What to consider when expanding into a new market

Market expansion tips

You’ve been successful and grabbed hold of a large share of your local market. Where to next? Stay as you are, and year on year your sales will plateau at best. Maybe now’s the time to look further afield – how about expanding into Europe, across the pond, Africa, Asia or Australia?

With offices in both London and Sydney, we’ve been helping companies grow from Australia into the UK (or vice versa) and then globally. Along the way we’ve picked up a few tips on what makes for success.

If you want exponential – not just incremental – business growth then the key areas to focus on are commercials, marketing and people. Here are our top three tips for each:

Commercials

To support your marketing efforts, you’ve got to uncover business drivers, know what you’re working towards, chart your learnings and – hopefully – realise financial success.

1. Insight discovery and financial scorecards for the new country

It’s key to know the size of a new territory. Ask yourself: is it worth the effort of breaking into? Work with local media agencies who can often tap into audience panels; be nice and give them your media budget for their efforts. Once you have this data, reflect it in a financial scorecard with metrics that are universal to your company, whatever country they are being applied to.

2. Business and advisory management

The advice here is to draw on an external perspective, one from the country you’re targeting. They need to review and agree that your insight discovery and scorecard are feasible, based on their local market knowledge.

3. Investor deck

Remember to have this ready to support finding new capital. There are some great tips from us and the likes of AWS and Google in support of startups as to what investors need to see from you at each stage, as you move from bootstrapped to series funding rounds.

Marketing

Stand back and review your marketing to make it relevant to the new country. The focus below is to ensure that the strategy you’ve been running to date is either relevant to new countries or else should be adapted appropriately.

1. Value proposition

Everything flows from this. It must be locally relevant, stand apart from your competitors and answer local prospects’ needs. Carry out some qualitative testing and use your local advisory group.

2. Marketing, media and channel strategy

What has worked to date may not travel. Take your locally approved value prop and apply local nuances, reference points and cultural moments. Go back to the same media agency who sized your market and ask them for a plan on how best to reach this new audience.

3. Content calendars

Always-on and thought leadership content great ways to steadily build your presence. This should be closely tied to your media plan to ensure the paid placement is working well with the owned and earned. Apply the learnt local references and culture – as recommended by your media agency – to this content creation. It will pay dividends to show you genuinely care and understand the local market.

People

Easy to forget. Do you have the right team in place? Again, this is essential when you may not be based in the same country. Considering the following will help.

1. People and culture audit

What’s the best mix for the new office? An old hand from the business plus local talent who understands who’s who?

2. Developing an employee value proposition

This really helps support any new office. It helps, as future new hires can self-select by aligning with your staff operating model and expectations.

3. Robust appraisal process

This helps to align all staff, regardless of if they are working to common metrics. There may be some additional areas – specific to countries ­– but on the whole be consistent. This also makes it easier for HR to compare performances regardless of where people are working.

Of course, every company’s expansion into a new country comes with its own unique set of challenges. But by focussing initially on the key areas of commercials, marketing and people, you’ll have the right foundations to build upon. If you’re looking for a safe pair of hands to move you into a new market, get in touch with us.

Feature image by Brett Zeck on Unsplash.

Can we help you with marketing, branding, strategy, or just want to chat? Then get in touch!