Your export readiness assessment shows that your firm is ready to export, your earlier research has indicated that there is a market for your products abroad, you have prepared an export plan, and you have secured the financing to see your export efforts through. Now, you are ready to beging promoting your exports! Unfortunately, many would-be exporters tend to jump into the export process at this stage of the game, without having established whether they are ready to export, without having done any research, and without sufficient planning or funds - this is a recipe for disaster.
We refer to promotion
As you start with your promotional efforts, you should realise that while we use the term 'promotion' in this website, other authors may us different terms. For example, the phrase 'international marketing communications' is often used, as is the term 'international advertising'. However, whether you choose to speak of communications, advertising or promotion, what we are in fact referring to are and activities that your firm undertakes and the effort that it puts into making the firm known to potential customers (i.e. overseas importers and customers). Such promotional activities include advertising, public relations, direct marketing, personal selling, online marketing, sales promotion and personal selling.
Promotional effort and activities often differs between small and large firms
Each of these promotional activities can also be undertaken in different ways and with different intensities. For example, a large firm such as SABMiller will almost certainly make use of extensive and expensive television and radio advertising to promote their products in foreign markets. They may back this advertising up with a comprehensive public relations campaign, a direct marketing or e-mail campaign and they may even employee a network of sales staff to call on stores, restaurants, bars and similar outlets to encourage these outlets to stock and sell their products. This personal selling effort may be supported with a sales promotion effort (such as a competition or special offer), including participation in suitable trade and consumer fairs. Not surprisingly such a comprehensive promotion effort will cost many millions of rands. Clearly, smaller firms are not in a position to undertake such a promotional effort.
Help with your promotional effort
In the sections that follow, we will discuss in some detail each of the promotional channels open to you, especial as a small business. You will need to consider which of these channels is best suited for you needs and to follow the processes involved in implementing the promotional activities you decide on.