The Ins and Outs of Reaching Global Customers
- By Raegen Pietrucha
- Jul 01, 2012
As the saying goes, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Nothing could hold truer when it comes to reaching global customers. As more and more people abroad are learning about aftermarket consumables — and buying them — it’s become obvious how big a difference little things sometimes taken for granted, such as speaking the native language or using the culturally preferred mode of doing business, can make.
Just as it is in the U.S., doing business in person is highly valued around the globe. “The reach to the end users is mainly viable through the dealer network,” said Jeevanjot Kumedan, former managing editor of Recharge India.. “(The) dealer network is the most popular marketing tool in India. Personal selling on (a) one-to-one basis is the preferred medium.” And truly, what better place for such industry folk to connect at than trade shows? “The best way to reach out to your client is (to) meet them face-to-face,” said Nikolai Yakimchuk, editor of RechargEast. “This can be done through expos, seminars, small-scale events. The specifics of the industry here is that people don’t believe what they hear, but what they see.”
Curious about what kind of mark trade show attendance is making on the average remanufacturing business? The large players in Brazil, for example, who are doing the majority of their advertising and networking at Reciclamais, the largest Latin American trade show for the print consumables aftermarket, “say that after Reciclamais, they have an increase in sales (of) 40 or 50 percent,” indicated Flavio Oliveira, international public relations consultant and industry journalist, “and they keep doing business with the contacts made during this (event) for the whole year. All the companies I know that went to Reciclamais ... (went) for the last five, six years and keep going because it’s really very important.”
Besides doing business the old-fashioned way, many countries are using the latest technologies to win more business, but which tools are being used — and for what — vary depending on the place. For instance, Eastern/Central Europe and Russia view social media as “more of a customer service channel rather than a marketing (one),” Yakimchuk said, so they tend not to use it for the latter purpose. Kumedan provided a similar perspective with respect to her country: “In India, social media is not being used aggressively for marketing and advertising.” However, Brazil has leveraged social media for business purposes. “The big players definitely have Facebook or Twitter accounts, or even (use) ... social media platforms ... like YouTube, teaching how to remanufacture cartridges,” Oliveira said. And most companies around the globe have websites, at the very least. “I don’t know one single company — even the small ones, the corner shops — (that doesn’t) already at least have a website so you can see the prices,” Oliveira said.
And, of course, traditional advertising is still garnering business (though it’s not just limited to the paper page anymore). “Reciclamais is really a very powerful media resource in Brazil,” Oliveira said. “Reciclamais magazine is a free magazine distributed in all (of) Latin America. Many people get the magazine, and many companies do ... advertisements (in it). ... I would say that companies that go to the show and keep advertising in Reciclamais usually have good sales throughout the year.”
To gain new clients, though, you have to speak their language (metaphorically and otherwise), especially in places like Europe, which is highly segmented. “Print and Web media are ... excellent ways to sell the product, on (the) condition that they are in the right language — literally,” Yakimchuk said. “To be successful in this region, one needs to speak local languages.” But there’s still hope even if a company doesn’t. “Advertisers usually want to be reassured that their message will reach out to their potential clients,” Yakimchuk said, “(so) partnerships with local companies (can) make this process of penetrating the respective market less painful. Such collaboration helps provide service and sell products despite cultural and language barriers.” Other countries are beginning to offer publications in multiple languages too, which can benefit the linguistically challenged as well. In India, for example, “there is a vibrant print and electronic media both in English and local dialects, which can be made use of to reach out to the consumers,” Kumedan indicated.
The features and appearance of ads vary based on languages spoken in particular regions advertisers seek to tap into. For example, some common features of Central/Eastern European and Russian ads are “logos and addresses of local partners (that appear) in the most visible spots, phone numbers of reps speaking the language of the country, ... (and) links (that) send readers to the advertiser’s webpage in the respective language,” Yakimchuk noted. See Figure 1 on the previous page.
Figure 1: Common features of European and Russian ads are logos and
addresses of local partners, phone numbers of reps speaking the
language of the country and links that send readers to the advertiser’s
webpage in the respective language.
No matter what language an ad is in, however, customer interests must also be addressed therein as well. Prospects in emerging markets such as Brazil, Eastern Europe, Russia and India care primarily about two things when it comes to remanufactured products, and therefore, ads are tailored specifically to play off of these concerns.
The first is price. “Many companies do promotions” in Brazil, Oliveira indicated. “It’s something that really works in Brazil — when they do, like, 2 liters of ink for the price of 1.5, ... or if you buy five bags of toner, you gain two OPC drums free — something like that. When they do promotions, they sell a lot more.” The Reciclamais ad pictured in Figure 2 is an example of a summer sale.
Figure 2 (left): Special promotions are common in Brazil and lead to increased
sales. Figures 3 (center) and 4 (right): Environmental awareness is becoming
a common sales strategy throughout the world.
Ads that cater to customers’ sense of environmental responsibility are also growing more popular in emerging markets as consumers there begin to become increasingly conscientious, following in the footsteps of their industry forefathers. “In countries like Netherlands and France, they are really concerned about the environment,” Oliveira said, “(but) I know a few companies in Brazil that try to focus their advertisement strategies on the environment, on how you can save the world, on how many prints we do per day and how we can change things by doing simple actions like using a cartridge that’s been recycled, because it’s possible to remanufacture it.” The RechargEast and Recharge India ads in Figures 3 and 4, respectively, are good examples of how this awareness is being acknowledged and forwarded through advertising campaigns.
Although all of today’s technology — planes, computers, etc. — are changing the way we do business, it’s also making it easier for people around the globe to connect with each other. With these insights as your guide, we here at Recharger hope you go boldly forward into the global marketplace and make the most of the opportunities there.
This article originally appeared in the July 2012 issue of Recharger.
Raegen Pietrucha received her B.A. in English from University of Arizona and her M.F.A. in poetry from Bowling Green State University. She is a former teacher and has written for several industries, including legal, private investigation, heath care and currently document printing. She has also served as an editor for both professional and literary publications. Her creative work can be read in Cimarron Review, Edge, Puerto del Sol and other magazines.