A huge ship arrived at DP World London Gateway this weekend, causing much excitement as it’s the longest ship ever to go down the River Thames to date. London Gateway opened almost a year ago, and was built to import/export goods as close to London as possible , in addition to enabling supply chains across the world to save thousands. The ship is headed to Singapore once it’s fully loaded. This is all happening right on our doorstep in Thurrock in the UK!

So, what does that have to do with marketing?

As it was a big occasion for business in Thurrock, I thought I’d pop down and take a look at the ship this morning. There is no doubt it is absolutely HUGE, and it reminded me that so too are the possibilities for exporting products and services from the UK. The “Made (or developed) in the UK” brand is one that is recognised globally. The fact that the ship’s next stop is Singapore is also important. There is so much growth going on right now in Southeast Asia. I recently returned from a business trip to Bali in Indonesia, and learnt that it’s anticipated that 25% of global growth will come from Indonesia by 2020. HUGE opportunities are here already and ones that as business owners and leaders that you might like to consider.

Think your business is too small to export? Think again!

But wait; don’t just skip this by if you think your business is too small to take advantage of those opportunities! The fact that your organisation is smaller means that you can develop products and services for those markets much more quickly, and also respond to market needs in those areas far more easily. Tempted to export, or would like to explore the opportunities, but don’t know where to start? If you’re in the UK and have products and services you think are suitable for overseas markets, speak to a UKTI advisor as your first call. There is a lot of information on the UKTI website to assist you with your research, and they will put you in touch with an advisor who has deep market knowledge in the countries that you’re considering. Once you’ve established that there is a need for your products/services, and whilst you’re shaping them for your chosen overseas market(s), it is then time to look at WHO you need in your teams to introduce you to your overseas prospects and deliver the service/product there, then determine WHEN it’s the right time to launch there and HOW you get your brand/products and services in front of your target market there.

Use of social media is prolific in Southeast Asia!

The beauty of social media marketing is that you can reach people GLOBALLY, even if you want to sell your products and services B2B (business to business). There are over 11 million people using LinkedIn in Southeast Asia (source: LinkedIn), and here are some statistics right now of the numbers of people using Facebook (aged 18 and over) in Southeast Asia: Facebook users (Source: Facebook ads tool) – Singapore 3.4 million – Indonesia 58 million – Myanmar (Burma) 2.2 million – Thailand 26 million – Malaysia 14.8 million – Vietnam 22 million – Philippines 34 million – Cambodia 1.7 million – Brunei 240 thousand – Laos 520 thousand Just look at the opportunity in Indonesia!!! A definite emerging market (remember 25% of global growth is going to come from here within the next 6 years, can you imagine what a difference that opportunity could make to your business revenues and profits???) Whilst Singapore is much more developed, did you know that Singapore has the highest penetration of smartphone users in the world (over 70%)? This means that you’ll need to make sure that your social media campaigns/messages/profiles are optimised for mobile use for that area. Facebook is supposedly blocked in some of the countries listed above, but as you can see, where there is a will, there is a way! If people have the will to use those sites, it would be a waste not to take advantage and share your marketing campaigns and messages there.

No spraying and praying! You need a social media strategy

If you’re serious about doing business in Southeast Asia, you need a marketing strategy. Each and every single social media post gives you the opportunity to get your products and services in front of your target market, so make sure that there is a cohesive approach to the content that you create and share, rather than spraying them around all the social media sites, and praying for the best. Consider how will you communicate the following in the most effective manner and which social media sites will give you the best opportunity to communicate these: • What problem does your product/service solve? • What is the promise of your product/service? • What is your product/service? • What’s the proof that your product/service will fulfil the promise that you’re making? • What’s the purpose (or story) behind why you created the product/service?

Engagement is king

• What are the wants, needs, and interests of the market that you’re targeting? • How can you tailor your communications/marketing plan to engage these people through social media now that you know their wants/needs/interests? • What content is going to resonate with your target audience beyond your products and services? • How can you keep prospects engaged through the sales cycle on social media? Sometimes it can take longer to do business overseas • Which language is spoken by your target market? How will you find the resource to deliver campaigns in languages other than English? • Who is the right person in your organisation to create and manage your social media profiles? It’s no longer about creating posts and hoping for the best. You need to create conversations with your prospective audiences and that means delegating it to someone who is a natural networker with great communication skills.

If you’d like to learn more about using social media to promote your business/products/services overseas, call us on (0)1245 791969 for a 1:1 no obligation chat about your export plans or to schedule a call, email us at [email protected]