Export News , April 2013
Asked his main piece of advice for budding exporters on Radio New Zealand recently, legendary businessman Sir William Gallagher said "…concentrating on the market is the difficult area. Once the product is made and working right, you are not even half way - you are less than quarter of the way." This from the Chairman and CEO of Gallagher Group, a company renowned for its innovation and technical prowess, and for whom marketing is absolutely fundamental to its success.
Strengthening that capability is the aim of the Market Measures survey, an annual benchmarking study of sales and marketing by Kiwi hi-tech companies.
275 New Zealand technology companies completed the 2012 survey, authored by technology marketing companies Concentrate and Swaytech, and sponsored by NZTE and PWC.
The majority (69%) were focused on exporting their products, mostly to other businesses (88%). They invested strongly in sales and marketing, on average spending 28% of turnover.
The most common marketing challenges were grouped around fundamental sales and marketing goals: increasing awareness of their brand in their target markets; generating more leads to feed into their sales process; and, the bottom line - achieving more sales.
Examining what sales and marketing attributes correlated with high growth amongst survey respondents showed some interesting insights into how Kiwi high-tech can further improve its performance.
The highest performing companies in the survey shared some common characteristics – they tended to be very market focused, were confident in developing market entry strategies, and were clear on what makes a good channel partner. Successful companies are also those embracing a move to online, inbound marketing and using non-traditional approaches to producing marketing content.
So how can you emulate these high-growth companies?
- Improve your market understanding: high-growth companies have a very strong understanding of their target markets, an 'outside-in' perspective critical to achieving strong growth. The average company is too internally focused and doesn’t build a strong enough understanding of their target markets.
- Get better at developing market entry strategies: top technology companies are confident in their ability to develop effective plans for entering new markets. There is no hit and hope; they have a clear view of the best way to attack a new market and a confidence tightly linked to our first growth insight i.e. the more information you have about your target market the more obvious the strategy becomes.
- Focus on the right attributes when selecting channel partners: high-growth companies focus on the partner attributes that really matter. The insight from this year's survey was that 'partner market knowledge' and the 'size of customer base' were the attributes of a good partner that high-growth companies found most relevant. High-growth companies were less concerned with credit/financial stability and the strength of a partner's reputation/brand.
- Adjust the focus of your promotional approach: 91% of companies felt it was important that potential customers were able to conduct at least part of their buying process online. In this online world the highest growth companies were taking a different approach. Instead of using traditional marketing content like flyers or brochures for their promotional activities, they focussed on producing knowledge-based output like ebooks or whitepapers.