How to Successfully Market Your Products Around The World


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 countries.

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 hugedirect 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. PreviouslyI 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 advantage.
  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 disadvantage.

    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 results.

  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 new market?

    (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 extremely low.

    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 EU MARKETS!

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://

Your correspondent,

Ted Nicholas