Expanding into Europe; how our manufacturer broke new markets

With all the doom and gloom surrounding our relationship with Europe, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that it is by far our largest trading partner; unless you’re a UK manufacturer of course.

Many of our manufacturing clients, far from wanting to get away from Europe, are constantly looking at new and innovative ways to grow their presence in this highly lucrative market.

Ecotile Flooring, one of our major industrial clients, has grown exponentially since its foray into the manufacturing heartlands of the EU. From zero sales in 2009, exports of their industrial flooring solutions now account for an incredible 40% of turnover.

Of course this wasn’t easy. Nothing worth achieving ever is. But we are very pleased to have played some part in helping them accomplish this and even got them a nice article in the Guardian explaining some of the challenges they faced.

The key, as you would imagine, is hard work and perseverance. However, there are a number of marketing considerations to take on board that could save you a lot of time and money if you are looking to expand in this direction yourself.

A local marketing presence is key

As James Gedye, Ecotile’s CEO and Founder, points out in the Guardian article, many EU based businesses are reluctant to deal with overseas suppliers. It was only when they established more of a local presence that this hurdle was overcome.

Your marketing materials must reflect this. You will need to incorporate the feel of a local presence when you sit down to plan your graphic design and print projects.

Make sure that you have a local address and phone number on all of your printed brochures. Not a PO Box number, but a real, genuine address.

Translation and localization is another big factor. Many companies are reluctant to spend money on professional translation services, but even the slightest mishap will jar with potential clients.

With the odds of securing new business already stacked against you as an outside competitor, this is one shortcut that really doesn’t make long-term financial sense.

We have worked on translation projects for both printed and digital marketing initiatives. We have seen firsthand what a difference professionally translated and localized material makes.

Web design and build – where things get really tricky!

How you approach your digital strategy will make a huge difference to the success of your overall marketing efforts. This is because handling multiple territories online is a complex and perilous process for the inexperienced.

There are two genuine ways to go about this:

1: Do you create new pages on your existing website in a localized sub-folder?

This can be very beneficial to your overall brand if done well but comes fraught with serious technical considerations. Get this wrong and you could end up destroying your UK web presence too.

2: Do you register a new domain in the country you are trying to market and build a whole new website from scratch?

This can be much better if you are trying to establish yourself on a local level, but it can also be expensive and require a lot more resource to do well.

Both of these options have advantages and disadvantages and it really depends on precisely what it is you are trying to achieve. Our advice would be to do nothing until you have spoken to digital marketing experts with genuine experience in this field.

About Blaze Communication

We are an Enfield based integrated marketing and communications agency specializing in MFM (marketing for manufacturers).

If any of these topics are of interest to you and you would like to discuss them further, pleased do not hesitate to contact us by calling +44 (0) 20 8360 8244.

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Image by Charles Clegg
Produced under the Creative Commons License