Mario's Corner - October 2018.

Why It Is Important To Do Your Homework Before Launching Your Product In Another Country. 


Welcome to my firm's website.  I like to share my thoughts on Strategy,

Business Planning, Innovation, and Execution here on a monthly basis.

 

To access previous columns, hover your pointer over "Mario's Corner" in

the navigation bar and select the column you would like to read.  In a mobile

device browser, these are listed under "Mario's Corner" in the menu.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​-----------------

 

In working with clients who are based in the U.S, or in other countries, who want to launch their product in another one, I always like to explain to them the key factors to consider in doing this.


​While many companies have great products that will be as, if not more, successful in other countries than their own, it is important to prepare the launch carefully and to understand why there might be a need to make changes to the product or the communication strategy.  Some key factors to think about are the following:


1.  The economics of the new market country could be different from the country where the company is based - While many countries are similar in their economic status (e.g., the U.S. and Germany), there are many others where the original pricing should be analyzed and changed if necessary.  Launching a product at its original price in a country that is markedly different in socioeconomic structure from the original country could be a recipe for disaster.  When I worked at an electronics consumer goods company, we always examined the price of a high-end product.  Sometimes we would lower it, so it could be sold in a particular country (e.g., Brazil or Malaysia) and sometimes we made the decision to NOT launch it.  If the market for the product would be too small, we figured the people who could afford to travel on business or vacations outside the country would be the ones who would buy it while doing this.


2.  The regulatory environment in the new country needs to be considered - One of the most important differences between the U.S. and other countries is the medical and pharmaceutical regulatory environment.  Medical and drug approvals, patents, and patient/physician confidentiality issues are very different depending on the country in which a company plans to do business.  For other products, although not as markedly different, there are still differences in the legal and regulatory issues.  This is why it is important to decide where to launch first (or whether to launch at all).  For example, many companies decide to launch medical products in the European Union and then launch in the U.S. The rationale for this is that it is easier to obtain approval for a device in Europe.  Thus, a company can start generating revenue in Europe while continuing to obtain the approval in the U.S.


3.  There are differences among populations - One of the most memorable experiences I had earlier in my career was at IBM trying to understand why a computer we had launched was so successful in Asia Pacific countries while it was a non-starter in the U.S.  After a few weeks of research, we finally figured it out.  While the U.S. clients had been asking for a smaller notebook computer footprint, upon launching the product, most of them had difficulties working with a smaller keyboard due to the size of their hands.  In many countries in Asia Pacific, due to physical differences in size, the Asian customers had no problems with the keyboard and actually demanded we install that keyboard size in many of the existing laptop computer configurations.


​4.  There are differences in religious beliefs and social norms - Although there are many products that are very successful in the U.S., some of these successes do not translate well to the rest of the world.  Whether this is due to social norms or religious beliefs, there are some products that could be embraced or rejected in many parts of the world.  Items such as guns, cigarettes, and some sexually oriented media content are accepted less (and sometimes rejected) depending on the predominant religion or beliefs in a particular country.  While communicating the benefits and features of the product might solve the issue, sometimes the backlash in negative publicity makes the product not worth launching.


These are just some of the key factors to consider when entering a new country or region.  Ultimately, it is important to hire an expert consultant who understands the nuances of a country.  Otherwise, there is a danger of misreading a market's potential.

 

​------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------​​

Please do not hesitate to call me at 1 (617) 391-0347 or e-mail me at mariocastaneda@bluesailconsulting.com to talk about this or any other subject.  I always like to hear from clients and readers.  

 

Also, please don't forget to read my interview with BostonVoyager magazine.  To read it, click here.

 

Please contact us if you want to find out how we can help you to analyze a contemplated launch into another country and how to modify your product or communication strategy, if necessary.  Having worked in over fifty countries, we can help you to understand the implications of going into new markets.

 

I look forward to seeing you again here in September!

 

Best Regards,

 

​Mario