A selection of thoughts, observations and writings, taken from our day-to-day work and activities.
Read on (or jump ahead to the take-home points!)
Let’s think about it. How many countries DON’T practise agriculture? Perhaps the Vatican, and Monaco is questionable, but that’s about it. Even the city state of Singapore has its own farms (in fact, it claims 0.5% of its GDP from agriculture) while Greenland, almost entirely within the Arctic Circle, is increasing its potato and sheep production thanks to improving technology (and climate change).
Agriculture’s ubiquity presents a great opportunity for agtech start-ups and established agricultural players alike. Expanding beyond home borders and doing business internationally means growing a customer base faster and market shares in multiple territories. For companies (and product viability) reliant on data sharing, the increase in subscriber numbers – and the multiplication of data streams – offers yet further value.
While there’s nothing new about multinational agriculture – companies in crop protection, fertiliser and machinery are perhaps the best examples – many of those have become international only after a long process of acquisitions and mergers. Absorbing local teams has made it easier for them to develop a presence outside their home countries. Those teams bring knowledge and understanding of local audiences, providing the grasp of markets, trends and culture that a successful marketing and communications strategy demands.
But for the new entrant or start-up, recruiting local teams usually isn’t an option – and so it’s common that the same, universal campaign gets rolled out.
Sometimes, you’ll get away with it. Granted, your campaign might not have the same buzz as it has back home, but if you’re lucky it will remain inoffensive and not generate unintended consequences.
On the other hand, marketing textbooks are littered with examples where companies’ failure to carry out ‘due diligence’ before entering a new market has caused embarrassment, ridicule and even offence, not to mention the cost of reconfiguring campaigns and starting all over again.
Even when translation isn’t to blame, cultural differences can still trip up the unwary:
So – whether you’re launching a new product, or entering new markets, your international marketing plan needs not only to speak the right language, but also to reflect and respect the local culture.
There’s only so much insight we can give, while seeking to keep a blog post short! We’ve mentioned some of our international marketing experiences from our own clients – we’ve completed projects on six continents – but if you’re interested in seeing how we might help you expand your borders, while avoiding the pitfalls, just get in touch. We’ll be very happy to get talking!