During the Olympics, the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Chancellor, Business Secretary and thirty-five other ministers, have welcomed around 3,000 business leaders and global figures (so far) to twelve Global Business Summits at Lancaster House in London. These guests have included over half of the FTSE 100 companies, alongside hundreds of international buyers, investors and policy makers. This is all part of an 18-day programme running into September and throughout the Paralympic Games.
Overall, hosting the Olympics is forecast to deliver around £13bn in economic benefit to the UK in the coming months and years, as businesses take advantage of the unique opportunities provided. This includes £1bn of extra sales for businesses taking part in the British Business Embassy programme, £4bn of high value overseas opportunities for UK firms in markets including Brazil, Russia and China, £6bn of inward investment and a £2.3bn boost to tourism.
We all work in a global market place. In an era where mass customisation is challenging companies to re-engineer their products and services to cater for anything for anyone who is anywhere at any time, having a global outlook is more important than ever.
Your international marketing strategy should be an extension of your UK strategy; differentiation is even more important in an international market – customers need to have a really good reason to work with you or buy from you. And increasing your profile and visibility is a key component of a successful international strategy.
Tips for local and international success in increasing your profile and visibility:
- Remember that the perceived value of a product or service should be infinitely more than the cost of providing it
- Given the cost of securing a new customer in the first place, work hard on a customer retention strategy
- Consider the cost control of activity levels – these can easily escalate
- Ensure delivery reliability
- Keep an eye out for the new interactive technologies providing delivery vehicles whereby customers can participate in the design of the service or product they are buying
- Send your best man or woman to new markets. This will give you a better chance of success, but be aware that this can have an impact on the UK outfit
There are also four key areas that I recommend for focus, by businesses looking for increased visibility and growth:
- Partnership marketing: Explore your supply chain (printers, software providers, logistics suppliers, etc) to see who else might want to reach the same market(s). Or how else can they help you/you help them, for example do they have an office there?
- Direct marketing: This needs to be measurable and tested to ensure it’s effective. Examples include trade fairs, telephones campaigns, mail shots, seminars and VIP events. Things to note:
- Exhibiting costs a lot so you must prepare. Then really work the stand and filter out time wasters
- Telephone calls should be personal so always research the name and ask the gatekeeper their name, so you have this for the next attempt!
- Mail shots must be memorable. They’re expensive and their effectiveness can be challenged
- Networking - a networking strategy can be powerful, but make sure you have plan and are prepared. Don’t be overly ambitious. Two to three quality leads per event are worth much more than twenty business cards. Face to face is paramount and VIP events can work really well in this respect. Host a seminar tackling a particular issue for a particular market segment and invite a ‘VIP’ audience of potential clients. Make sure they learn something and enjoy the experience of meeting their colleagues and competitors.
- Profile - reputation can be hugely significant in some countries, and aligning with a company with a good reputation helps reduce the buyer’s risk. Award wins can be a natural door opener – research and enter local ones then promote your wins. Have a really good PR plan in place and don’t get on a plane without a raft of well-prepared information. Local media are willing and receptive to news from outside their market; use your case studies as much as you possibly can.
And finally - your definition of success should equate to more than just profit, with strategic success being driven by a combination of factors. Getting these right, will help you to achieve revenue growth, financial success, and a great reputation.
Christine Losecaat is Managing Director of Little Dipper, and Consulting Creative Director of UK Trade & Investment’s Olympic Legacy Unit
To watch presentations from leading international thought leaders from The Global Business Summits at The British Business Embassy – click here: http://www.ukti.gov.uk/export/sectors/globalsportsprojects/britishbusinessembassy/item/323880.html
For details of the UK Trade & Investment High Value Opportunities Programme – click here: http://www.ukti.gov.uk/uktihome/item/219720.html