Guest Blog: 10 Commandments of Export Marketing by Coach Bengo (Part 2)
Focus on Word of Mouth Marketing but be careful of Language and Culture differences
As a small business exporter you must focus on using Word of Mouth Marketing and Guerilla Marketing. Typical marketing using television, radio and press is too expensive for small businesses, especially in a foreign market. As a small business marketer you must rely on Word of Mouth and enhanced word of mouth, using Social media to get your message out.
Small Business Marketing starts with having a clear Purpose and Mission (see the 1st Commandment) articulated in a unique, catchy brand name and tag-line. I can confidently say that rebranding myself as CoachBengo has had a significant positive impact on my business. The name is unique, and easy to remember and it leverages easily across multiple platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and my Gmail address. My tagline is:- helping aspiring individuals and their small businesses succeed. It is meaningful, and clearly articulates what I am about.
Having a memorable brand name and tagline is the beginning, we then have to communicate it to the target market. Note, the target market, not any and everyone. It is easy to carried away with numbers of fans or likes on Facebook, these mean nothing unless they are your target market and potential customers. Focus instead on communicating one on one with customers and potential customers. Your communication must be laser like in targeting customers.
A good example is:- it is much better to be mentioned in a small trade magazine reaching your potential customers than it is to be mentioned in the daily newspapers. A few other tips on getting your message out through Small Business Marketing are:- attending functions with your target market and getting potential customers’ call cards (notice not focusing on giving out your call cards, which they may not follow up on, but on collecting theirs, which you will definitely follow up on); emailing and SMS messages to potential customers with a great call to action content; using YouTube to spread your video messages; developing a Blogs or using Facebook to leverage social media.
Having targeted your messages to potential customers, always respond to their communication within at most a day. A small business marketer is always available either online or mobile and always returns a call. He or she speaks confidently, positively and is dressed to impress. In case of doubt, be overdressed. I recommend a standard outfit, a sort of characteristic uniform, to aid the customers in remembering you. I use a trademark jacket and either a Dockers khaki or blue dressed denim.
Using Word of Mouth Marketing in export requires a word of caution, that language is specific to geographical region and culture, so be careful. I have had my own slip-ups, one is quite memorable. In Trinidad & Tobago, my Native land, we use the word ‘boy’ affectionately to communicate familiarity and friendship. We have a number of phrases such as ‘yes boy’ or ‘boy that was good’ and this is addressed to adults and means we are friends. However, in Jamaica, ‘boy’ when addressed to an adult is derogatory and means less than a man, it has slavery overtones.
So you can imagine my predicament when I continued to use ‘boy’ to a potential Jamaican agent. It was insulting and in bad taste and I only became aware of my faux pas when he irritably answered me saying.. YES BOY! with an over emphasis on the BOY. The result was a relationship starting off on a sour note.
Another example is the launch of TATA trucks from India in Trinidad where tata means human waste. Needless to say it also had no success, since no one wants to be told that her new vehicle is human waste.
So yes, use Word of Mouth, but be careful in your choice of words and phrases.