Expanding into new territories provides a great growth opportunity for brands, but it could be tricky to implement the right strategy for success.
At Multytude, we’ve been part of several successful geo-expansion projects for our clients so here’s a bit of wisdom and helpful tools for those who want to follow suit.
1. Know your target market
We can’t emphasise it enough, you really need to know your target market. A thriving go-to-market strategy in your home market doesn’t guarantee the same success in your target market.
Binary questions or an endless number of multiple choice questions posed to a representative sample of your potential customers don’t work. It’s tempting to start and end with a simple survey on a platform to tick a box on your to-do list, but you risk confirmation bias here.
Be open to hearing actual customer feedback. What makes the consumer tick there? What are the cultural preferences? What are the norms and habits?
Remember, most survey tools don’t find you “target consumers.”. First of all, they’re not available in every market, and if they are available, they’re “career panellists” so take the results with a pinch of salt.
So don’t just survey. Talk to actual consumers.
Focus groups are one such tool but they’re inherently limited and misleading. You simply can’t trust 6 people to tell you what you need to know about the entire universe of consumers in that market.
A good way of thinking about it is as if you’re already creating the marketing plan for your product and use those channels for customer feedback to begin with.
Tools like Multytude help you there, by allowing you to leverage influencers to reach out to actual consumers. Let them ask your questions directly to your target consumers in a natural setting and get genuine answers in minutes instead of weeks, powered by AI.
2. Use the insights
Simple yet hardly ever done! Digest and make use of the insights you’ve collected. If your research tells you that you can’t sell your product in the same form or shape in your target market, listen to it!
For example, milk is sold in plastic bags in Canada. If you’re thinking of entering the dairy market there you must take this packaging feedback in. Another example from Muslim countries, if you’re a non-alcoholic spirit brand you need to change the bottles so that they don’t look exactly like an alcoholic beverage.
Don’t go against your market research. Take it in. Be imaginative.
3. Create options — be ready to experiment
You got the feedback, now it’s time to utilise them to create a product strategy in your new market. Work with your team who understands the value proposition of your product inside out but also bring in experts from the target market.
This is incredibly important.
For example, you’re a furniture brand in Germany and expanding into Japan. You listened to insights and learned that collapsible sofas are in demand in Japan and developed these products and shipped into the market only to realise the average flat size is 4x smaller than the ones in Germany so your sofas are small!
Make sure your in-house and target market experts work together in building the new product and strategy.
Test the new products properly. Don’t use focus groups, try to reach as many people as possible in a physical setting.
Whatever you do, try to test them in real life environments. Get that non-alcoholic spirit served at a party to real consumers instead of a focus group.
4. Build campaigns on insights
One of the biggest mistakes brands make is to associate market research with the product development / adjustment stage of their expansion plans.
But you can employ the same approach to nail down your marketing and improve your ROI.
Create marketing campaign drafts and test them with real consumers before you launch them. Ideally test them with the same audience segment that you asked for insights at #1.
This is possible with tools like Multytude, as you can easily go back to the same influencers you’ve collected insights from and this time get them to collect feedback on your marketing campaign or messaging.
5. Run the campaign — Measure, measure, measure
Never drop a penny without some sort of measurement. Use all measurement capabilities of digital ads platforms. You need to get to a point where you can compare apples to apples. It will not be precise but will give you a direction. If for sales, set up all the tracking tools available, analytics, affiliate links…
If you’re utilising influencers (who doesn’t nowadays), make sure you measure their performance as well. Brand lift measurement for influencers is possible via Multytude for example. It’s gamified and very effective!
A successful market expansion requires a well planned research and iteration strategy both for the product and marketing campaign development. It will save you money and most importantly time to do it right. Listening to the experts who led many projects like this and brands who have done it successfully while utilising superbly better tools like Multytude, will take you to your destination faster and cost-effectively.