The topic of company expansion came up during my last radio program, during the discussion I went on to give an explanation of some of the

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options open to corporations looking to expand their businesses internationally.

Of course – the assumption is made that the company is making the moves to expand internationally for all of the right market driven reasons !

In terms of dealing with the path to deliver the product overseas, the company will typically make one of two choices :-

  • setup office in the target country
  • select a distribution partner to deliver the goods

Of course, in order to setup a direct organisation with sales force and all of the other necessary staff, the business would have to be able to justify this by the amount of revenue that it proposes to generate. On the other hand – by selecting a distributor the company will be able to enter into the market at a much lower cost.

On the surface – hiring a distributor and letting them get on with the job of selling seems quite straighforward – however, this is where we get into the sometimes complex, frustrating and challenging field of international distributor management.

Note that part of the battle will be in being able to gain distributor mindshare – this is because your products could well be one of literally hundreds that your new channel partner is selling. With that various products may well be providing your international channel partner with greater margins, more market share, more support and close relationships that what you currently have.

With so much of the cost of products being taken up by the delivery network and management, it is interesting to see how little time is spent dealing with this oh so necessary topic. Certainly when I studied my MBA and, specialised in International Trade and Finance there we minimal focus on this compared to topics such as the marketing mix for example.

Some of the greatets challenges facing companies today is in this area of international disributor channel management and; with very few managers being able to say how much cost of serving up the product through the channel …

  • gross margins ?
  • margin mix ?
  • contribution margin ?

… actually costs [and I mean documented quarter by quarter – and not anecdotal]; this will continue to be a management area that will by itself demand more focus and attention.

The financial section of my distribution channel management training is always one that provokes much discussion and with the international distributor being by definition removed from the supplier company – process management and data flow plays a significant part in the field of international partner channel management.

Questions, comments ? would love to hear from you.

-Stephen C Campbell

Intere

digital channel marketing

The large amount of interaction that can be had through the use of online methods is a key advantage to this type of marketing. With internet channel marketing, you can take advantage of the opportunity to more closely manage the whole experience of the user and refine this as it becomes necessary.

This is possible from the moment they visit the website, through the buying process and then all subsequent parts of the life cycle that a customer will go through. Your digital channel marketing strategy should make sure to integrate all these processes.

Doing this will make the provision of a coherent message during the whole experience that a customer has with your company easier to do and more effective. There is usually more of a strategic decision involved when it comes to coming up with a digital channel marketing plan over creating a traditional plan.

The reason for this is the fact that there is continuous activity involved in the strategies that are used for a digital marketing plan. The strategies, such as …

  • search engine optimization
  • customer relationship management
  • affiliate marketing

… tend to be more long term strategies meant to help bring more traffic and revenue, as well as provide greater customer retention.

This is why it is so important to do the research to find the supporting information you need to back up your formal strategy. The more diligent you are the less the risk that you will end up wasting time, money and resources. In order to set up your internet channel marketing strategy you need to figure out appropriate key performance indicators and objectives.

What you want to be able to achieve will be your objectives, possibly including such things as improved customer retention, a larger market share, or more brand awareness. The way that you will determine whether or not you have met those objectives is through the use of your key performance indicators.

Before setting an objective you have to

think about how much of an investment

would be required to meet that objective.

You want your strategy to be realistic, so you need to consider how much of a budget you would need to implement it; and achieve the objectives you are considering. It will help to make it easier to use objectives and priorities to divide up the financial resources available in the budget.

You then need to determine just what you will need to do in order to actually reach the objectives and goals that you have set. In order to do so you will need to properly select your target audience, and understand both your market position and the product that you are offering. These are the components of designing and implementing a digital multi channel marketing plan.

You need to understand where your target audience goes, when they go there, and what they do there so that you can determine which internet channel marketing methods would be the best for you to use.

marketing strategy consulting

We as business people all know that we are living in a real world economic downturn which has lead to many corporations having to downsize their workforce in order to stay afloat. Some agree and many disagree with the various mergers and acquisitions that are taking place as

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companies look to get into new market and to improve their offerings to the marketplace. With all of the variable that take place with running a business most agree that it is the Sales and Marketing function that is probably the most important part of the operation of the business unit in question. There are an abundance of examples that we can see in the business world where – the best product has not dominated the market place or; where the product and/or service that everyone acknowledges is not the market leader rises to command maximum market share.

In getting an organisation to deliver excellence when it comes to getting their message out to the world at large we are seeing an increasing trend where where marketing strategy consulting [the service I provide] is being employed more and more. Part of the benefit of using external consultants is that they do not have the baggage or history and political connection with the organisation they are working with. And as a consequence are able to look at the data objectively, develop the right strategy and put in the relevant execution steps.

Is the organisation that you are working in stuck ? or stagnant ? are your management team doing the same thing this year that was being done last year ? Is is time for some external marketing strategy consulting to get your business unit kick started ? Whatever the case, you are encourage to approach your markets as if you are going into it anew – by that I mean considering the questions :-

  • Are we targetting the right customers
  • Are we using the correct communication channels
  • Are we using the most appropriate marketing channels to deliver the product/service
  • Do we know what our end user clients think about us [have we asked]
  • Is the internet being fully utilised as a marketing channel ?

These are some of the key questions that get buried, and lost in the day to day activities or any organisation and why using an external business strategy consultant may well be the thing that you should be strongly considering employing in your business.

Let me know if you have any comments.

-Stephen C Campbell

During my radio program today we discussed the marketing mix [many people know this as the 4 P’s] as this was requested by one of the listeners. For those of you who are not familiar with the Marketing Mix, the 4 P’s stand for :-

  • Product
  • Price
  • Promotion
  • Place

… now when we talk about distribution channels in marketing, this topic falls under that P of Place. That is to say, where will the end user customer actually end up purchasing the product and/or service that is produced by the company in question.

If you consider a company like coca cola and how you can go almost anywhere in the world and purchase this soft drink, you can begin to get an idea of how important channels of distribution in marketing are for businesses of all sizes. Of course none of us ever purchase Coca Cola from the company itself – instead we purchase from a retailer who would have in turn purchased from one of many possible distribution channels. There can be many intermediaries in the supply chain which of course all adds to the final price paid by the end user.

In my consulting and training work – this topic of distribution channel management is continuing to be an ever important one. How is your company doing in terms of actively managing your distribution partners ?

  • Are you working in partnership ?
  • Do you know their margins ?
  • Do you know their fixed costs ?
  • Do you know how much your products are contributing to their fixed costs ??

As the price that the end user pays for a product continues to be tied to the costs incurred in getting that product to the end user, training and consulting requirements on this subject matter will rise and those companies that make the incremental necessary changes in this respect will be those that take more market share and ultimately be the ones that excel.

As always, any thoughts, comments or consulting requirements ? don’t hesitate to get in touch.

-Stephen C Campbell