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US - Developing an Export Marketing Strategy

2.2 Developing an Export Marketing Strategy for the US

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. Marketing will increase demand and if done correctly will positively affect sales cycle. With the right export marketing strategy the process of selling will become unnecessary.

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 & 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 Ps of marketing:

Product

All products have a lifecycle and to remain competitive often product differentiation is required. Exporters need to be aware of possible product modifications due to US standards, regulatory requirements and/or consumer preferences. The US Food and Drug Administration is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy and security of food supply and by regulating the manufacture, marketing and distribution of products. Information on food ingredients and packaging, food safety, labeling, nutrition, guidance, Compliance and Regulatory information can be found at www.fda.gov .

Price

The amount a customer will pay for a product is the price. Typically products in the US are retailed in US  currency. Various pricing strategies can be considered depending on the US state and local competition such as static pricing, flexible pricing, full cost-based pricing, marginal cost, penetration pricing, market skimming.

Place

Place refers to how products gets to the buyer and represents the location where a product can be purchased. Specialty food retail distribution channels in the US is compromised of supermarkets, warehouse clubs and suers, convenience stores, natural food stores and specialty food stores. The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade (NASFT) www.specialtyfood.com is a not-for-profit independent association representing domestic and foreign manufacturers, importers, distributors, brokers, retailers, restaurants, caterers and others in the specialty food business. NASFTA's Fancy Food Shows are attended by representatives of the major food buying channels and Caribbean Export has had trade booths in recent years to assist exporters with product placement.

Promotion

Advertising, public  relations, personal selling and sales promotion are the four distinct elements of promotion. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the main federal agency that enforces advertising laws and regulations in the US. For specific information on how to legally advertise in the US visit: http://www.sba.gov/content/truth-advertising. According to the US Bureau of Consumer Protection, under the FTC Act advertising must be truthful and non-deceptive, have evidence to back up their claims and cannot be unfair. It is important for exporters to understand that every state in the US has consumer protection laws that govern company promotions.

The Forum for International Trade Training outlines nine additional factors with international trade that effect 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 tailored market action plan will be the outcomes to mitigate risks.