Export Marketing – How to Develop Products for Export

Before you think of developing a product for export or even adapting an existing one, it is important to make a distinction between a product and a product type. A motor vehicle is product type, but a “Toyota”, a very popular Japanese car, is a product.

New product types are rarely created. An exporter who can come up with a better version of an existing product will succeed as a market for such a product already exists. The manufacturers of Toyota have worked very hard to make their cars so popular although the vehicles are not much different from any others you find on our roads. But think of how much harder they would have to work to come up with a completely new mode of land transportation.

There is business in the re-modeling or re-packaging of existing products, that is, creating new products out of the existing ones. Sometimes only very minor adjustments are required, for example, using a colorless clear bottle for a whiskey that is traditionally sold in an opaque bottle.

If you decide to copy products of another manufacturer you will be running the risk of patent or copyright infringement. But you can avoid the risk and still exploit the success of a new product by making slight modifications in the design of the product you want to copy as long as you do not try to confuse the public into thinking that they are buying the original product.

The Product:

Any new product ideas should take into account the following factors:-

An understanding of how buyers conceive a product. This will include physical and non-physical elements such as the product itself, packaging, after sales service, brand name, the image it portrays and the benefits they expect out of using the product.
The product must be made to meet the standards and styling of the customer and not the manufacturer. This is the importance of a good market research.
Expected Life Cycle of the product. “Product Types” may go on for ever but “Products”, like all living things, progress in definite stages from birth to maturity, then death.
Possible patent or copyright infringement which may lead to legal action.
The Product Life Cycle:

Introduction: The product is launched and, if it finds buyers, sales rise slowly,
Growth: The product is becoming accepted and if it catches on, there is a period of rapid growth in sales. If it fails to catch on it should be withdrawn at this stage for possible modification or to try a different market.
Maturity: Sales growth reaches the apex and starts to slow down,
Stagnation: Sales level off and further expenditure on sales promotion become uneconomical.
Decline: Sales start to decline as demand for the product goes down
When stagnation starts, research should reveal the cause and corrective measures taken before the decline commences. A product may be given a new lease of life by being changed in some way, either substantially or just the way it is presented.

It is important to note here that although it is true that the life cycles of most products follow almost the same pattern, the length of the cycle itself varies greatly. For example, the life cycle of fashion dresses is relatively short compared to that of capital goods which, in some cases, may be as long as 20 years. Life cycles of particular products or product types may vary from country to country.

Once the product life cycle is understood, the planning of when to introduce a new product or make changes on the existing product can be done more accurately.

Festus Muga

Hello Fellow Small Scale Entrepreneur,

I am a freelance writer and have a wealth of experience in the Banking Industry. I have worked as a member of the management team of an international bank and am well versed in Business Development and Financing, Financing of Foreign Trade, Import/Export Processing and Documentation.

I have successfully managed an Export/Import Agency of my own which has given me quite an experience in the pros and cons of international business.

Top Level Secrets of Promoting Your Products to the Right Audience

This encompasses everything to do with the way an organization communicates persuasively with people to influence them towards making a purchase. Marketers use many different tools to promote their products and services. Promotion is sometimes seen as the most important part of marketing; certainly it is the most visible, with elements of it advertisements, posters and so on – all around. It should be known that even the producer of the best product or service will do no business if no one knows it exists. Similarly promoting a bad product is certainly the fastest way to kill it. The combination of promotional tools an organization uses is referred to promotional mix.1. Advertising: This is paid non personal communication through various media by organizations and individuals who are in some way identified in the advertising message. The medium of advertising include; television, radio, handbills, billboards (electronic and non-electronic), newspapers, magazines, music and internet. The best medium is a function of the product being advertised and the target customers to be reached. Generally speaking, securing airtime for advertorials in television is quite expensive for most small businesses. Radio jingles and handbills are fairly more affordable and fit into local advertising. Advertising is carried out with the following objectives in mind: informing potential customers of a new offering; increasing the frequency of purchase; increasing the use of a product; increasing the quantity purchased; increasing frequency of replacement; presenting a promotional programme; bringing a family of products together; and making the organization behind a range of offerings known. In summary, advertising can help promote a business but it is important to be aware that it has its limitations. Some small business owners believe that if their business is failing they can advertise their way out the problem. Sadly, this is not the case because advertising cannot force people to buy unneeded goods and services. If the business is in the wrong market advertising will not be able to help. Furthermore, it cannot improve an inferior product. If the product is not adequate or does not fit the overall marketing mix, advertising cannot compensate.2. Personal selling: This is face-to-face presentation and promotion of products and services. It also involves the search for new prospects and follow-up service after the sale. Effective selling is not simply a matter of persuading others to buy. In fact it is more accurately described as helping others to satisfy their wants and needs. The major strength of personal selling over advertising is that it provides a two way communication where the prospect can ask questions and seek clarification where necessary as against advertising which is strictly one way. For large businesses this medium is very expensive because their customers are spread all over as against the small business operator who usually has direct access to his customers and sees them often.3. Public relations: This is defined as the function that evaluates public attitudes, changes policies and procedures in response to the public’s requests, and executes a programme of action and information to earn a public understanding and acceptance. In essence, a good public relations (PR) programme has three steps. Listen to the public through marketing research. Change policies and procedures to accommodate the concerns and aspirations of the public. Inform people that you are being responsive to their needs. For most small businesses PR means obtaining free publicity via stories placed in newspapers, radio and TV with the objective of bringing attention to the business. The value of this approach is that it has a higher degree of credibility than an advertisement. Sponsorship of a local sporting event is also good publicity. Many businesses tend to overlook the importance of PR. Some are prepared to develop their own PR strategies and have the talents within the business to achieve satisfactory results, whilst some are unsure how to correctly handle this area and will employ outside expertise.4. Publicity: This is talking arm of PR. It is one of the major functions of almost all organizations. Publicity is any information about an individual, product or organization that is distributed to the public through the media and that is not paid for, or controlled by the seller. In essence, it can be viewed as a form of free advertising. To use this properly, a small business owner must attempt to feed to the media information that is of public interest. Whether the media uses the information submitted to it depends on whether time and space are available and whether it is considered “newsworthy”. Different publications have different audiences and only stories that have high interest to the readership are likely to be chosen. Imagine establishing a small kindergarten school where primary education has been a major challenge or a small business engaged in nymph oil extraction for the treatment of skin diseases which has been a cause for concern in that community. Note that in both cases, the public will be very receptive to the news and help spread to others. The magic is that the various media will publish these stories free since the material is interesting and newsworthy. It has a major advantage over advertising because publicity may reach people who will not want to read or pay attention to an advert. In addition, when a newspaper or a magazine publishes a story as news, the reader treats that story as news – and news is more believable than advertising.5. Sales promotion: Sales promotions (SP) are used to help promote the sale of the product or service. They are generally put into place for short time periods to achieve customer attention and sales. The cost of such promotions must be well controlled and the small business owner must ensure that results are worthwhile for the outlay involved. SP is considered very effective because it creates instant demand booster and leverages on the weakness of the average customer – greed – which makes him buy certain products that he may ordinarily not want to buy at the time or may not buy that much quantity. SP campaigns could be used in the following scenarios; To move products or services that have slowed down probably created by loss of buyer interest or change of buying season.To win back customers who have moved to competitors for reasons such as price, delivery of product, pedestrian packaging among others. To launch new products. This allows the customers to experience the new product or service. In essence, it encourages new product trials and brand switching. SP could be deployed in different ways but some of the very prominent ones include: Offering a special price reduction for a given period; selling two items for the price of one; adding a product on or in another product without charging for the added on product; giving out free samples; sponsoring a game or a contest and organizing raffle draws for those that qualify based on volume of purchases made over a period of time. Note that the list is endless and only needs some marketing imagination and flair to make a successful promotion.

Can I Do a Product Launch With Little or No Budget? Five Powerful, Proven Strategies

1. Offer a product that is wanted and that solves a problem. Most internet marketers teach this. The most simple and organic way to do this is to turn to your own life experience. Do you, or have you in the past had a problem that you really needed to resolve? If so, did you find a solution, or create a solution yourself? This is the best way to get to this nugget. The reason why is simple. First of all, if you have had this problem, it is likely that many others have had it, too. You can do some quick googling and find out if that’s the case. Second, it is most likely subject matter that have some expertise which you can share. Third, it is always the path of least resistance to start an online business when you have affinity for the subject matter. If you think about it, why would you market, say, tax preparation products if you had no interest or affinity whatsoever in the subject matter? This would be especially true if you hired an accountant every year and had no idea what that person did for you. But, let’s say that you have loved and grown orchids for the past 10 years, and you had done abundant research and testing, and had found out how to keep them alive and thriving? You would definitely want to get into the orchid arena rather than the tax arena. Start out with a little self inventory, and you’ll soon find yourself on the right path.

Cost: time output for research.

2. Create an online presence. It’s not nearly as difficult as you might think. Starting an online business does require online presence though, and these days it’s practically pain-free to throw up a blog using WordPress. It’s free, easy to install and there are plenty of design templates available at no cost. Taking the example of orchids, put up a blog and start writing articles. To get your subject matter, you may want to utilize the Google Keyword Tool, which again is free. Find high interest keywords and make them the subject lines of your posts. Your main goal at this point is to fill the blog with content. Think 20 posts, which sounds like a lot, but these days the standard for posts is 200 – 500 words. Not much at all. If you put up a post every few days, it would take a little more than a month. Once you have done this, you will automatically draw in search engine traffic.

Cost: $10 for domain name, $10 per month for web hosting service. Time output for setting up blog and writing posts.

3. Build a list. Now that you have generated traffic to your blog, put up a form on it in order to collect email contacts. There are some great ways to do that. You could offer a monthly or weekly news blast. You could write a one page report or create/find a video that is focused on a particular problem of your market and offer it to them for free in order to get the email address. There are programs out there that assist you in capturing email addresses by putting a lightbox form on the page, or popping up as people try to leave the page. These are easier to implement than you may think.

Another secret is this. If you open a gmail account, Google will give you $100 free of AdWords advertising. AdWords advertising will really pull people to your site. You could make your free offer through the ad you create.

Cost: Time output, unless you decide to spend more money on AdWords after your initial $100.

4. Build a relationship with the people on the list. Put together 5 really good email communications that have relevant information about your subject matter. You really want to send them 10 or 15, but you can get a good start with five. There is a specific way to communicate with people online, so it would help to either search for information about this, or to find a good book about it. But in any event, put five emails together that are really good and send them out, one every few days. Build up to the 10 or 15 over the course of a month or so. This is how you build your relationship. Whatever you do, do not underestimate this process. It’s your relationship with your list that is the backbone of everything else you do with your online business.

Cost: Time output for writing and generating emails plus cost of email writing book if you decide to buy one.

5. Interact with the list. It’s not you, a cold and emotionless virtual entity, out there building your empire and preying on the unsuspecting. Quite the opposite. You really want to be warm, genuine and interested in the people on your list, and you do want to interact. You want to find out what subjects they want more or new information about. You also want to find out where their pain and frustrations are. You want to find these things out because these are the source for your upcoming products. It’s good to keep in mind when you ask a question that a very small percentage that will actually respond so that you don’t have too high an expectation.

But you can get higher response if you hit some mental triggers. One of them is reciprocity, where if you give something to someone they will feel some sense of obligation to give something back to you. When you ask someone their opinion such as, “What do you think about this” or “What do you want to know about this,” or “I’m creating a product and I need your input so I can make the best product.” I think there is a little bit of reciprocity. You are giving someone your attention. Everything you do at this stage is building up to figuring out what specific items these people want information on. When you approach the list in this way, there will be certain things that will be repeated over and over again that are frustrating for the people in your market, and that is your cue for product creation.

Cost: Time output

So there you have it. These are five simple but powerful steps that anybody interested in being an internet marketing consultant can accomplish with $100 up front and $20 a month to spend. Many internet marketers are using these methods, but a lot of them don’t know that they originated with Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula. I’ve left plenty for you to discover when you are inside the Product Launch Formula training, because after all, it would not be cool to be revealing all of Jeff’s groundbreaking secrets.