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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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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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5 Tips for Using Social Media to Market Your Business

I recently attended an event that addressed different topics of social media (new media) for business. The event was hosted by a media publisher, and attendees ranged from entrepreneurs from different industries and marketing companies, to large well established businesses.

It was clear from the crowd’s questions, and from speaking to people at my table that everyone engaged social media at a different levels. Although almost everyone personally used atleast one social media platform, the majority of guests were still unsure how this phenomenon could be applied to their business. Two recurring questions were:

– How to use social media to make money?

– How can it be used without taking up too much time and cutting into productivity?

I’d like to offer a few tips and considerations on how to use social media for business:

1) Have a strategy: Just as any other type of marketing, in order for your efforts to work, you must have a clear notion of what you want to achieve: branding? communication with existing clients? generate new business?

2) Choose a combination of platforms that are preferred by your target market, and can facilitate your goals.  Review statistics regularly to measure effectiveness of each platform and of your strategy.

3) Use one tone. Unless you are yourself the brand being promoted, it is best to keep the company’s voice separate from your personal voice. Decide what kind of a tone you wish to use and stick to it throughout your posts.

4) Know your clients. It is important to know your clients. Not all companies target markets that are equally knowldgeable of social media platforms. If your audience is younger, your strategy must be able to engage an audience that keeps up and invents new media. If your audience does not fit the cutting-edge criteria, your strategy must be  friendly to the user you aim to attract. 

5) Acknowledge its importance as well as its limitations. Social media is now as basic as having a website. Businesses need to accept its importance. However, one must have a balanced  and comprehensive approach to a marketing strategy. It is unlikely that social media on its own is going to fulfill the needs of any one company.  You have to put yourself in the line of vision of your target market- wherever it chooses to look. More often than not, this means taking your company’s message to a combination of outlets.  

In conclusion, you can make money from social media, but it depends on the strategy you implement according to the results you expect. That is, you won’t generate business just by setting up a facebook page… but you can certainly  make it work to your benefit once you set out a clear plan of action.

On the other hand,  in order to keep control of social media so it doesn’t take over your life, be sure to choose a specific combination of social media that will work for your goals and be appreciated by your market. Also, choose a tone and message that you will implement as consistently as possible.

CIS 

carolina@sinclairandruiz.com

www.sinclairandruiz.com/marketing