly the same way you would do in English. What that means is using a native-speaker of the target language – who is also trained in search marketing – researches them from scratch.
Write quality content about those keyword subjects. Be sure to use title tags, meta descriptions, and header and alt tags. Use keywords in page, directory, and media file names.
Build links to pages of your site and increase social mentions (e.g. likes, +1s, tweets, shares).
Host your site in the targeted country.
Set up a Google Webmaster Tools account and designate the country preference.
Build links and social mentions specifically from sites / users in the targeted country.
List your physical address in that country (if available).
Optimize content after translation.
4. International Paid Search Tips
Choose Keywords Wisely
Watch those match types and use lots of negative keywords.
Test, test, test
Preferable generally to write ads in foreign language; seek a fluent/native speaker to write ads if possible.
Make sure landing page is written in same language as ads. You can use a tool like Google Translate in a pinch, but won’t convert as well as human translation.
In Google AdWords, special characters take up two spaces –this matters. You only get 25-35 per line.
Study the competition to get a sense for accepted tone in that culture.
Sending traffic to a site with the targeted ccTLD can help.
5. SEO vs. Paid Search for International
Don’t pay for clicks. Can be less costly, depending on number of targeted countries.
You build benefits from optimizing your site that can have mid-to long-term lasting impacts even after ending efforts.
If you’ve really optimized a site for a particular country, it’s likely to look very credible and useful to the local audience.
6. Benefits of Paid Search
Great for testing, especially when you don’t know the best target audiences.
Extremely fast. Can open an account and be up within hours or weeks depending on the search engine.
Less expensive typically if you’re going after large numbers of countries.
Control daily budget, days and hours ads show, geographic targets*, and more.* Note ip targeting is not as accurate to sub-country levels in many countries.
7. Costs of Paid Search
Costs depend on a variety of factors, including how much time you are willing to put in vs. using an outside contractor.
Depending on your vertical and market, you can run some really inexpensive campaigns.
One client averages less than $0.20 per click in their foreign markets. Many have turned out to be extremely profitable. Some have not, but they are monitored closely and cut if not performing. While lower than average among our clients, some months they may not spend $250 total on all foreign targeting.
8. Responding to cultural differences is key
But this is only really good marketing. I get a little tired of all the stories about the ‘Pinto’ in Brazil being mixed up with part of the male body. (See our video on this). In fact there are a great many famous Brazilians with that name as a surname, but the truth about culture is that countries reveal it in what they search for. Good keyword research can be used not just to improve the performance of your site generally but to understand how your potential customers are thinking and which products might be the best ones to target selling to them via that web site.
Evolutionary Marketing New Markets Blog - Dave Kaupp - Tue Oct 30 20:22:00 UTC 2012
How many times a day or week have you asked business colleagues "How's business?" The answer I hear a lot is, "It’s slow, not much growth, last several quarters sucked. But what are ya gonna do? How can an SMB achieve business grow in this economy?"
It's a fair question because these are indeed tough, scary times. The US economy is unpredictable, seemingly unstable and mostly unfriendly when it comes to owning and operating a small or medium-sized business. Just as many B2B companies have continued to embrace decreasingly effective and traditional sales and marketing models, many have also resisted the recommendation to pursue the enormous global growth opportunities that are available.
So where’s the Business Growth Opportunity?
According to a SBA.gov / Report to the President on the National Export Initiative, 95% of the world’s consumers are outside the US and only 5% of American companies export states the US Department of Commerce. In both cases breaking out from the 5% substantially increases a company’s growth opportunity.
Companies that have hesitated face a big task for sure. But there are abundant resources available to support their global initiatives, and compelling reasons why they should begin. As they endeavor to regain growth momentum with more effective domestic approaches (inbound marketing) they can concurrently begin to explore the prospects that global expansion affords.
The metrics are incontrovertible and overwhelming. Incremental growth will be primarily found in foreign markets. Certainly companies with innovative products and strong competitive positioning can create domestic growth, but that growth will be extracted from a nearly “zero sum” environment. In other words domestic growth will come at the expense of competitors. In contrast foreign markets offer absolute growth AND opportunity for early advantage.
As clearly exemplified above, 2012 is the watershed year. Euromonitor International predicts that global GDP growth in coming years will originate in emerging and developing markets rather than traditional ones.
Looking further out, the trends in consumption are compelling. According to a quarterly report by McKinsey, Growth in consumption between 2010 and 2025 will be substantially concentrated in emerging markets.
How does this fit with my existing sales and marketing strategy?
Companies focused on growth need to consider parallel paths of evolutionary marketing and new markets. Although emphasis and resource allocation will vary, it is important to recognize that these two approaches represent parallel and viable avenues to growth.
More specifically, however, the same inbound marketing methodology that we suggest will power increased domestic sales will simultaneously generate intriguing international prospects. Even companies that focus their content effort in American English and optimization on a .com TLD (top level domain) website with American English keywords will find a large number of international leads. Many will be low quality. However a meaningful percentage will be real and substantial.
Some simple data mining will elucidate where pockets of potentially profitable demand lie, and focused strategies can be developed to target those leads. This domestic initiative can then be internationalized with TLDs for targeted markets, localized keywords and appropriate content, and automation (drip emails / texts) localized for language and culture.
In practice this means that the same fundamentally economical lead-generation methods that work domestically can be economically applied on a global scale. This creates huge opportunities for global lead generation driven from a domestic office with a modest staff...and opportunity companies would be foolish to ignore regardless of how intimidating they find export at first blush.
A change in approach is critical to success.
B2B sales and marketing efforts are at a crossroads. Traditional approaches clearly generate decreasing results. There is a vague awareness that things are different, yet in many cases not yet a crisis in revenue to prompt a dramatic change.
This creates an opportunity for senior executives to respond before businesses are too distressed to recover. But the response must be appropriate to the different environment rather than simply tweaks of existing models.
Ample research substantiates the evolution of marketing methods to satisfy new buying models. Tools and models are inexpensive and readily available, and the increased effectiveness and demonstrable value of inbound marketing methodologies make implementation even for small companies feasible. But the clock is ticking. According to a 2012 report from Optify.net on B2B Content Marketing Trends, 83.5% of B2B marketers are increasing their use of content – many ‘significantly’. Delay will result in a marketing deficit.
Rarely is a fundamental shift in business as clear in real-time as this change in the nature of the sales & purchasing processes. Executives committed to the viability of their companies have a huge opportunity to identify and adopt best practices.
In our recently published book on The Current State of B2B Sales & Marketing, Why owners and “C” Level execs should be pumped and VPs of Sales & Marketing should be terrified, we address both the conditions of today’s market and provide clear examples on how to fix it.