How to Successfully Market Your Products Around The World
THE SUCCESS MARGIN
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
More and more entrepreneurs and top executives
tell me they are interested in expanding their
businesses across national borders to other
Since I've been engaged in successful international
marketing for many years, I'm devoting this issue
to some insights I've gained up to this point in time.
(1) People in every country are more alike than
they are different.
While of course there are some cultural differences
that need to be considered, basic human wants are
nearly the same.
My copy and marketing strategies are successful in
dozens of countries and in every language. (My
copy is of course translated from English.)
Wants are the same. For example, people every-
where want to:
-- Gain personal freedom
-- Make money
-- Retire wealthy
-- Cut taxes
-- Provide a secure future for their family
-- Travel extensively
-- Start a business
-- Have financial privacy
(2) Providing the income level is high enough,
countries outside the U.S. tend to be easier places
to successfully market products, especially by
direct marketing methods.
The U.S. is, of course, a great place to market
products and services. But it's the most
competitive place in the world.
Let's look at direct mail. The average American
receives approximately 42 pieces of unsolicited
commercial mail (direct mail) per week. The
average European gets about 11 pieces.
The consumer just doesn't get much mail.
In the U.S. you have to be an excellent direct
marketer to succeed. Plus, you need to employ
well-written sales copy. In the rest of the world
it's easier to succeed with less powerful, and even
rather ordinary, direct mail.
But if you are a successful U.S. marketer and
advertise in a similar fashion elsewhere, your
odds of being a great success are enormous.
My ads and sales letters across the world tend
to do far better than in the U.S. It's wonderful to
experience the results in Germany, France,
Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Greece, Scandinavia,
China and Australia. You will undoubtedly be
delighted with sales results in these countries and
others as well.
(3) Opportunities exist, especially right now.
Most of the world has not yet awakened to huge
direct marketing opportunities. In many industries,
if you are aggressive, you can almost immediately
begin to dominate your market niche.
(4) Post offices everywhere tend to be efficient.
I must confess being surprised by this. Previously
I had assumed and expected to run into lots of
poor service. But at least to date, service has
been at least satisfactory, and even very good.
(5) If you offer credit to your customers,
Europeans in particular tend to pay their bills
faster than Americans. Thus, there are fewer
bad debt problems.
Unfortunately, more than anyone else, Americans
tend to borrow more than they can really afford,
causing a myriad of "slow pay" and credit
problems such as bankruptcies.
(6) American products and know-how, even if
not the highest quality, tend to be greatly regarded
positively everywhere in the world. People try to
emulate American products and lifestyle. If you
are a U.S. company, this gives you a built-in
(7) In many countries marketing is erroneously
viewed by business people as an expense rather
than an investment. This fundamental error puts
such businesses at an enormous competitive
You can easily out compete such businesses.
Enlightened business people clearly see marketing
as an investment. And as the real engine of cash
flow and profit.
Please note this important point. All other business
activities (namely production, research and finance)
while necessary, are cost centers.
That's why everyone involved in a successful
enterprise that will survive the next decade and
beyond must be fully aware and completely
supportive of the marketing function. Otherwise,
the business is doomed.
(8) To expand your business to other countries
successfully, you have many options. Or a
combination of more than one method. For
example, you can:
(A) Simply send well-written sales letters from
your home country to whatever country you choose.
(Mailing can be in English or another language
depending on, of course, your market, their language,
and the number of people fluent in English.)
(B) License or franchise others with your product,
know-how and copy in return for a licensing fee.
Usually this is a percentage of sales such as 3%,
5%, 10% or 20%.
(C) Outsource your mailings, call center, website and
customer service activities in whatever country you
decide to enter.
Caveat: Outsource services must be carefully selected
and monitored. Otherwise, you can experience disastrous
(9) Legal Protection. An important consideration is the
protection of your intellectual property. This includes your
company name, product name, slogans and sales copy.
It's best to work with a good international lawyer
experienced in these matters to register your company
and product names as well as your copyrights and
trademarks where you intend to do business.
(10) Emphasis. When expanding, spend 80% of
your energy on generating sales and cash flow.
The main questions you need to answer are:
(A) What product has the best chance to sell in the
(B) What price tests should we conduct? (Choose
three prices--low, medium, high)
(C) What is the best media or combination test?
(Internet? E-mail? Space ads? TV? What?)
(D) What sales message should we use?
(If possible, choose one proven in another market)
While not to diminish the legal importance of such
items as tax, administrative and service functions, I've
seen many organizations put the cart before the horse
and emphasize the wrong things. It's vital during the
early stages you keep overhead and staff expenses
Once you are generating sales and cash, it's easy
to staff up for the services you will need.
Your international dreams will not come true with
the emphasis in the wrong places.
Moral of the story. As you internationalize your
operations, a little cash flow goes a long way. And,
the impact of the inevitable mistakes you will
undoubtedly make will be greatly reduced.
(11) Use multiple media. Do not embrace any single
media in your marketing activities, whether it's the
Internet, direct mail, print ads, TV, or radio. There
is no perfect media. And things are constantly changing.
For example, while I love marketing on the Internet, there
are some draconian laws as well as spam filters that can
even block e-mail your customers want to receive. The
most successful companies use a combination of online
and offline methods.
** Upcoming events **
-- On April 18-20 I am speaking for a half day at
Eurobiz 2004, the second annual European Development
Congress. The topic: PROSPER ON THE EXPANDED
This event is for all direct marketers, but particularly
those who want to do business in Europe and the ever-
expanding EU. For details, go to:
-- On May 13-15 I'll be presenting "MY #1 WEALTH-
BUILDING MARKETING SECRET REVEALED" in
Las Vegas at FreedomFest 2004. This event is the
intellectual feast of 2004 where the world's best and
brightest authors, students, business people and
libertarian/conservative think tanks will meet, learn,
create and network. This non-profit organization
probably offers the best seminar value on the planet.
For details go to:
-- On May 21, 22 and 23, I'm conducting a special
three-day seminar in San Antonio, Texas, THE MILLION
DOLLAR COPYWRITING BOOTCAMP. This is the
first (and last) time I'm devoting the entire program to
copywriting, which is crucially important for any successful
marketer. I reveal the secrets of how I sold over $4 Billion
Dollars worth of products and services. For details, go to:
Copyright 2004 Nicholas Direct, Inc.