Marketing requires having an understanding of the purchasing behaviour of a customer in the target country. A marketing strategy that works in Finland does not necessarily work abroad, even if the target country is a neighbour. In larger markets, companies usually need to direct their marketing strategy towards a narrower target group than in the domestic market. Merely carrying out sales operations will not be enough to gain a foothold in the new market. Marketing measures that target selected target groups are necessary to support sales.
Business customers (B2B) and consumer customers (B2C) differ from each other, based on their different purchasing behaviour. When a company sells its products through retailers, it must take into consideration that the buyers include both a business customer and end customers. A consumer may buy a bar of soap in a pretty wrapper, whereas a company buys certain products that meet carefully determined demands. Business customers usually also desire a different type of added value from the product than consumer customers. In addition to the differences in purchase decision processes, the person making the purchasing decision is often a different party. Consumers usually decide on their own purchases, whereas companies may have an entire team making the final purchasing decision.
Communicate your product and service
The local consumer culture, language and business practices require that the company and especially its products have the ability to develop according to the market’s demands. In developing a product for the international market, you must pay attention to the following country-specific issues:
Company and product name
Packaging and colour choices
Purpose and method of using the product
Marketing communications and manner of visibility in the local media
Increasing your knowledge of the market should include a careful examination of what kind of associations the name of your company or product creates in the target market. If necessary, the company can use an auxiliary trade name for the international market, or products can be sold abroad under a different trademark.
Utilising marketing channels abroad
When you launch and market Finnish export products, you can utilise a communications agency, advertising agency or a similar company that is familiar with local conditions and the target customers. Their information on the target market will help you focus and form the marketing message into something that reaches the local consumers in the best possible way. A webpage about the company and its products or services is a cost-efficient way of communication, but it alone does not guarantee international success. By investing in social media, search engine visibility and planning keywords, an SME can present their offering alongside its biggest competitors.
Trade fairs and events abroad
A Finnish company can increase its exposure abroad and create useful contacts by participating in international trade fairs, exhibitions, guest events and customer evenings. Participation and the concrete goals for success should be planned in advance. Matters to consider when planning include advance communication to selected target groups, making sure you stand out at trade fairs, and maintaining established contacts. Possible indicators for success include the number and quality of obtained contacts.
When you estimate the cost of participation, you should take into consideration the rent for the venue, in addition to various other costs which the company is typically liable to pay. These include construction and decoration costs for the fair stand, freight costs of exhibition items, advertising, business entertainment expenses and the travel and labour costs of the personnel in charge of the event.
By cooperating with other Finnish companies, e.g. by sharing a fair stand, companies can reduce costs. Joint trade fair trips are organised for companies, so that several companies can participate in the trade fair through joint arrangements. In this case, the organiser of the trade fair trip takes care of everything and the company only has to bring materials and personnel to the fair stand.