It’s often the case that businesses fall into new overseas markets rather than through active targeting. Covid-19’s enforced disruption of ‘business as usual’, however debilitating, also freed up time and space for structured planning like never before.
Looking ahead to the commercial world post Covid-19, how do you assess which markets present the best opportunities for your business? There are three key market ‘types’ to consider.
Firstly, the EU. Whilst we may have left the Union, the UK and EU will continue to be key trading partners for one another. As such, it is not within the interests of either party to impose trade restrictions. There is therefore no reason why the EU will not continue to be a lucrative market for the UK.
Secondly, international markets such as Asia and the Middle East. The wealth and scale of these markets make them attractive; but additional attention is needed when translating into languages so structurally different to English.
Thirdly, English-speaking markets. Even where the target language is English, words or phrases may carry different connotations to the UK. In Australia, for example, thongs are most well known as flip flops rather than as a form of underwear. There may be subtle differences too to how products are described; in the US, plain flour is better known as all purpose flour, and soya beans are known as soybeans. Services may also be impacted: ‘bespoke’ is not a term that’s generally used in the US; it’s more likely to be ‘customisation’ or ‘personalisation’.
When targeting an unfamiliar territory, there are lots of considerations. At Peak Translations, our translation work is more than just translating your messages. We create a cohesive piece of work which ensures your product or service truly makes sense to a new audience.
Eight key considerations to include in your market entry planning:
1. Target market value
Is the size of the market large enough to justify your market entry cost? Is your type of product in demand, or do you need to sell the concept as much as the product? If so, that time lag needs to be factored into your sales projections.
At Peak Translations, we will happily point you to relevant trade advisors across the Department for International Trade, as well as the Growth Hub and Chamber of Commerce who can support you with this market research.
2. Your product or service
Is your product or service aimed at the same market across borders? If not, how might the quantity be affected? Take the example of horse feed. The market in the UK may well be riding schools and jockeys who only need small amounts. In the US, however, purchasers of horse feed are more likely to be ranch owners who have a much bigger volume requirement. This in turn will impact the size of bags and therefore shipping.
3. Your strategy
Do you plan to compete with the leader in that market? Or are you content to pick off the low-hanging fruit? The ambition of your strategy will impact your overall approach to the market, as well as specifics such as your choice of keywords and therefore cost of any Google Adwords campaigns.
4. Getting your message out there
You may determine, at least at the early stages of market entry, that you only need to translate your landing page as opposed to an entire website. Any content you do translate should include the right messages with the right keywords. At Peak Translations, our keyword research in the native languages ensures you can do just that and, when added to the right elements of your web pages such as in meta titles and descriptions, helps you reach your target market.
5. Impact of your target language on marketing material
You may know that Arabic reads right to left which of course impacts websites and typesetting. Did you know, however, that this applies not only to a page but to an entire document? In other words, a brochure needs to be flipped from what we would consider to be the back to the front page.
6. Practicalities of fulfilling sales
Whilst the same consumer rights may apply across the EU, have you factored in different buyer behaviour? The German market, for example, returns more goods bought online than any other EU market. UK suppliers therefore need to factor this into their stock, finances and logistics.
7. Your product name
Does your product name have any negative connotations in your target language? Even larger companies can get caught out! When Clairol launched a curling iron called “Mist Stick” in Germany it didn’t take into account that ‘mist’ in German happens to be slang for manure…
Like most of the world, Europe adheres to the metric system of measurement (kilometres, kilograms and Celsius) whereas the US still uses the imperial system (miles, pounds and Fahrenheit). There are differences too in the use of the 12-hour v 24-hour clock
Whichever market you’re considering, our expert team of project managers, translators and interpreters are on hand to help you navigate unfamiliar territory.
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