Dec 8, 2012

where to track b2b events

The sales force we [marketing] serve is asking for our help to set a foot in the client’s door: bring me face to face with a potential client, they say, and I will do all the heavy lifting
To do: bring sales guy in front of potential client. Or even better, in front of several prospects, which can be found in clusters at industry events.

Working from the headquarters to discover the interesting events in another country is part of the initial research that models your marketing decisions for the respective market: participation, sponsorships, product showcasing, exhibiting your company products, giving a speech.

Nov 22, 2012

recipe for: direct emailing

Email marketing is increasingly challenging as lead generation method, as more and more email services seem built to reject approach attempts and protect the account holder from the thousand random spam messages landing in inboxes.

In case you're cooking (or overcooking, like me) a B2B direct emailing campaing with the purpose to generate leads, here are the ingredients you should have on the table before geting your hands into the task:

Oct 27, 2012

international professional groups

Interacting via LinkedIn is part of my daily marketing activities, since I can reach some of my international audience with no cost.

I got very excited about having professionals reunited on criteria of industry, job title or target segment. I started joining one group after another, until I've reached the 50 groups limit. Seeing there's a limit, I started withdrawing requests, studied little bit better the groups profile and how active they really were; eventually I somehow stabilized a list.

Oct 18, 2012

the smart starter

I’m coming back to my favorite subject - the one about market education & start-up offices abroad.

Bringing a new service into an emerging market, while being very well established into its home market, means that the company has to spend a lot of marketing effort communicating the benefits of using that generic category of service, before actually mentioning its own brand name, proving its competencies in delivering that service and promoting itself as reliable vendor of that service.

Oct 15, 2012

leads, actually

This is a post on why I consider events to be one of the most lucrative methods to generate leads, on the condition that they are well chosen and the participation & involved staff are very well prepared and coherent with the overall brand image of your company.

Sep 6, 2012

yes, outsource

By all means, outsource. I did.
But choose the right provider. I didn't.

This is a short, measurable story about call centers. One of my most solid presumptions was shattered: that English will take you anywhere.

When planning campaigns / events abroad and approaching companies, you might have the illusion that English works everywhere. It doesn't. You might even think that, if you're calling medium & large companies,  English is sufficient.

But if you imagine this will not affect your success rate, you are wrong.

I've measured the difference.

I've worked with an English-speaking call center for a project addressing companies in a German-speaking country, calling multinationals. In the database qualification phase, their success rate was 35%.  Most of the rejections sounded like:
- we're not interested
- we can't provide any information over the phone
- we don't speak English
- they hung up / transfer failed.

Taking the same project to a native call center made the difference. 96% completion rate. Where the companies were previously rejecting any form of collaboration, now they provided the requested data.

So there you have my conclusion, in measurable form: use native speakers when cold calling the companies.

Sep 4, 2012

foreign direct investments: Austria -> Romania

This is one of those posts with statistics about Romania's commercial relationships with other CEE countries - Austria, to be more specific.

The source for this statistics is this study released by the Commercial Service of the Austrian Embassy in Romania:

  • Austria is the second foreign investor in Romania, after The Netherlands
  • more than 1,000 active Austrian investors are present in Romania
  • Austrian investment amounts for 9.35 BLN Eur and represents 18% of the FDI in Romania
  • more than 6,100 companies with Austrian equity are established in Romania
  • these companies employ over 100,000 people
  • main sectors are: Resources | Agriculture | Industry | Services
  • Austria is market leader in Banking and Insurance
  • Austria is Top Investor in CEE: Romania, Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia.

Aug 28, 2012

local offices - autonomy vs. control

I always wondered what's the healthiest amount of control Headquarters should exert over their offices abroad.

I'm not talking legal or administrative; I'm not debating branch vs. subsidiary as incorporation form; I'm wondering about the intricacies of headquarters' control over the local offices - how much freedom should the latter have in terms of market strategy?

Working in subsidiaries, I sought independence in some marketing decisions and had to fight for it; working in Headquarters, I'm looking for absolute control over the communication and actions, although I'm fully aware of how important local business culture knowledge is.

Aug 25, 2012

estranged press releases?

This post is about my experience with how to improve your chances for the publication of press releases when you're sending them to foreign publications.

Say your company Headquarters is located in some country in CEE.

Say your company has commercial interests in other European countries, without having established a direct presence. So you have no local staff.

Say your marketing actions are handled centrally from your company's headquarters.

Say you've done your homework and built a list of relevant publications from the targeted countries.

How do you get these media channels to support you and publish your releases?

Aug 21, 2012

the silver bullet

The competition analysis provides valuable information about the strengths and weaknesses of your company, ultimately helping you answer the client's question: Why should I work with you, rather than with your competition? 

Do you have in place a system to collect and disseminate information about your competitors? 

Or do you occasionally trip on articles or pieces of data you'd like to keep, but haven't quite found the right storage format? 

Aug 16, 2012

visual introduction to Int'lMkt blog

Aug 13, 2012

online research: industry

Following my previous post on online research - where to search for country information, today I'm writing about how to search for industry data.

This is a summary of what, how and where to search for when you want to gather data on an industry from another country.

Valuable, quality data is not difficult to find online, even for free, when you know where to look.  

I'll work on an example: let's assume we're looking for information about the automotive manufacturing industry in Czech Republic.

So here are the Whats, the Hows and the Wheres:

Aug 11, 2012

associations: the hands-on type

Following my previous post on key bodies and assessing them on how up-to-date their statistics are, I'll add several other signs that you can rely on these sources in your online industry searches.

The local key body is the main authority that gathers and publishes yearly the industry overview and the local market statistics. That being said, you should expect to find 2011 data on their website or in their publications.

However, before taking this source into consideration, first check their number of members and what percentage of the industry to make, to make sure their facts and figures are relevant and that their representation warrant comes from the majority of the industry players.

Aug 9, 2012

where to start your int'l career

A franchise is an excellent place to start learning international marketing, and I'm not just saying that because it's how it happened for me.

A well established, serious franchise organization is built around unitary concept, has a standard product, a clear business model, and an operational system in place.

In my company's case, the business logic was that the more countries were covered by the franchisees’ network, the stronger the overall service was.

Aug 8, 2012

direct marketing: you're doing it wrong

If you're a beginner in direct email campaigns, read the 10 items below to see if you're doing it wrong.

Three important things about this post:

- it addresses rookies

- it refers to cold campaigns
- it speaks mainly about preparation & sending, not about content.

Read below what are the basic mistakes to avoid if you want your emails to catch the eye of the targeted person. The first two are the worst, I'm sort of stating the obvious with them:

Aug 6, 2012

it's who you're connected with

LinkedIn Visual Network Mapping Tool – InMaps
I'm going to document several dilemmas I've had for a while and publish the info I've gathered, with the prospect of putting them in action.

So these posts come less from my experience and more from research; I'll follow up on these actions and explain what has indeed worked for me and what hasn't. Or you can visit my LinkedIn profile and know I've succeeded if I have 500+ connections.

Today's question is how to connect with target professionals on LinkedIn and transform them into leads.

Aug 2, 2012

LinkedIn European demographics

LinkedIn describes itself as the world’s largest and most powerful community of professionals, with members from over 200 countries and 170 industries.

Some countries more than others, indeed.

Ever wondered about the demographics on LinkedIn? I did, and today I saw all this useful data about usage per country, industry, company size, job function, and members’ age.

LinkedIn is almost 10 years old, and it has reached 147 Million members in 2012. Apparently, 2 new users sign up to LinkedIn every second.

Aug 1, 2012

lost in migration

OK, 'Lost in migration' is the name of a brain game I like to play, but this post is about bumps a company can hit when migrating its brand into new markets.

Since these days I'm working on registering brands at international trade marks institutions, I remembered having read about unfortunate trade names meaning when you translate them into another language.

Jul 31, 2012

allow me to multinationally introduce

This one's going to have lots and lots of figures, but bear with me, as I realized I've never properly introduced Romania's international business environment to my readers.

Let's start on a positive note from E&Y, with Romania being the 6th most attractive European country for investors in the next 3 years [Ernst & Young - 2012 European Attractiveness Survey].

Looks like business leaders across the world consider Romania to be  a valuable destination for investments.

Jul 30, 2012

key bodies: call it like it is!

This one is about how I assess the key industry bodies before starting a dialogue with them or using them as data sources.

Typically, these organizations have a website where usually there's a description of the association and its scope, its initiatives, list of members, market trends, a section with press releases, and a calendar of events.

If you intend to work with such organizations for your marketing actions, you must discern the difference between active channels and dead ends. 

Jul 29, 2012

online research: country

Today I'm letting myself easier off the hook and casually drop few lines from the comfort of my favorite subject - online research & market data collection. Say somebody from work comes to you and says: "Yes, but have you thought about Kazakhstan?"

Surely you have a country study content you're trying to fill in with information, as much as possible from free research.

If you're relatively new to this subject, you need a structured source for making your acquaintance of each new geographical entity you're starting to chart.

Jul 28, 2012

searching for clients abroad? so am I

As I'm indexing in my mind my the topics I should write about next, I feel the need to explain why there will be a significant number of posts about web directories, databases, direct mailing, online and social networks for b2b. That's what happens where you're trying to reach for estranged potential market for your product or service.

I was lucky enough to start my professional career in a company that was managing a huge worldwide B2B directory of companies.

So I was part of a huge network of companies in seventy-something countries, each contributing locally to this central web database, plus I was promoting to my home market the access and usage of such marketing-purpose database.

Jul 27, 2012

regional decision makers for CEE countries sit in Austria

This year, Vienna is a hot topic for my company and myself as International Marketing Manager. Last year, over 120 international companies were established in Vienna, and this year our group opened its Austrian subsidiary.

Austria is an interesting case when it comes to b2b marketing actions: you will be advice to address the entire DACH region with your marketing actions, not just the one country. But I tried to take my time and understand the reason why this country is known to be the regional decision-making center for many multinationals.

Jul 26, 2012

clearly misunderstood, or who speaks what

Two non-native English speakers can make a conversation quite funny. I should know, I'm one of them.

I recently had a very loud conversation over the phone with someone from a neighboring country. This person was trying to compensate the terrible English with voice volume to improve my understanding.

This reminded me how confusing it gets sometimes when you have two people from different non-English speaking country trying to understand each other. Not to mention having such attempts over the phone.

Jul 24, 2012

with best compliments, to UK

Being the active marketer that I am, I have poked my nose, respectively my contact data, into various websites, associations, groups, publications, networks and event organizers.

You know, to read some news, download a free study, ask for a media kit, start a debate, what we marketing people do: draw attention to ourselves and our products.

This kind of interaction has happened with people from various countries in Europe, giving me the occasion to learn about certain specificities and the local business culture. But I was particularly impressed by the consultative selling skills of professionals in the UK.

Jul 21, 2012

connect to change

Stumbled upon this fine article on change, and why “over 40 percent of the companies that were at the top of the Fortune 500 in 2000 were no longer there in 2010."

It could be about social media's role and the technology revolution, but not as long as most executives don't use social networks.

Jul 20, 2012

discretely launching this

This is a somehow secret blog on international marketing stuff.

I found myself browsing through intl_mkt pages full of criptic or niche information, without finding an actual good source on how to market your b2b services internationally.

This is why is happening.

As long as my free time will allow it, i'll post about my experience.

Because I've been on both ends of an international business: I've worked in subsidiaries of  B2B services company, and I've worked in the headquarters of a software producer & exporter.

My other expectation from this page, besides offering my views and what I know, is maybe get answers to my unsolved dilemmas, learn more by documenting for my posts, and receive advice from my peers.

The secret part, well, that i'll explain later.

Until then, check out this Blog's Presentation done with Prezi - a cloud-based presentation software with zoomable canvas.


Disclaimer: this blog reflects my own opinions. Everything published here is my personal view, built from my overall professional experience and from the educational content I've absorbed.

P.S. My Technorati blog code is E4FRU445SA9R. 

Jun 5, 2012

international marketing: whois

Challenge: define international marketing

International marketing is a skill, a function or an attitude. 

International marketing is a great deal of books and college courses. It's a profession for the curious, that involves continuous  exploring and learning.

International marketing is probably the new normality when it comes to marketing in general. Because there are no such things as local companies anymore. Every company has to face international markets, foreign partners, global competition.

International marketing can mean a set of activities planned by the Headquarters that help the company take off to other destinations. Or it can refer to the actions executed by the subsidiary that help the company land safely in a specific country.

International marketing is a phase, right after export marketing and before the global marketing, where a company markets it products with a country by country pace.

International marketing can mean building the perception that the company, once successful and stable in its home market, is ready to take it to the next level. It means learning to mitigate or leveraging the country-of-origin effect and using the cultural preconceptions to introduce and position your company.

International marketing means tackling uncertainty and taking on lots of challenges, losing control over context and learning how to start over again. It is a fight between standardization and localization, between centralization and local autonomy.

International marketing means an experience and many many fails, but it's also the best source of growth and expansion. And finally, it's no longer optional.