Marketers often find themselves at the forefront of a company’s global expansion. The marketing team is usually responsible for carrying out the market research that will determine where a company should expand, and it’s usually charged with creating a plan for attracting customers.
Operating in the lead generation sphere for over a decade now, we’ve seen our fair share of mistakes companies have made when expanding their business globally, specifically in Asia. So, today we’ve singled out the most common mistakes that you should avoid when you plan on expanding into the vast APAC region.
Pay attention to internal data
Developing a global market entry strategy requires more complex and specialized market research. In the vast universe of data that can help you figure out which markets are best for you, the most important data points are 1) how much-estimated opportunity is available in that market, 2) how easy it will be for your company to do business in that market, and 3) how much success you’ve already had with that market.
Many companies rely heavily on external data sources to guide this decision-making. However, analyzing your own data will help you answer the latter two questions and determine whether you have a strong product-market fit. Are you seeing a surge in leads from a particular market, in spite of not investing heavily there? Do you see a shorter sales cycle or a higher win rate in some countries? Is the average purchase price higher in a given market? Third-party data sources don’t know your customer or understand your brand – only you can answer these types of questions. Marketers can do a better job of utilizing their own data to prioritize their global marketing decisions.
Adapt to their sales and marketing channels
Many companies (especially Western ones) believe they can enter new markets by following the same playbook that brought them domestic success. While brand consistency is important, different markets favor different sales and marketing approaches. For example, in countries where relationships have a higher cultural value, such as Singapore, selling products and services through local partners, such as resellers or channel partners, achieve faster success than direct sales models.
Similarly, marketers need to change up their own channels according to the behaviors of each market, and this can vary across countries within the same region.
Let your local teams take the lead
One of the most disappointing mistakes that companies commit is that they hire highly competent, intelligent local people to serve their overseas markets, but then fail to consider their input when making strategic decisions.
It’s extremely important that you let them take the lead because these individuals not only know the country in question, they know your business. The biggest challenge companies face with incorporating local insight tends to be communication. The marketing team must therefore put a system in place to help ensure that local views are captured and disseminated frequently enough. Don’t bring your company into a country the hard way. Leverage your existing relationships, and make sure to give their feedback extra weight. They are by far your most credible advisors.
Specify the country
Customers identify at the national level, and marketers need to remember that every country has its own local laws, cultural norms, forms of currency and payment, and unique business practices.
It’s essential to break up broader geographic “markets” into individual countries with distinct revenue and lead generation goals—and to conduct adequate local market research. Being more specific from the beginning helps tremendously with prioritizing one market over another, creating a staffing plan, and budget allocation—all of which are necessary for helping a company achieve its desired global goals. Research into local markets has to be aimed at understanding the market size, the challenges customers face, the solutions they currently have, and where your product can fit in. Many companies fail to think about these basics of product positioning at the country level and overlook things like strong local competitors.
As business continues to become more global, companies can gain a competitive advantage by focusing their marketing efforts on targeting the right international markets and adapting their products and strategies to appeal to local customers. They’d be wise to avoid these pitfalls.
We hope that this simple guide proves itself helpful in your quest of expanding into the APAC region. Should you have any inquiries or are looking for a lead generation partner, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Callbox would love to help you out!