International food makers often encounter several challenges when trying to market and sell in the United States. In this quick post, I’ll highlight six of the key areas where international food makers may fall short and offer insights into how they can be more successful. Let’s delve into each of these points:
Category Revenue: The U.S. market is highly competitive, and retailers are primarily interested in how a new product will boost their profits and share. International food executives must demonstrate a clear understanding of the market dynamics, consumer preferences, and how their products can drive increased sales and margins in their category. This involves detailed market research, competitive analysis, and a strong value proposition tailored to the U.S. consumer and retailer.
Outcomes: A common shortfall is the lack of vision in imagining and achieving better outcomes. Brands often limit their potential by not considering innovative approaches, channels, or alternative business models that could significantly elevate their market presence. Encouraging brands to think bigger and beyond conventional strategies can lead to breakthrough success.
Investment Mindset: Treating investment decisions as mere expenses can be a limiting factor. A shift in mindset is required to see investments as opportunities for exponential growth, not just as costs to be minimized. This involves a strategic approach to budget allocation, focusing on high-impact research efforts, marketing tactics, and sales channels that promise the highest ROI.
Experience vs. U.S. Expertise: While international experience is valuable, success in the U.S. market requires specific expertise. This includes understanding the cultural nuances, regulatory environment, category dynamics, distribution channels, and consumer behavior specific to the U.S. Tailored distribution with marketing strategies and localized product adaptations are crucial in this regard.
Importers and International Makers: Often, international brands face self-imposed limitations due to a lack of understanding of the U.S. market. This could be due to cultural differences, underestimating the competitive landscape, or a lack of localized marketing strategies. Building relationships with local partners, brand-builders and marketing experts, can be instrumental in overcoming these barriers.
Rethinking Sales Approach: A flawed approach to consumer and customer acquisition can severely limit a product’s potential. This includes not just the marketing and sales tactics but also understanding distribution, the customer journey, the touch-points of consumer interaction, and the overall brand experience. Brands need to develop a comprehensive strategy that covers all aspects of the US food system from channel to customer acquisition process, from awareness to purchase and beyond.
In summary, international food brands looking to succeed in the U.S. market are forced by the system and competition to adopt a comprehensive, localized approach. This includes understanding the unique aspects of the U.S. market, rethinking investment and sales strategies, and leveraging specific expertise. Aligning with local partners, trends, consumer preferences, and regulatory requirements are also crucial for success.
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