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EU - Developing an Export Marketing Strategy

2.2 Developing an Export Marketing Strategy for the EU

Marketing will increase demand and if done correctly, positively affect sales cycles. The American Marketing Association defines marketing as an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.

Exporters can begin to develop their Export Marketing Strategy with an Export Marketing Plan. An  Export  Marketing  Plan typically includes a number of main sections such as executive summary, goals and objectives, product analysis, market analysis, competitive analysis, marketing strategy, implementation, evaluation and summary. Prior to implement any marketing activities it is recommended the market be researched and the marketing mix be evaluated. The elements of the marketing mix are often referred to as the 

4 P's of marketing:

Product
All products have a life cycle and to remain competitive, often product differentiation is required.  Exporters need to be aware of possible product modifications due to EU standards, regulatory requirements and/or consumer preferences. The European Food Safety  Authority  (EFSA)  - www.efsa.europa.eu is committed to ensuring food safety in Europe and  the  overarching  principles  of  food  safety and consumer protection are established in national legislation. The European Parliament and the Council adopted General Principles and requirements  of  Food  Law  outlined  in Regulation (EC) 178/2002 to provide a framework and coherence in the development of food legislation in Europe. Information on food law, labelling and nutrition, novel foods, chemical and biological safety and controls can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/foodlaw/index_ en.htm.
 
Price
The amount a customer will pay for a product is the price. The Euro (€) is the single currency shared by many (Austria, Belgium, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,  Germany,  Slovakia,  Slovenia, Malta  the  Netherlands,  Portugal)  of  the European Union's Member States and around
330 million EU citizens use this currency. Exporters should be aware that there are EU countries with their own currency and more information can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/euro/index_en.html .

Various pricing strategies can be considered depending on the EU member state and local competition such as static pricing, flexible pricing, full cost-based pricing, marginal cost, penetration  pricing,  market  skimming. Exporters should be aware that the European Commission with data from Eurostat and National Statistic Office published the Communication "Food Prices in Europe" and developed a Price Monitoring Tool for food products  to  provide  a  comparison  of  price indices of agricultural goods throughout the supply chain. Details can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/food/competitiveness/prices_monitoring_en.htm.

Place
Place refers to how a product gets to the buyer and represents the location  where a product can be purchased. Specialty food retail distribution channels in the EU is compromised of supermarkets, warehouse clubs and supercenters, convenience stores, natural food stores and specialty food stores. A list of the European Food  Associations  and  Federations can  be  found  at  the  European Commission website:http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/sectors/food/lin ks/list-associations_en.htm for links to domestic and foreign manufacturers,       importers, distributors, brokers, retailers, restaurants, caterers and others in the specialty food business.

Promotion
Advertising, public relations, personal selling and sales promotion are the four distinct elements of promotion. The European Commission has directives on misleading and comparative advertising as well as unfair commercial practices that include rules on misleading advertising to protect consumers, competitors and the public interest. However, national rules may also be applicable and exporters should research which system (judicial or administrative) the national authority within the target market has chosen. Directive 2000/13/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the labelling,
presentation and the advertising of foodstuffs is an important document to assist with promotion. Details and website links to the relevant Directives can be found on the European Commission Consumer Affairs websitehttp://ec.europa.eu/consumers/cons_int/safe_ shop/mis_adv/index_en.htm .

The Forum for International Trade Training outlines nine additional factors with international trade that affect the marketing mix. Planning, personnel, papers, partnerships, payment, practices, policies, positioning and protection are other factors that should be considered.

With the right export marketing strategy exporters will have set priorities and understand their competitive advantages to detail probable costs and be able to forecast expected returns. Marketing techniques,
communications and logistics systems as well as a tailor market action plan will be the outcomes to mitigate risks.