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Export Marketing Plan
Looking to export overseas & bolster your eligibility for the EMDG? Look into developing an export marketing plan for your business.
What is an Export Marketing Plan?
An Export Marketing Plan will set out in full detail how your business has investigated each target export market and determine how the products/service you plan to sell can successfully fit into those markets. There are often huge differences between different overseas markets including cultural issues in various countries that mitigate against the use of a “one size fits all” approach. Therefore, your plan will identify the relevant factors in accessing each export market, demonstrate your capacity and ability to succeed in those markets and outline a logical methodology to achieve your aims.
The Export Marketing Plan specifically outlines how you will develop your international business. It details the target markets, your goals, activities and proposed ways of achieving objectives. It also outlines your expected results plus the required resources such as financial, personnel and production as well as any legal/approval requirements. The legal/approval issues can involve licenses, business registration in different jurisdictions and or trademark and patent requirements to protect your interests.
Why do an Export Marketing Plan?
The Export Marketing Plan focuses on marketing your product in other countries instead of your own. Although it applies strategies that are similar to domestic marketing, export marketing tends to be more challenging, since you must appeal to different cultures, ideals and tastes. Laws and regulations are also different from place to place. Export marketing may entail a greater risk and effort and may require substantial financial resources.
Therefore, planning is essential as it will allow your company to foresee obstacles and to mitigate risks. During the research necessary for the completion of the plan the feasibility of your export marketing will also become apparent. For example, is there a demand for your product/service in your target markets and quantifying that demand. In addition, is there the necessary resources and capacity to deliver including issues such as freight, currency fluctuations and or government approvals.
Essentially, the planning you undertake is advanced scenario thinking supported by research and facts and is vital to indicate a likelihood of success. It is especially relevant for potential investors, accessing government grants and support and for the proper management of your company’s development.
The Elements of a Plan
- About the Company
- Financial Resources
- Market Selection
- Pricing Strategy
- Market Entry
- Promotional Strategy
- Marketing Action Plan
- Management Review & Follow Up
Below we will detail each area of the plan and what information will make up the plan.
Here you outline what goods or services or knowledge/IP that the company is exporting?
You will note which particular markets your exports are aimed at and why the particular markets have been chosen. In addition, you outline the overall objectives for example, increasing profits, spreading market risk, increasing production, lowering unit costs and or improving brand image.
About the Company
Here you outline a brief snapshot of the company its legal structure and ownership.
And if you are currently successful in the domestic market as this indicates a solid foundation for exporting or, detail the strong resources available including financial investments, export knowledge and experience etc to make the export activities successful. Note: If the resources are not yet available you must outline how they will be acquired to deliver on your export marketing plans
› Marketing budget
Here you will detail the total marketing budget and how this will be spent. Include areas such as overseas marketing/sales representatives, marketing visits, paid advertising, promotional materials, cost of free samples, training for overseas partners, patent or trademark costs and costs for developing the marketing plan and/or engaging appropriate marketing consultants.
› Cash flow to fund orders
Here you address how the business will manage cash flow for potential large orders. This relates to the time between when your business is required to outlay costs to supply the order and when you are paid by your customer. Note: Separately in a Cash Flow Forecast Table you can provide the appropriate figures which will be necessary for investors and government support.
› Sustainability of export budget
Here you indicate how the business is able to withstand or manage additional expenditure to develop export markets until export business generates profits? Define this period of time. Note: often export sales can take longer to develop than originally anticipated.
Here include relevant experience of current management and staff and detail whether more resources will be required such as specialised marketing or sales staff or additional production staff etc. Note: usually strong management and staffing capability is vital to success in achieving export marketing goals and outcomes.
› Target Markets
Here you detail each target market and the key characteristics that led to choosing them. You provide detailed information for each location/country/export market.
› Market positioning in target markets
Your market position in overseas markets may not be the same as in Australia, and may not be the same in each export market. Provide market positioning details for each target market. For example, wholesale or retail, online or sold in shops etc.
› Competitor analysis
Detail who and where your competitors sit in the market compared with where your product/service will sit.
Provide significant details of competitors in each target market and evaluate their market share, strengths, weaknesses and what marketing edge your product/service can enjoy.
Note: The addition of a table can also be useful to present information which should be comprehensive.
› Distribution Methods
Here you outline how you will get your product or service to the end customers in each target market.
Include information on distribution, timing, freight and any licenses or approvals needed and how they will be secured.
› Sales Goals
The anticipated sales figures for each export market broken down into appropriate time frames such as monthly or annually. Note: these figures will also inform your Cash Flow Forecast.
Include the key features and benefits that will make the product/service attractive to potential export customers. Note any relevant cultural considerations and market research to verify claims.
Also outline any changes that will need to be made to the product or service for export markets. The changes may include packaging design or size, branding, labelling, design changes, redesigning content etc.
Also provide details of production capacity including any seasonal fluctuations to show you can deliver on orders accepted. Note: If you have low levels of spare capacity then address the plan to increase capacity in order to meet potential sales.
This should address your pricing decisions and how you will manage pricing under different circumstances such as foreign currency fluctuations, competitor price drops due to your competition, etc.
In this section you should outline your market entry strategy. This could include whether you are planning to sell to wholesale or retail, use a partner such as agent or distributor, set up an office, enter into a joint venture etc.
Include details here of how you plan to support your customers and partners (e.g. agents, distributors). This could include the number and timing of market visits – you may need multiple visits each year per target market; training for in market partners, promotional materials, paid advertising etc.
Marketing Action Plan
Develop a chart for your marketing actions so that you can manage, monitor, review and evaluate the success of your export marketing.
Management Review & Follow Up
Outline timings and responsibility for follow up with those responsible for tasks in the Action Plan table above and for management to review the plan.
Overall, an Export Marketing Plan can help you clarify and maximise your export marketing spend and therefore effectiveness. In addition, it can greatly assist in your ability to qualify for an Export Marketing Development Grant via AusTrade and get from up to $40,000 per annum towards your export marketing for new applicants and from $80,000 to $150,000 per annum for established export marketers.
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Stuart Reynolds is the founder of Fullstack Advisory, an award-winning accounting firm for businesses leading the future. He is a 3rd generation accountant who specialises in tech companies, crypto and entrepreneurs.