Leveraging digital marketing solutions to grow international biz

Companies are advised to leverage digital marketing solutions to grow especially their international business or export and keep ahead of the competition.

“Digital marketing increases brand awareness, generates leads, improves customer engagement, and provides measurable results,” e-commerce advocate and digital influencer Janette Toral said in a webinar organized by the Philippine Trade Training Center-Global MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) Academy.

Toral said digital spending includes influencer engagement and pay-per-click, social media and video advertising and the likes.

She underscored the aspect of commoditization involving indirect competition or products that may indirectly compete with what one is selling.

“Although branding is important, we cannot ignore the importance also of becoming price friendly for our target market but at the same time retain some certain level of profitability. So for commoditization, it challenges entrepreneurs to also think about how they are going to price their products,” she added.

Toral said there are a lot of factors that need to be considered to make products price competitive amid local and international competitors who are also producing the same products and maybe offering these at cheaper price.

“So these are some of the challenges and a lot of entrepreneurs turn to digital marketing to try to see if this is something that they can address,” she said.

However, Toral said marketing does not necessarily gain clients but a company should be credible so they will be interested to possibly do business with.

“So the first thing that they will have to identify is that, are you credible enough as a business? What is your vision as a business?… Does it have a certificate of product registration, does it have the necessary import or export permits so that your international clients can feel comfortable in dealing with you?,” she said.

Through building trust, Toral said leads will be confident to inquire about products and services and may want to do business with a business.

“So our communication through digital marketing must show that we are competent, must show that we have integrity as an entity, how we honor customer complaints, (and) how we prioritize customer satisfaction,” she said.

“Because the moment you compromise that (customer satisfaction), it affects your integrity, it also questions your commitment and it will create an impression that you are not a reliable business entity at all so all of your digital marketing efforts will be wasted if the backend operations of the business that is supposed to fulfill the products that are being created and to be delivered to the customer does not meet your customers’ expectations,” she added.

Toral said companies need to invest in digital marketing as content creation plays a big role.

“If you are only advertising on one portal or one marketplace and your whole marketing effort is entirely focused on that, maybe when people search for you, there will be limited information that they’ll be able to find and it may lead to uncertainty if people really want to do business with you,” she said.

Toral further said companies whose products have the necessary documentation for it to be exported can join platforms like Alibaba, Lazada International and Amazon.com.

“So there are many options for you out there but I guess it depends on the countries that you are targeting but those sites are usually a good start. You have to provide value and solve problems so connecting with customers is not just about showing ads. Connecting with customers or connecting with your prospects is all about adding value and solving problems,” she said.

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