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Sinclair and Ruiz is a consultancy that creates integrated local, national and international marketing strategies


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What are the biggest challenges to entering new markets and how do you overcome them?

There is no single way to overcome the challenges to new market entry. Conversely, those challenges/obstacles should be determined before products or strategies are developed, to prevent substantial expenditures in the midst of entry. Once you understand which obstacles/challenges must be tackled, you determine how to overcome them. In a rush to move things along, many organizations fail to recognize the importance of carefully evaluating challenges before jumping all in.

overcoming obstacles

 

Carlos Escobosa commercial and administrative director of The Residences at Solaz says that in Mexico, where an important percentage of sales are directed to foreign buyers north of the border “the biggest external challenge is the negative perception that North Americans have of Mexico.  The best way to overcome negative perceptions is through  PR campaigns focused on the value, security of investments, and levels of capital being invested. In addition, there is often an internal lack of knowledge of what a consumer wants or needs in our industry (Travel & Leisure and recreational Real Estate)”. Cindy Collins founder of Mining Technology Partners told us that  “the approach for us would be the same as it was in coming into a new territory in our market of mining & metals. Except now  we have greater access to online resources such as advertising, SEO marketing and so on.  We are working to take advantage of this … with a new website, podcast and other content.  This is in addition to face to face meetings…it is more than about effective marketing, it comes to relationships”.

Rahul Samant CEO of Rehabtronics stated that “…the biggest challenges include regulatory, sales, distribution, and marketing. Typically to overcome these we enter markets where we have first established a strong sales and distribution partner that understands the local issues in this context”. Alejandro Godoy founder of Seafood Business Solutions adds that “entering new markets is all about understanding the demand. But on the other hand, explaining and demonstrating your product and its benefits in comparison to others” is key.

The research and development phases of a project often seem protracted, but it is essential to prepare and take your time to do it right. As noted above, the key issues to keep in mind for overcoming barriers are marketing, a clear understanding of demand, and relationship building.

Each organization has its own way of navigating areas of opportunity. Some companies are well versed in entering new markets, have strong processes and count on the necessary resources to do so effectively. For many others, hiring a consultant the most effective way to define specific challenges and design a strategy for tackling them. The avenue offers a way to overcome a lack of initial internal capacity within an organization, and support capacity building in an effective way; while continuing to move forward with the due diligence required for new market entry.  In addition, consultants can assist in overcoming sensitive subjects, as they can bring an impartial opinion and an unbiased eye, as is mentioned in an article by Alex Nuth  titled “Why Companies Really Hire Consultants” .

In a nutshell, taking the necessary time and doing your homework will minimize risks and maximize results.

This article is part 3 of 3.

In case you missed Part 1: Top 4 Challenges to Business Development. 

In case you missed Part 2: How important is it to develop strategic relationships and contacts inside target markets?

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Rebranding.

rebrandingBranding refers to establishing a company’s identity. Branding includes determining a logo, name, and message that identify an entity. Establishing a brand and what it stands for in the minds of consumers, is the starting point on which to build a marketing strategy, and ultimately reach sales goals.  Rebranding can entail changing certain aspects of a brand, or completely changing a company’s identity.

Why Companies Rebrand

Companies may rebrand in order to refresh and update their image, communicate a change, or shed a negative image. In order to undertake a successful a rebranding campaign, it is important to understand that building an identity is far more complex than simply choosing a name and logo; and communication is essential to implementing a rebranding campaign. Two of the more complex reasons companies rebrand include shedding a negative image, and to consolidate mergers and acquisitions.

Sinclair and Ruiz has rebranded itself once before, and  will soon launch another rebranding campaign to update the scope of services provided – as we are proud to say they have increased over the past seven years. We have also worked with clients to improve their image after a cycle of crisis management, rebranding for mergers, as well as rebranding for the evolution of an organization’s identity.

Rebranding to Shed a Negative Image

In order to shed a negative image it is important to face the issue that is causing the negative image head-on. Organizations must decide how they want to be perceived, make the necessary changes and communicate them to the world. Organizations must be committed to the message, as shedding a negative image requires consistency, and often entails regaining the trust of existing clients as well as winning over new and weary markets. Rebranding campaigns must be tailored and highly targeted, depending on the entity requiring the update, and the reasons behind the need. In this case, the message is often more important than the name or logo.

Read an example of how what you say can damage your brand at http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/227164

Rebranding Due to a Merger

Mergers are challenging as a result of the uncertainty they can project to employees as clients.  Mergers are inherently a cause of change and it is important for companies to acknowledge and embrace this reality. Rebranding due to a merge is the perfect opportunity to focus on the improvements that change will bring, rather than how things will remain the same. Failure to acknowledge change may cause distrust within an organization, and failure to engage employees will project negatively onto clients. Effective rebranding is imperative to employee and client retention during and following a merger.

The breath of image change will vary for each case. Some mergers require complete structural change, while others keep the existing name, service and market it under an umbrella company.

Thus rebranding requires careful consideration of the most basic “branding” elements, as well as a clear message.  Among other Things, successful rebranding entails:

·         Determining exactly what your brand stands for.

·         Setting out a clear strategy and timeline for rebranding.

·         Communicating the new brand message to employees, partners, industry and clients. Successful rebranding will take place once all stakeholders know and accept the new message and image. Organizations that do not control a branding message risk projecting an image based on the voice of exterior forces (i.e. rumors).

·         Careful planning and measured execution of rebranding are key to consolidating the desired image, and avoiding collateral costs.

Contact Sinclair and Ruiz today to learn more about how we can plan and guide a successful rebranding campaign. info@sinclairandruiz.com


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Marketing Strategy vs. Execution: Ending the Blame Game for the Sake of Success

Blame is often distributed generously when companies don’t obtain the expected return on investment. Most often, the “execution” phase becomes the accused party. As noted in a recent article in the Harvard Business Journal, it is common for businesses to follow the mantra that “a mediocre strategy well executed is better than a great strategy poorly executed.”[1] The article argues that the metaphor is misguided, and that having a good strategy is important. Therefore, a poor strategy won’t cut it even with a spectacular execution.

We agree. Success depends to a great extent on a sound strategy – because even great execution simply follows a blue print. A key element to designing a good strategy is considering the realities and needs of the business from the perspective of the staff that will execute strategy, as well as management’s expectations.  Communication across the board is important if you want to start on the right foot.

Having said that, once you have a sound strategy  it is not wise to underestimate the importance of the execution phase. Follow-up, guidance and communication will continue to be necessary throughout the execution phase.  This way management can determine if processes are flowing effectively and  if there are any areas for improvement.

Strategy and execution go hand-in hand. Although it is essential to stick to the strategy’s framework, it is also important to allow it a measure of flexibility. Thus, the strategy can be modified or improved according to the needs of the company’s day to day operations. Companies and – especially- organizations that depend on external funding are subject to ebbs and flows, and do not always operate under ideal circumstances.  The strategy must be able to adapt to changes.

In conclusion, strategies should not be abstract concepts designed from the top-down. Their design requires communication with all levels of the company to become truly effective. Execution must be properly monitored to ensure the strategy is implemented correctly. Both phases are important and fulfill specific needs. Both must be approached seriously if your goal is success rather than reaching a state of “good enough”.

CIS

Carolina@sinclairandruiz.com

www.sinclairandruiz.com/marketing


[1] Roger L. Martin, “Drawing a line between strategy and execution almost guarantees failure,” Harvard Business Review, July – August 2010, 66.


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DIY Marketing – Is it the right option for your business?

Many businesses are opting to develop and implement their own marketing campaigns. Some decide to hire in-house staff to take care of this side of business and others just go at it alone with the idea of saving money.  In both cases, businesses can benefit from professional assistance, albeit for different reasons and to different extents.

In the case of in-house marketing staff, personnel is very useful in terms of implementation and follow-up as they are knowledgeable and can absorb some of the more time-consuming aspects. However, rarely can one person know everything. Professional marketing agencies can provide specialized assistance and direction  that complement your marketing staff’s plan of action – and they may be able to secure preferential pricing not available to individual businesses.

They case of DIY for company’s with limited marketing experience is more complex. Some companies shy away from investing in agencies if they feel they can buy media on their own and choose the right place to advertise from listening to buzz about delivery options (like Search Engine Marketing). Some companies shy away from professional help because they have chosen a method of advertising – lets stick with Search Engine marketing – and spend a substantial amount of money on Google AdWords only to find they are not getting the return on investment expected. In these cases the missing link is a sound strategy.  DIY involves expensive trial and error if a company is not familiar with different media options and how they connect with specific markets.  Furthermore, as with many other media, Google AdWords are an excellent advertising option, but rarely are they the sole answer to a company’s marketing needs – a combination of media with a strong message are needed. These features, along with a budget and clear and realistic goals,  make-up a sound strategy.

We do not claim that DIY should be considered a write-off. DIY marketing is not for everyone, but the reality is many companies will take this route and if done properly it will produce the desired results. The DIY approach can especially work for small businesses.  I wouldn’t recommend it for large and complex campaigns; for companies that cannot invest the time required for implementation and follow-up; nor do I recommend DIY for event planning (save yourself the time and stress).

However, DIY marketing  can be used for setting a solid foundation in branding and lead-generation. Most companies do DIY social media marketing as well. They key, as noted before is having an effective strategy, and this is where professional help is extremely important.

S&R understands that companies have different needs, budgets and take different approaches accordingly. We also know everyone needs a sound strategy.  This is why we are launching a new set of cost-efficient marketing packages designed especially for DIYers. The packages include all the tools and coaching companies require to launch effective strategies from the start. If you would like more information and pricing for these packages … or would like to know if this is an option for your business email us at info@sinclairandruiz.com.

CIS

carolina@sinclairandruiz.com

www.sinclairandruiz.com/marketing


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Event Management: 5 tips for increasing attendance

Organizing a successful event requires detailed planning. A great part of the success will depend on generating the desired attendance.

You may have the perfect food, entertainment, exhibitors and ambiance; but you also need to attract people – which can often be one of the bigger challenges of organizing an event.

One of 26 exclusive events managed by S&R to date.

The following are a few tips that will help you improve attendance:

1.- Information: Your invitations should have all the necessary information (date, time, place); but also describe de event in a way that will peak the interest of the people you want to see there.  This may sound obvious, but often invitations lack detail about the type of event and its purpose.

2.- Invite Existing Clients: Even if the purpose of your event is to connect with potential clients, be sure to invite existing clients. Not only is it great to keep in touch with them, but they are also a great source of referrals. Encourage them to bring along friends or colleagues.

3.- Be accessible: Provide a telephone number and email address where the event can be reached to answer questions. This is especially important if you are reaching out to potential clients who may have questions before committing their time to you.

4.- Automate: Become more efficient by setting-up  online registration, RSVP, and method of payment (if applicable).

5.- Confirm: Once a guest RSVPs or registers be sure to confirm it right away. Confirmation is very simple when you have an automated system. Furthermore, it is important to send a reminder of the event if guests register a few  days before the event actually takes place.

These tips can be adapted in different ways depending on the type of event and its objective. We encourage you to seek the assistance of a professional event manager to ensure all aspects of planning are taken care of, so you can enjoy your event and focus on your clients, prospects and reaching your goals.

Carolina Ibarra Sinclair

http://www.sinclairandruiz.com

info@sinclairandruiz.com

Related articles:

http://xicoarteycultura.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/event-planning-the-fundraiser/

http://www.coachdanfoster.com/2010/06/7-tips-for-planning-a-great-event/


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S&R: a consultancy for integrated marketing strategies

Sinclair and Ruiz is a consultancy that creates integrated local, national and international marketing strategies. www.sinclairandruiz.com/marketing

Here are a few facts about our work:

  • We analyze markets, assess progress and business processes in order to improve performance.
  • S&R designs highly targeted campaigns that focus on ROI, marketing-for-leads and branding.
  • Our experience includes working with private companies, tourism boards, associations and public-private sector co-ops.
  • S&R campaigns reach Canada, Mexico and the U.S.
  • Our team’s client retention average is 4 years +.

In the following blogs we will discuss different marketing topics and address frequent questions about event management, new media, design and others. We’ll offer tips and provide anecdotes you might relate to.

But for today, I say welcome to our blog!

www.sinclairandruiz.com/marketing