|Exporting is an extremely effective and valuable way for companies to extend their reach and increase their revenue. It is, however, full of various problems and potential pitfalls, which may be just around the corner for the unprepared or inexperienced exporter. With the relative weakness of the pound, and the downturn in the home market, for companies who understand the business of exporting and do it right, it can pay nice dividends.|
Language, of course, is an obvious consideration. But surprisingly, many companies fall short of fully understanding and realizing cultural differences. They often fail to appreciate the subtle (and sometimes most obvious) nuances between different cultures and different ways of doing business. Cross cultural differences are very important in international marketing, and can at times make it or break it for you. That is why companies should put more efforts and focus on this area; they will need to step up to the plate if they want to be successful.
Localization needs to be part of any comprehensive export company – reaching businesses or individuals on a localized level appropriate to their culture can be very powerful and is the holy grail of global online marketing. But beware – mistakes can be costly. What is acceptable in one country maybe not be in another market. There are quite a few infamous advertising campaigns out there, which are simplistic but powerful illustrations of this fact.
In many business cultures, face to face contact is still preferred to more modern 21st century methods, such as email, video conferencing, and online marketing.
Business gifts are an essential part of the courtship of business abroad and can help promote and cement a business relationship. But again, beware of offending with an inappropriate gift (such as giving a letter opener or a clock to a Chinese company– as both have connotations of death)!