When you take your business international, there is increased complexity in creating your marketing and business strategies. You will need to think about how to localize and price your product for an international market, taking into consideration the regulatory and cultural environment of your market, and you will need to think about intellectual property issues.
It is important to price your goods appropriately for a market, ensuring that the price falls within the average for the market you are selling to. Research your product in your target market to find out the usual price. Selling too low or too high can cause you to conflict with pricing regulations in your target country such as anti-dumping legislation, resale-price-maintenance legislation, price ceilings, and price level reviews.
As you will be exporting, your pricing will also have to take into consideration extra overhead involved in exporting such as:
- Costs of marketing and promotion (including and translation of materials)
- Production costs (including any added cost in localization your product and special packaging)
- Documentation fees
- Financial considerations (such as currency exchange rates and fluctuations, and the purchase of insurance to manage risk)
After you have determined the market price for your product and calculated the production, logistical and distribution costs, you will need to align your price with your strategic goals. If you are in an area of high competition, you might want to keep your prices low to improve market penetration, while funding your overhead out of your domestic sales. Alternatively, set your prices higher to cover both your fixed and variable costs, and to make optimum profit among high-end consumers. Pricing should be revisited on an annual basis at a minimum.
Step-by-Step Guide to Exporting – Step 5 – Reaching the customer: developing your export marketing strategy (login required)
The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service
Learn about marketing your product internationally and how to set the price of your goods.
7 international pricing constraints every exporter needs to consider
Export Development Canada
This article explores potentially unforeseen variables that might affect your pricing strategy.
Unique selling proposition
Regardless of how you choose to get your product to a market, you will need to make sure that your product will be able to sell in that market. It is important that you can identify and communicate your unique selling proposition (USP).
USP identification, pricing strategies and development all other sales and marketing strategies should start with a market scan which will involve collecting information on competitors and their products (price lists, marketing materials, annual reports, social media feeds) and examining their products at trade shows. Analyze this data to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. This will help you identify what your unique selling proposition will be.
Think about what you’re offering to the customer, how it is valuable to them, and if there are characteristics of your product or service are unique than what is being offered by your competitors.
Once you have your value proposition, you need to think about how to prove it. Some ways of proving your claims are testimonials and case studies (especially localized ones), performance comparison data, and trials and demonstrations.
Whether you are using an intermediary or making the sale yourself, you’ll need to be able to communicate your USP through marketing materials and through an online presence. Remember that if you are selling to a market where the primary language isn’t English, it’s best to keep the content of your marketing materials simple and the design flexible so that it can be more easily translated for your target market.
Intellectual property protection
Modern information and communications technologies have lowered the transaction costs for doing business and made exporting more accessible for small and medium-sized businesses. As innovation, creativity and knowledge are becoming key elements of competitiveness, businesses need to manage their intellectual property (IP) effectively when planning to export. Your export plan and strategy need to take into consideration that your products do not violate the IP rights in the export market. Steps should also be taken to ensure your own IP assets are protected.
There are different types of intellectual rights:
- Patent – A patent provides the owner with the exclusive right to prevent others from commercially exploiting an invention for a limited period of time. The exclusive right is generally for 20 years from the filing date as long as annual maintenance fees are paid by the patent-holder. It is valid only in the country where you have applied for protection.
- Trademark – A trademark is a distinctive sign which distinguishes the goods or services produced or provided by one company from those of another. It could be in the form of letters, or graphics such as logos, or a combination of both. Companies may use a trademark to identify all their products, or a particular range of products, or one product line only. Trademark is not the same as a trade name. Registering a trademark gives the company the exclusive right to the use of the trademark.
- Industrial design – An industrial design generally refers to a product’s overall form and function. However, in terms of IP, industrial design refers only to the aesthetic aspects or outward appearance of a product. An industrial design must be registered in order to be protected. The owner is then granted an exclusive right against unauthorized copying or imitation by third parties. It is valid only in the country where you have applied for protection.
- Copyright – Copyright grants artists, authors, and other creators’ protection for their artistic and literary creations which are original intellectual creations. Examples include multimedia products, computer software, musical and photographic works etc. Unlike the above three types where registration is required for IP rights, copyright does not depend on official procedures. A created work is considered protected by copyright as soon as it exists.
It is advisable to obtain professional help when dealing with intellectual property matters such as a lawyer specializing in intellectual property or an intellectual property agent. To find an agent and gain a better understanding of intellectual property protection, visit the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
Protecting your intellectual property in export markets
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada
Steps to protect your intellectual property before you export abroad.
Secrets of intellectual property: a guide for small and medium-sized exporters
World Intellectual Property Organization
This guide provides information for SMEs on how to deal with intellectual property issues in terms of their export strategies and activities.
Intellectual property for exporting businesses
Government of Canada
Navigate eight steps to learn about intellectual property management as you prepare to export.
Build your export plan
Answer these questions to start filling in your export plan template. As you answer each question, your responses will be sent to your export plan template, which you can download below.
Export plan completion
This information is a guide only and should not be considered or quoted as a legal authority. While best efforts are made the keep this guide up-to-date, parts of it may become obsolete at any time without notice.