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Export Generalist or Specialist. Which are You?

Recently Katabolt attended the Deloitte Technology Fast 500, an event where the discussion focused on what New Zealand tech companies can succeed and compete on the world stage.

A highlight from the discussion panel that included Owen Scott, from Concentrate, was that success factors for tech companies in international markets are highly relevant across all industries with businesses striving for export success, be they food and beverage business or specialised manufacturers.

It may sound obvious, but the sheer scale of international markets means that every time a new market is considered, market strategies need to be revised and adapted. In larger international markets New Zealand competition is intense, markets are often fast-moving and innovative and more intensely segmented than here in New Zealand.

Consequently businesses are focused on building solutions for very specific customer segments.  In New Zealand businesses often need to be generalists, broadly relevant enough to achieve profitable scale. In bigger international  markets exporters need to understand their very particular specialisation, which customers it is most relevant to and how they position themselves to be number 1 or 2 in that segment.  The they need to be dynamic enough to remain there.

So, how do we move from ‘Generalist’ to ‘Specialist’? Market knowledge sits at the heart of success.

  • Firstly exporters need to understand the challenges or opportunities that exist in target markets and how they are uniquely positioned to provide solutions to them
  • Secondly exporters need to identify exactly what slice of the market their offer is most relevant to and that they can clearly demonstrate the benefits of their offer
  • Exporters then need to identify exactly where there customers are and how they can consistently reach them most effectively. By being targeted to a specific customer group we can understand if we need to refine the offer further (and become more of a specialist in the customers’ eyes)
  • Trust the scale of global markets and focus on going deep into markets not wide, that way it will be less expensive to communicate your message and easier to build a reputation for quality and expertise

Consider the following tips when you are refining your target customers.

  • Use targeted marketing to bring leads to you.
  • Internationally, marketing generates significantly more leads than a direct sales force does for businesses
  • In NZ we tend to rely on our sales force to generate leads.  This works in NZ but internationally in highly competitive and segmented markets it is time consuming and resource heavy.
  • If we understand our customer, know their problems and know how to reach them, we can target our marketing and use it to bring them to us.
  • This will save you time and resource and give you a better chance of competing internationally

Here at Katabolt a couple of the steps in our process to help companies focus on the right market segments include:

  • Researches in detail and ensures that the correct customer is targeted in the particular international market, and
  • Tailoring solutions for specific customers and their niche (understanding in detail the customer needs, their problems and how to reach them).

Contact Katabolt now to discuss how to take a more specialist approach to your export market.

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