The step-by-step guide to creating a successful export marketing plan
Article co-written & researched by Maleah Grue
There is a lot more that goes into exporting products than the exportation itself. Before any business begins exporting products to new markets it is imperative they develop an export marketing plan, which acts as a road map for acquiring and retaining customers in each market.
Here are the seven questions you’ll need to answer before you write your marketing plan, plus the eight sections that every great marketing plan includes. Before creating your marketing plan, you should be able to answer these seven questions:
- What is your target market and what are some indicators that the market will respond well to your product?
- How do your competitors approach the market?
- Do adaptations need to be made to make your products suitable for the new market?
- What is the nature of your industry?
- What will your products cost in the new market?
- Who are your customers and where are they located?
- What is your company’s current marketing strategy and what do you need to adjust (such as language translations, currency, etc.) to appeal to your new consumer base?
Eight sections your marketing plan should include
Your marketing plan identifies business goals and objectives, along with a detailed outline of how you will achieve them, giving you the ability to measure and quantify your performance in each market.
The most effective marketing plans include these eight sections:
- Executive Summary. This is the overview of your entire marketing plan, including the strategy and tactics you are using to facilitate the exportation of your products.
- Product or Service Analysis. Use this section to describe the products you intend to export. Include details about your competitive advantage and marketability in the new target market.
- Market Analysis. Include a thorough market analysis with details on the economic, social, political, regulatory, legal and cultural characteristics of the target market. Use this section to highlight the profiles of the target customers, their buying patterns and any factor that influence their purchasing decisions. You will also want to detail why there’s a demand for your product or services in each market, such as using per capita income statistics to determine the affordability of your products, which can also help you when setting export prices.
- Competitive Analysis. This section explains the unique selling points of your product, your pricing strategy and how you intend to market your products. Insight on your competitors is incredibly valuable as it helps you understand the reality of the market, such as how much consumers are willing to spend on your products, giving you a clear indication of what will and won’t work.
- Goals. Setting goals is vital to your success so use this section to clearly define your export goals and explain how your marketing plan helps you achieve them. Establish S.M.A.R.T goals focusing on what you want to achieve (i.e. gain market share or earn X in revenue or profits) and when you expect to achieve them by.
- Marketing Strategy. Use this section to explain how you intend to promote your products or services to your target audience. By promotion, we mean all forms of communication and marketing tactics you will use to motivate consumers to buy your product. Communication includes various platforms such as paid media advertising, promotional materials, direct mail, personal visits, trade shows, social media and internet presence and so on.
- Implementation. Here you will outline how you intend to accomplish your goals. Establishing delivery schedules and setting marketing budgets is key. Your delivery schedules should include target dates for when you’ll implement promotions and what they cost, to keep you on track.
- Evaluation. Use this section to outline the metrics you plan on using to measure and evaluate your marketing success, including how closely your marketing plan was followed. Conduct evaluations at each stage of marketing to identify performance and determine if you need to adjust the plan to achieve your goals.
As you can see, marketing plans require a considerable amount of thought and planning for every business striving for a successful launch in a new market. For help planning your future export endeavors Du Plooy Law is here. Contact us today to get started.