No One Gets Out of Here Alive …

… only the D.U.M.B. survive!

Wow! Twenty years ago, the case was that only the strong survive. Now, the only way to survive in the global marketplace is if your product [is] D.U.M.B. enough to take overseas. How the mighty have fallen.

But seriously, the article in question makes some good points. Your product is only going to make it in a foreign market if it is:

  • Demonstrable
    You have to be able to demonstrate that your product does whatever you say it does, and do it in a manner that the common person in your target market can understand. If only an engineer with a PhD can understand your message, your product is not going to go very far.
  • Unique
    If your product comes off as another “me too” product, than the local brands that are currently established are going to maintain their marketshare.
  • Meaningful
    Your product has to serve a purpose in the eyes of the local consumer in addition to being demonstrable and unique. The example in the article is a great one: low-fat/low-calorie snacks aren’t going to sell when in Spain, or other Mediterranean markets where diets are already low-fat/low-calorie.
  • Believable
    Outrageous claims will not be rewarded. For example, never claim an athletic product will “prevent injury” when it’s clear that all it will do is reduce the risk.

And each of these requirements has a lesson for your local supply chain.

  • Use local partners.
    You need to be able to demonstrate you can get the job done. Using trusted partners will help.
  • Use modern technology solutions.
    Used properly, they will help give you a unique edge in terms of efficiency and performance.
  • Use the right modes of transportation.
    Depending on geography, it might be air, rail, truck, bus, or even courier! Be sure to adapt to the market. In some South American countries, high priced electronics (smartphones) are shipped in unmarked boxes in busses because it’s cheaper and less prone to theft. In busy cities in Asia with narrow streets, you’ll need small delivery vehicles that deliver daily, as some shops are so small they can only hold a few days of inventory at most.
  • Use meaningful, and transparently generated, forecasts.
    Forecasting sales numbers that are way too low or way too high isn’t going to do much for generating good will and trust in your new “partners” who will get the impression that you’re not a serious player in their market.

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