The local market can be sustainable for a small business if you have everything perfectly set up. However, the global market gives your company a huge potential of growing faster and consistently. For one, tapping into the international consumer base gives you a good chance of increasing the number of your clients. This move can also build your creativity as a business because you’ll be serving customers who come with different demands.
Of course, every company would like to grow and build its global audience, but how to start this process is something that has eluded many entrepreneurs. From a theoretical point of view, it seems like a very simple project when you have all the resources. However, even the most established companies have found it difficult to venture into overseas markets. Perhaps, one of the biggest mistakes by these enterprises is the lack of enough emphasis on the basic factors. This article aims to discuss some of the tips that you should keep in mind before investing in this business move.
1. Product-Market Alignment
One thing that you need to keep in mind as you plan to venture into the international market is that your products should be able to meet specific customer demands. The value and qualities of the product should resonate with consumer needs, otherwise, your business might be doomed even before you start the adventure.
A product-market fit strategy should, therefore, include a strong value proposition, coupled with appropriate value creation processes. Value proposition refers to the idea that a particular product should satisfy a particular need, which, in most cases, is a demand that hasn’t been addressed by any other products in the market.
The value creation process, on the other hand, refers to the execution of activities that make it possible for a company to create and deliver an item that fully complies with a customer’s perceived need. There are many startups that fail to realize the importance of value creation and end up focusing more on product engineering than on the initial design and user experience. So, how will you make sure that your product-market alignment strategy is on point? Here are a few options to consider:
Of course, before tapping into any global audience, it’s important to understand their needs and social beliefs that might impact your business. One of the best ways of generating this knowledge is through tools like SurveyMonkey and other platforms where you can collect answers from potential consumers. Normally, companies will send a series of questionnaires to their target customers to gather information regarding preferences, buying habits, and purchasing intentions.
Of course, the more random the survey, the higher your chances of getting accurate results. By hiring a third party or using the right survey platforms, you’re likely to get good set samples of the target audience across the globe.
After collecting data from these people, you can go ahead and start the analysis process, while considering the statistical trends and patterns. From the results of this analysis, you can determine which products and services are in demand and which ones shouldn’t be prioritized. Make sure not to leave out any detail, including the packaging design and such, because these are some of the things that can easily determine the success of your product-market fit strategy.
Online Focus Groups
Online focus groups are the latest form of research techniques used by companies to conduct business research. Unlike offline focus groups, these can cover a wider range of audience, given the fact that people from different countries and regions can converge in one discussion platform and share their ideas. To have a controlled discussion and data collection process, it’s recommended that you hire a moderator or contract all related tasks to a specialized organization.
Perhaps, the best and most affordable avenue that brands are using today is social media. One advantage of this channel is its relevance in today’s market as a huge percentage of people is using social platforms on a daily basis. Therefore, you can be sure that you’ll come across a wide range of consumers who’ll be willing to voluntarily submit their views.
Remember, placing people in a controlled environment, which is, essentially, what traditional focus groups do, may not give you accurate results. Social media, however, is more organic since the participants are interacting like any other social environment.
The only disadvantage of social media, however, is the fact that you might not be able to moderate the audience’s interactions. In one way this is beneficial because it guarantees raw data, which will then give you a clear indication of what people are thinking about your business. However, the idea of having one share their views without any regard to the feelings of other people may break the whole process. Of course, some social media platforms have a way of regulating such behavior, but the available mechanisms are not as effective as the once employed in traditional focus groups.
2. Finding The Most-Profitable Countries
Which country would be ideal for your products? Something that you should always keep in mind as an entrepreneur is that not all people will like what you’re offering. Many beginners fail to come to terms with this fact, and that’s how they end up forcing their ideas to uninterested consumers. The product-market fit strategy is one thing, but finding a country with the most welcoming market is the most crucial part of your business research.
After finding the best region to open your business, you can go ahead and implement your localization strategy. This is a market approach that a brand considers so as to address the customer needs and cultural differences in each area. Since you’ll be entering a foreign market, then it’s safe to say that you can’t survive without a good plan to localize your operations; more on this later! But, first, how do you find the right country in which to invest? Read on.
Your success in the global market hinges on your understanding of the audience. As you’ve already seen in prior sections, the study, in this case, focuses mainly on user preferences, needs, and behaviors. Having your feet on the ground in these markets can be beneficial because you’ll not only be using theoretical statistics, but also your first-hand experience. But, obviously, that’s not possible to achieve, especially if you’re planning to go global. As such, many startups end up struggling with their initial campaigns.
Luckily, there is a goldmine of important consumer data already within your reach. Regardless of the location of your target audience, you can always learn about their demographics, interests, and behaviors through Google Analytics. As you’d expect, this tool has an enormous volume of data, which can again make it tough for you to draw actionable insights.
To get the enjoy the benefits of Google Analytics, the first step would be to set up a geographical location filter. This way, you’ll be able to view the activities of visitors from a particular location. You can also create filters based on the age limits, gender, and other demographics. Remember, the more specific you become, the higher your chances of getting high-quality results.
3. Adapt To The Local Culture
Whether you’re setting up a physical or an online business in a given country, you’ll always need to research and learn about that region’s local culture. Ensuring that your products or services blend with people’s beliefs is a good way of building your brand. In fact, culture is among the most significant factors shaping the global market. Therefore, it can be very difficult to succeed in your business if you don’t put up an effective localization strategy, which includes respecting various traditions.
For instance, there are places where certain products have been banned because of cultural beliefs. In other places, your services might be legal, but customers in other areas within that particular country don’t want to associate themselves with such activities. All these things bubble up to macro and micro cultures within a given locality.
Macro-Culture And Micro-Culture
Macro-culture is basically the dominant set of beliefs within a specific community. Normally, it’s defined nationally or regionally, depending on the country. These traditions are what makes one country unique from another, but you’ll definitely find similarities between two states if they come from a similar native background.
Micro-culture, on the other hand, can be defined as a subset of a nation’s dominant beliefs. For instance, a small section of a country that speaks a different language from the rest makes up a micro-culture. There are also smaller sub-groups in this category that are defined by their religion and occupation.
Venturing into the global market is an appealing idea, especially in the current technology-based world. However, if you don’t consider factors like product-market alignment and cultural beliefs, you could end up struggling to make it in a market filled with diverse consumers. Technology has made things easier with the introduction of Google Analytics and online focus groups. Using these tools to the fullest gives you a better shot at success in the international market.
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