Suidan Associates The Firm

Markets Globalize, So Should Your Marketing

By Zuhair Suidan and Keith Reynolds

The internet, pervasive communication tools, and air travel have flattened the competitive landscape.  These technologies enable vendors in most any country to compete with you  on your home court.  They also present you with the opportunity to compete globally.

If you choose not to grow globally, you essentially elect to play defense -- protecting your turf against companies who consider the world as their market.  Going global puts you on an even footing with them.  

Doing business overseas poses unique challenges of differing languages, customs, business practices and political systems.  How do today’s managers and entrepreneurs develop a global orientation that is strategic in nature and culturally responsive?

The building blocks for doing business successfully in the United States also apply in global markets. You must think through and understand your customers’ needs, qualify the competition and your own capabilities, and then employ appropriate strategies. You also need quality products and services at competitive prices and effective distribution channels to reach your customers and ultimately, service and support them.

Being aware of and being able to navigate the local "terrain" are essential to your success.

Tips for Success in Foreign Markets

1. Develop a team of qualified locals, Americans and others with specialized knowledge and skills

Look for people who have bridged the cultural, language and business practices gaps between the two environments to guide you. Seek out people who have strong experience in Western business and Americans who have operated successfully in the local market(s) you seek to enter.

2. Utilize available resources

Examples of these are the US State Department, the US Department of Commerce, commercial attaches in US embassies, the Chambers of Commerce, and consulting firms.  Establish a network in-country and participate in various local activities. 

3. Cultivate the right mindset - don't think differences -- think similarities

Many businessmen in foreign countries have been educated in the West and most speak English, but your familiarity with the local language will be appreciated.  While customs and religious practices vary, most societies still place great value on family, friendships  and long standing business relationships – many of which go back generations.

4. Prepare for a longer sell cycle

It is said that here in America we first conduct business, then go out for a drink. In the Middle East, you first drink (coffee), then conduct business. In some Asian countries it is good form to go to dinner and clubs in order to build a relationship, prior to doing business.

Zuhair Suidan and Keith Reynolds are teaching “Practical Tools for Strategic Marketing:  The Essential Strategy Workshop for Technology Marketers ™”, November 3-4 and December 15-16.  Details are at


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