What is market entry strategy?

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How do you enter a new potential market?

Expanding your brand into new markets allows you to reach potentially vast numbers of new customers and grow your revenue massively. However, the process can be complex and filled with complications.

A market entry strategy maximizes your chances of success when moving into a new market. In this article, we’ll look at some reasons to consider moving to a new market, the differences between domestic and international markets, and some strategies you can use.

Market entry defined

Market entry strategy is a plan to expand the visibility and distribution of a product or service to a new market. Market entry research helps brands to expand into new domestic or international markets where the competitive, legal, political or cultural landscape might be less known. 

Market entry research is the path to understanding a new market. It helps brands identify different success factors, reveal potential challenges, and discover hidden potential opportunities.

Why move to a new market?

First up, why should you consider moving to a new market in the first place? It’s challenging and expensive, so what are the reasons that make it worthwhile? Here are some of the main ones:

  • You’ll gain more customers and make more money – The number one reason to consider new markets is to grow your business and increase revenue by selling more products to more customers.
  • There might be no more opportunities for growth in your home market – If you’ve maxed out what your local market is capable of in terms of revenue, expanding to new markets may be the only way to grow.
  • You’ll reduce risk by diversifying your business – If one market suffers for whatever reason, you’ll have others to keep you going.

Domestic markets vs. international markets

Are you planning to enter a new domestic market or take your products overseas to sell in a foreign country? The approach for each of these will be very different.

Domestic markets

Typically, this will be much easier than entering an overseas market. The culture will be the same, everything will be geographically closer, and things will likely be very similar to your existing markets.

International markets

Global expansion is where things become more complicated. You’ll have to factor in several differences in how you currently run your business. These include:

  • Cultural differences
  • Administrative differences
  • Economic differences
  • Logistical challenges involved in transporting goods abroad

Things to consider

Before you enter any new market, it’s crucial to take some time to confirm whether you can afford the move. Can you afford the costs of exporting, working with intermediaries, tax, and all the other expenses involved? And what proportion of the market can you realistically expect to be able to serve? 

You must also consider if the product or service will work in your intended market. Market research (both online and offline) plays an important role here — ensuring demand for your product justifies the export cost.

Risks of entering new markets

There are also numerous risks involved in entering a new market, including:

  • Country risks, like the possibility of political unrest, sudden changes, or financial issues that could impact your business.
  • Foreign exchange, such as the possibility of currency exchange rates changing, could seriously affect your bottom line.
  • Cultural risk, which essentially means the possibility of your new business venture running into challenges due to significant differences in culture and customs.
  • Weather unpredictability. Are you moving into a market where natural disasters and weather conditions could cause damage to your facilities and cost money?

Once you have carefully researched your new market and weighed the potential risks, you may decide it’s worth entering. If so, there are several different strategies you can employ, each with its pros and cons.

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Different market entry strategies

Direct exporting

Direct exporting is where you ship your products to the new market directly. You’ll have to handle all aspects of the process independently, from transport to payments to operations in the new market.

This method requires more resources and time compared to working with an intermediary. You’ll need to create an exporting infrastructure, train employees, and make and receive international payments, among many other challenging tasks.

On the plus side, this approach maximizes your profits as you don’t need to pay any third parties. You’ll also have complete control over your sales and marketing processes.

Indirect exporting

Indirectly exporting involves working with an intermediary. It has some advantages, such as:

  • Much lower risk. An experienced third party will take care of the exportation process, which minimizes the risk of failure.
  • You can focus on your own business and domestic markets without being occupied by your new ones.
  • Fewer resources are required on your part.

On the other hand

  • Profits are lower since you have to pay your intermediary.
  • You’ll be disconnected from your customer base, so you’ll miss out on important insights and lessons.
  • You’ll lose complete control over sales and marketing abroad.

There are several different options when it comes to indirect exporting. Here are some of the most common ones.

Indirect exporting with buying agents

Buying agents are representatives of foreign companies that want to buy your products. You’ll work through them when selling your products to your new market.

They’re usually paid by commission and will try to negotiate the lowest possible price. Sometimes, buying agents are government agencies.

Indirect exporting using distributors

You can sell your product directly to distributors or wholesalers, who will then distribute the product to retailers.

Indirect exporting through the management and trading companies

Export Management Companies (EMCs) exist to take care of all your export and sales processes in your new market.

It’s worth taking some time to research and find the correct EMC, as most specialize in a particular market and region. They’ll help you identify markets, find customers, handle all shipping and logistics, and more.

Indirect exporting through piggybacking

Piggybacking is where you allow another non-competing company to sell your product. This can work exceptionally well if the partner company already has a customer base and distribution infrastructure in your target market.

You’ll get immediate access to your new market but for a fee.

Producing products in the target market

Another option is to manufacture your products within the target market. This saves you the cost of transport and the many logistical challenges involved in exporting your product abroad.

However, you’ll also need to consider the many challenges in manufacturing your product abroad, legal issues, costs, possible risks, and more. Depending on your situation, this could be a good option.

(For more information on the most effective strategies for entering a new market, check out our top four marketing strategies article).

Franchising / Licensing

While franchising is often associated with fast food or quick-serve restaurants, it can successfully aid expansion in many different categories. 

Franchising is where a semi-independent business owner (the franchisee) pays fees and royalties to the franchisor to use a company’s trademark and sell its products or services.

While franchising and licensing are both business agreements where certain aspects of the business are shared in exchange for a fee, a licensing agreement is typically more limited.

Entering a new market can be extremely rewarding and allow your business to move to the next level and achieve new growth. It’s essential to research all the options and ensure the export strategy you deploy is the safest and most effective for you. You’ll also need to thoroughly research the market to understand its potential and position your product for success, something we cover in our Ultimate Guide To Market Entry.

Kadence can help you do that. We have extensive experience assisting businesses by conducting game-changing research to create effective strategies for market entry. To find out more, learn about our market entry services or get in touch.