Get Your Marketing Strategy Right before You Venture Overseas
Byline: Deborah Dundas
You've got a great product for the export market - but have you figured out how you're going to let your new market know about it? DEBORAH DUNDAS has a few tips on marketing your product in Canada
MCDONALD'S, the American based world-wide hamburger giant, knows about marketing. No matter which country you're in, you'll find the tried and true items - the Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, the Happy Meal.
But you'll also find a local twist here and there, showing that they are willing to bend a bit to make sure they give the local people a taste they're familiar with.
Here in Northern Ireland, for example, you can get curry dip for your chips - something you won't find in North America.
Knowing how to market your products in overseas markets requires a lot of market research and local knowledge of the market you're trying to enter.
There are lots of stories about bad moves companies have made. Chevrolet, the American car company, for example, has a model called the Nova. In English-speaking countries, the word would be associated with "star." In Spanish-speaking companies, however, it would translate, in an adulterated blend of Spanish and English to "no go." Not a name to excite confidence in the car. The name was changed.
Your local agents will have helped you make sure you've got your product right before you get it to market so you don't face any of those embarrassing moments.
But then there's getting the word out to the public that your product is out there, waiting to be bought.
That's where hard marketing - buying advertising, getting on radio programmes, etc, comes into play.
Using the media to promote a product in Canada is very different from doing it in the UK or Northern Ireland. The media is very decentralised, with different provinces and city areas having their own media.
There are many regional differences as well, making it a challenge for companies to develop commercials or advertising that will play well in every part of the country.
As a result, national advertising or marketing initiatives are rare and costly.
In addition, if you do want to come up with a nation-wide advertising campaign, there are two distinct languages in Canada - French and English.
In Canada there are over 450 advertising agencies. Most of the top 20 are owned by a United States or UK company.
Here's a start for anyone looking to develop a marketing campaign, whether in a specific region of Canada or across the country:
To give you an idea of what the media-buy would cost, Maclean-Hunter Publishing Ltd, one of the biggest media companies in Canada, puts out a monthly publication called "Canadian Advertising Rates and Data" - you can get it by logging on to www. …