Exporting isn’t just for manufacturers
PUBLISHED: 17:14 20 September 2016 | UPDATED: 17:14 20 September 2016
Full service marketing agency, the Isaac Partnership based in Stonehouse Gloucestershire are not only helping some of the county’s leading manufacturers to market their products overseas, they have been practicing what they preach for a number of years. As a growing business the company also sells their own services, including design and marketing strategies, abroad.
Director Chris Isaac explains how they land contracts from far and wide: Over the last 16 years we’ve worked with clients from the computer games industry based in Germany, luxury travel companies in Africa, Stanley Security Solutions in the US, shoe brands in Spain and, in the past month, we have landed a flagship contract with MIT in Massachusetts, USA to help them create an internet marketing strategy and website for Exoplanet research (a dream job as I always wanted to be an astronaut). I think working for clients abroad is in our DNA as a business - we’ve always been early adopters of technology and have never seen a barrier to market. Thanks to FaceTime, Skype and document sharing we can service clients across the planet just as well as across the road. The only issue is time difference, which means we sometime run different work shifts for different time zones, starting work at 1pm UK time for the US market.
As we constantly remind our UK exporting clients, understanding your target audience’s needs is paramount. Each country and culture has its own quirks. We found that the direct approach works really well in the US, but a more subtle courtship works better in Italy. Another issue we have come across over the years is trade marking in different territories. One of our UK clients didn’t realise that their brand name was only registered in Europe and not the US, which led to them having to rename their product in that country. I think the secret to our success is focusing on communication, pulse calls, updates and tracking. We’ve built up a reputation for delivering whole marketing projects as a one stop shop which overseas clients see as a strength.
I would share the following advice with any business thinking about exporting:
1. Talk to UKTI - they run some great workshops and have a good network of overseas advisors. We used their networks through their association with embassies to gain knowledge about the engineering sector in the US.
2. Understand the market you’re getting into. That means more than just internet research - go over to the country, meet with trade partners, walk shows and network.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions and be brash! As an English person it’s easy to be modest and undersell your business. Americans in particular don’t mind being hassled, in fact you shouldn’t leave it more than a day before re-contacting them after a meeting.
4. Avoid local spirits, stick to what you know. I’m not saying don’t drink, but if you’re at a bar and your client says “have you tried the...”, be careful - hangovers and flights don’t mix well!