by Jeffrey Spear, President - Studio Spear


When domestic sales opportunities have been fully exploited, and market penetration has reached saturation, savvy brand owners have realized meaningful enterprise growth through exports.


Based on population alone, many countries represent opportunities that are equal to, or many times larger, than those found at home. This being said, and to ensure reasonable returns on investment, it is essential that brand owners take the time to fully research, evaluate, and plan their export agendas.


In the course of developing export programs for companies around the world, Studio Spear ( has identified specific operational issues and marketing practices that are crucial for entry into foreign markets.


CONDUCT THOROUGH RESEARCH    The first thing we recommend is an intensive visit to the country or region identified as your sales target. When you meet with retailers, evaluate trading practices, identify influential media, develop local contacts and get a first-hand understanding of the competitive landscape, you can better align your offer, implement meaningful sales and marketing programs, generate interest from key audiences and position your brand well ahead of its nearest rival.


SATISFY A NEED   Just because your products sell well at home does not mean they will perform equally well overseas. Even if your product is considered best of breed, quality is subjective and cannot ensure success. In some cases, effective export programs are built entirely on appealing price structures, responsive customer service, and significant investments in promotional activity.


PLAN AHEAD   Successful export programs do not happen overnight. While participating in trade shows will help open markets, it takes a significant amount of time to launch and sustain a meaningful brand presence. Even after several years, brand building could fall short of projections and require further investment. Should you decide to move forward, you’ll want to prepare a 3-year marketing plan to guide the process. Remember, introducing new products and new brands overseas is not a sprint. It’s a marathon.


SET PROPER BUDGETS   Entering new markets is anything but cheap. When you consider 3 to 6 in-person visits per year, the cost of airfare and accommodations alone is significant. Add in costs for a sales team, trade shows, updated packaging, public relations, new product formulations, shipping, warehousing and related sales and marketing tie-ins, having accurate projections and well formulated operating budgets is essential.


SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE   When introducing new brands on foreign soil, cultural alignment requires more than just translation. When sales programs and key brand messages embrace indigenous themes and are culturally relevant, your brands are better positioned to capture the attention, and heart, of key buyers in targeted markets.


BE MARKET READY   Every aspect of product development, packaging, compliance, logistics, warehousing, and distribution must be fully resolved before you schedule your first sales meeting. You’ll also need comprehensive product descriptions, samples, pricing guidelines and an outline of the promotional support you will bring to the engagement.


When you’ve done your homework, you can eliminate many of the stumbling blocks that interrupt or delay buying decisions. Communication becomes more efficient, the sales cycle is shortened, market penetration is facilitated and your export program becomes operational.


If you are eager to increase sales and believe exports are what you need, Studio Spear has the strategic and creative talent to help you implement a truly global brand and penetrate international markets. For more information, call: 866 787 8761 - ask for Jeff Spear. You can also contact Jeff via email: