Tailoring a Value Proposition for International Expansion

Many CEOs fall into the trap of believing that just because their products or services provide value for customers in their home base, that value will naturally carry over to the United States or another foreign market. While the assumption is an understandable one, it’s not an effective expansion strategy. To successfully launch in a foreign market, CEOs need to develop a value proposition that translates the needs and wants of new clients in new markets into a targeted sales strategy.

This article is the third in a series on the major mistakes that can thwart an international market entry when a company does not differentiate their approach to new market needs. Kettering International teaches the importance of developing a unique and clear value proposition for international expansion strategies, especially for U.S. expansion, educating businesses on how to avoid and steer clear of expansion pitfalls along the way.

Strategy + Implementation: Key Components of International Market Expansion

There was — and still is — a theory that a few leads and well-placed contacts will ignite a wildly successful international expansion. It doesn’t. At Kettering International, we find that new clients are generally shocked by two things: The first is how prepared Kettering is to get involved on the execution side of things, providing action-based support through the implementation cycle.

Our approach is a far cry from the typical experience of firms that sit in a boardroom, schedule a few meetings, and cheer you on in the initiatory stages. Kettering knows that it’s really the less “exciting” stages of contact nourishment, on-the-ground maintenance, and responsiveness that make lucrative and lasting relationships. Success is in the details.

It’s easy to forget that, however, and mistake enthusiasm or market buzz for actual buying decisions. The beginning stages of international roll-out are full of contagious excitement, but that does not translate to profitability without a vetted plan.

Which brings us to the second reason our clients tend to be surprised: They gain unprecedented insight into how their home market can inform their international launch through market analysis and understanding the client care cycle. From there, Kettering guides them through the question, how can you globalise your value through localisation? How can you carve out a unique, well-matched niche for your tailored value proposition? 

At Kettering, however, walking clients through the comprehensive process of tailoring a value proposition is only half of the equation – the other half is partnering with them to implement it. All too often, the focus is only on selling the product; yet having a researched plan of roll-out, relationship development, and support from launch through implementation is absolutely essential to reaping the benefits of international expansion. Just ask Pie Face.

Pie Face: A Cautionary Tale in Expanding Too Far Too Fast

Pie Face is a well established brand in Australia seeking to make the classic Aussie meat pie scalable. They pursued an aggressive expansion strategy in NYC for several years with seven new locations before closing all but one abruptly in 2014. If you google Pie Face now, there are questions such as: Does Pie Face still exist? How much debt does Pie Face have? They went from wild success to quietly closing their locations and liquidating their inventory without much public commentary. What happened?

Even with NYC’s status as one of the nation’s multicultural hotspots, Pie Face did not have an enduring enough value proposition to justify so many locations opening at once — the novelty wore off, and they did not have funding to back their expenses.

Let’s highlight a few points:

  • Pie Face had a good product that people enjoyed and were sad to lose, but that was not enough.
  • Their aggressiveness in location expansion did not translate to success. More was not necessarily better.
  • Pie Face did not have, we can deduce, a strategy to educate or convert their audience to the joy of meat pies that were widely popular in their home market of Australia, where the product was already a cultural fit.
  • They focused more on establishing stores than establishing a necessary, sustainable customer base … which led to them having to close all of their stores.

This is a common story. A company assumes that what worked at home will translate in a new market, without a tailored, researched plan that brings newer customers along. Whether that is meat pies or tech enterprise, a proper implementation strategy with a deep understanding of market localisation and customer expectation is what we counsel all of our clients on at Kettering International. We roll up our sleeves and figure it out with you. And we don’t walk away when you open up shop; we help you develop the evidence base that keeps your doors open, and pivot as needed to build a book of business for your value.

Kettering International works to understand your products and service offerings on a deep level, and combines this with our expertise in international market expansion to help you optimize your efforts, speaking directly to the target market’s values.

Call Kettering Today

Contact Kettering International for an eye-opening conversation on what creating a tailored value proposition for international market expansion strategies can bring to your business. And stay tuned for our next article, where we will explore the havoc a lack of cultural intelligence can wreck on international expansion initiatives.