Go International!

You may think it’s crazy… but hear me out. We all learned some valuable lessons over the past year and a half, and we all do business and make purchases differently now. The digital tools at our disposal have ‘shrunk’ the world and made distance and geography almost irrelevant for many businesses.

Duke Merhavy

If you are not conducting business internationally yet, I encourage you to spend some time with your team and brainstorm about what you can offer to customers who do not reside in your country. In some cases, the path to deciding what to offer is rather straightforward – Just take what you are ordinarily offering to current buyers and expand that to potential buyers across your country’s borders. Tangible products fall into this category most intuitively.

If you are making or manufacturing products, examine what it would take to sell them in other countries. In some cases, you may need to make some adjustments to comply with certain regulations, or you may need to partner with a domestic business in the target market, but the prospect of opening a whole new market with many new potential customers might be well worth it!

Offering services and intangible products in other countries is very possible too. Many of these can easily be offered elsewhere. We work with clients who are in the business of consulting, training, software, design, engineering, and technology services around the world. Internet-based tools help make their expansion into international markets simple and affordable. If your service requires physical presence to be provided, consider working with local subcontractors that are carefully qualified and vetted to get them done.

Clearly, certain professional services are regulated and more country-specific (think lawyers, physicians, etc.), but even these services can be offered in other countries. There are at least two approaches to overcome licensing limitations: One is, you have gained knowledge, experience, and expertise related to your profession – these have value in other areas of the world. If you cannot actually practice in another country, you can still provide advice and opinions, especially as it relates to the country where you are licensed to practice. The other approach would be to offer representation and services in your own country. For example, if you are an attorney licensed to practice in Arizona, there are foreign companies which need representation there. Ways exist to find those potential clients, and not only is it not as complex as you might think, but we also have the expertise to help get it done.

My point is that you should not limit your potential pool of customers to your own “backyard” only. Think creatively and employ marketing tactics that will help you capture international customers. If you need help developing a strategy and implementing marketing efforts to gain momentum with international customers, call or write to us. We will be happy to help.

Duke Merhavy, MBA, Ph.D.
President & Chief Marketing Officer

What Is Fractional CMO & Marketing?

Fractional CMO & Marketing is ‘Your Outsourced Marketing Department’ when you need expert marketing leadership and marketing services to accelerate growth and improve profitability, but you’re not quite ready to hire a full-time Chief Marketing Officer or your own marketing department.

Our unique arrangement is the most efficient, innovative, and cost-effective formula for you. Click on the image to the left to watch a short video.

We Help When You Need To:

  • Generate more of the right kind of leads
  • Close more sales faster
  • Get repeat sales
  • Formulate a more effective message
  • Produce powerful sales tools

  • Establish brand awareness, recognition, and preference
  • Differentiate your brand from the competition
  • Improve customer satisfaction and loyalty
  • Develop lasting relationships with customers
  • Introduce new products

If You Haven’t Considered Exporting, Consider This!

Companies may not always realize their potential for exporting their goods and services, but with the world so efficiently connected through the Internet and technology, going global is something you may want to investigate. Remember, 95% of consumers in the world are not in the United States. That’s a huge untapped market if you’re only focusing on the USA!

Agencies were created to assist organizations in doing business internationally, and they stand ready to help, deftly able to quickly adjust to worldwide market conditions and changes, and offering your company great resources. The International Trade Administration (ITA), which is within the US Department of Commerce, has a mission to strengthen US industries’ ability to compete internationally through promoting trade and investment, thereby fostering financial success and prosperity for US companies. The US & Foreign Commercial Service (USFCS) division of the ITA is specifically tasked with helping American firms both export and grow globally. There are agents, called CS Trade Specialists, working throughout the 50 states and in the US embassies and consulates located in over 75 countries abroad. Also, offices of the US Export Assistance Center are located in almost every state in the union, available to help with exportation issues you may confront, like trade barriers, unfair business practices, and detailed questions about specific countries. Suffice it to say, there is assistance at the federal level for your global business endeavors.

For example, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, for a period of several months, the USFCS substantially reduced or eliminated the cost of several export services they provide, in an effort to support American businesses that export COVID-19-not-medically-necessary supplies. The year prior to this (in 2019), the ITA provided assistance to almost 30,000 clients in reaching $88.3 billion in exports, as well as facilitating foreign investments of $18.5 billion into US companies.

If your enterprise is related to items that help treat COVID-19, then you are most certainly aware that when the pandemic was in full swing, FEMA ruled that these supplies were not to be exported, to ensure domestic needs were met. As of June 30, 2021, that directive expired, and there are currently no constraints when it comes to offering, selling, and shipping those goods abroad.

The US Small Business Administration provides several tools for international sales for exporters, such as developing an export plan, identifying potential markets, education regarding applicable US laws and regulations, and setting up international logistics and operations. The agency also offers financial programs for American businesses engaged in direct overseas exports, as well as indirect arrangements (selling to a US-based customer who does the actual exporting). Export Express loans allow fast access to funding, with approval of up to $500,000 usually within 36 hours. Export Working Capital loans are typically granted within 5-10 business days, and can be as much as $5 million. These loans are meant to be used for fulfilling export orders and financing international sales with the added benefit of the US companies being able to offer more flexibility in payment terms, since they have the working capital loan funds as a cushion. International Trade loans have a cap of $5 million, come with an SBA maximum guaranty of 90%, and are intended for small businesses to be able to enter the international market and compete with other importers. While there are many other facts and much more information to be aware of regarding these SBA loans, it’s great to know these financial support options exist for companies considering or getting ready to go international.

Businesses that incorporate exports into their strategic plan are less likely to falter, enjoy higher revenues, and create more and higher paying jobs than those that don’t expand internationally. An important part of our economy recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic is expanding to new markets, and with only 5% of consumers on the Earth being in the United States, offering your goods and services to the rest of the world may make more sense than you appreciated; and even with just these few examples of the support and programs our government offers, it may be more possible to do so than you previously thought.

Marketing Lingo: Product Placement

By Ginger Mace, Editor and Producer

Product placement, also known as embedded advertising, is deliberately inserting goods or services into a production meant for viewing by a large audience. This inclusion is made possible by renumeration in the form of money, bulk amounts of the product, or services (when applicable) to the production company or studio. This method can even be utilized in long-engagement stage productions, but it is used most commonly in television or streaming shows and in movies. It is usually rather subtle and integration into the show or storyline seamless. The product visual or indirect discussion of the item carries the message, as opposed to, for example, a character facing the camera and deliberately picking up a can of a popular brand of soda followed by saying “[Brand name] is the best soda in the world!”.

The purpose of product placement is to foster in the viewing audience a positive feeling, emotion, or connection with the brand and item or service in a more natural, less contrived way than advertising. Product placement should not be confused with endorsements or sponsorships seen and heard in all types of media, from radio to YouTube videos.

For more information about the placing your product where it will be seen by potential customers, contact us today!

Fascinating Product Placement Factoids Nike and Pepsi

By Ginger Mace, Editor and Producer

The first two movies in the series of everyone’s favorite DeLorean time-traveling machine were practically the 2nd home for Pepsi and Nike in the mid-to-late 1980s. In Back to the Future (1985), Nike was prominently featured in scenes and specifically mentioned in character dialogue. Legend has it that when Michael J Fox arrived on set to start filming, he was wearing his own Nike high-tops, and since, for some reason, the wardrobe department had no shoes for him, the director just let him keep them on. The style, though, wasn’t being made at the time, and because making films can require several of the same item a character is wearing, Nike was contacted and they agreed to make enough pairs for the production.

When 1989’s Back to the Future Part II was in pre-production, the director reached out to the shoe maker again, explained the movie’s concept of the DeLorean taking the main character into the future to 2015 this time, and the two entities came up with the very cool self-tying Nike Mag sneakers Marty McFly wears. Clearly, the sneakers left an indelible mark on fans of the movie franchise, Nike, and sneakerheads. In both 2011 and 2016, the shoe company held eBay auctions of replica pairs to raise funds for the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, and an impressive just-under $11.5 million total was donated! Great Scott!

Bob Gale, screenwriter and producer, thought Pepsi would be a good fit for the Back to the Future universe, especially considering the soda maker’s logo was different in 1955, the year Marty originally travels back to, and that fact would allow filmmakers to reinforce the idea that he did indeed go back in time. Brad Brown, a marketer with Hollywood contacts, negotiated one sweetheart of a deal for Pepsi’s product placement. Reportedly, in exchange for being featured, Pepsi needed only supply both productions’ cast and crew with all the free soda they wanted during filming. 

When Marty asks for a drink that as a 1985 teenager he was, and those watching the movie when it came out were, familiar with – a “Pepsi Free” – at the diner, he is told “If you want a Pepsi, you’re gonna have to pay for it.” This was a very memorable line from the movie, served to further emphasize the different time period for the plot, and was another product mention for Pepsi.

In Back to the Future II, the Pepsi revolution continued, but this time Marty travels through time to 2015, and encounters “Pepsi Perfect”. An ultramodern logo was designed and it was decided that such a product (by then) would be health-boosting with minerals and vitamins. In 2015, to celebrate Back to the Future Day, Pepsi made 6500 bottles, filled with the real sugar recipe for the drink, which sold as a collector’s item for $20.15 each. Sales were driven by an online commercial and inclusion in that year’s New York Comic Con.

While not the only product placements for Nike and Pepsi, they do represent one of the most well-known. Being marketing folks, we’re always keeping an eye out for brands and items in our favorite shows and movies. Will you be hunting for them while you binge programs or catch a flick now?

Whether you’re beefing up your pop culture knowledge for trivia night, are a film buff, or just always in the market for interesting tidbits of info to share, we’ve got more product placement particulars to share in future newsletters, so don’t touch that dial!

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