Emarketing as part of an export marketing strategy

An Estonian version of this article can be found here E-turundus ekspordi turundusstrateegia osana on Aktiva’s website 🙂

For the purposes of this article we define emarketing as:
The process of buying, selling or sharing information, goods and services via the internet.

Assuming that you have already defined an export marketing strategy then maybe it’s time to develop an integrated approach that incorporates emarketing.

Which areas of export marketing strategy can emarketing support?

1. Increased access to foreign markets
2. Better international customer relationship management
3. Faster launch of new products and services
4. Instant sharing of company news and other information
5. Creation of lower cost buying and selling channels
6. Creation of new revenue streams, unique to the internet
7. Lower cost international market research

If we consider typical export marketing activity we can identify how emarketing can assist in more specific ways. For example, in the sales and marketing process emarketing enables your company to deliver precise product and service information and targeted sales messages to a huge international audience.

Emarketing can help the export sales and marketer to:

1. Answer potential customer enquiries
2. Handle client enquiries and provide stock/pricing/delivery information
3. Promote specific products and services according to availability
4. Provide catalogues of product information
5. Provide company and market sector background information
6. Conduct market research (prospects, markets and competition)

Of course to be able to do these things the exporter’s executive management must provide their export marketing department with the necessary budgets to identify and employ emarketing tools, services and training/personnel.

Of course different exporter types might have different priorities for emarketing:

1. Distributors: respond to sales enquires and enable sales people access to product and process information
2. Manufacturers: supply support material and access for distributor and detailed product information e.g. catalogues
3. Service companies: use the internet as a showcase to promote their services and do market research

The integration of ecommerce payment systems and other transaction processing is another area of great value to exporters. The most popular activities are online ordering and payments systems.

As e-buying processes save money by generally reducing the buying cycle period, improving transaction efficiency and reliability it is becoming more interesting for exporters (and importers too) to take part in e-marketplaces and therefore to consider integrating their existing systems.

To develop a really successful export emarketing strategy you will need to:

1. Adapt your products and services to suit the target markets
2. Understand and use online communications channels
3. Adapt your promotional strategy and budget to the online world
4. Clarify the role of intermediaries and new virtual partners
5. Ensure your products and services are competitively priced in new international markets

Of course whilst export marketing online can benefit you by:

1. Cutting costs: email and Skype are cheaper than traditional phone calls; a updateable website is cheaper than reprinting catalogues and brochures; research is fast and cheap online
2. Increasing market reach: new international markets become accessible; the ability to enter e-marketplaces and specialist directories; increased search engine visibility; more efficient and easier communication with foreign partners and distributors.
3. Creating new e-products and e-services,

none of it is possible without management support and executive decision making at the highest level.

Emarketing can be an essential part of your export marketing strategy, and should be, but it requires serious commitment.

It is important to create a specific budget for emarketing within your export marketing budget and ideally for each target market.

There are some fundamental, base level activities that should be included in your export marketing budget but selling to Germany and UK is quite different and requires different skills, activities etc. and therefore different budgets.

The minor differences in export marketing to individuals countries are not necessarily expensive but they are critical to e-export success.

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