Everyone is Online: Reaching Your Global Customer Through Digital Marketing

Good morning everyone, and thank you for joining
us for this webinar. Everyone online, reaching your global clients through digital marketing.
This online event is brought to you this morning by the MPAIT Alliance for the Maryland partners
in international trade. I’m Rebecca Bellinger, the executive director of the Center for Global
Business at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College
Park. I will be serving as a moderator this morning. On our agenda, today are three main
points. First, make the case to understand why culture matters in digital marketing,
then we’ll walk you through some strategies and examples to help you in planning. Which
really gets to the how of our topic; and finally we’ll connect with a few resources in Maryland,
it can help you reach your clients abroad and certainly will leave time for questions
and hopefully some good answers. At the end, I do need to remind you all a
few things to help us move there smoothly through our agenda. First, this webinar is
being recorded, it will be made publicly available on our website and emailed out to all of the
participants afterward for future viewing.

We will handle questions. You have the chance
function, throughout the presentation, please feel free to send just questions to everyone,
and we’ll try to get through as many as we can, and the order in which they’re received
in the presentation. Following the end of the presentation, you’ll see a pop-up window
with the link to take our two minutes service about the video and webinar. It is really
critical to receive your feedback to make sure the future webinars delivered by MAPIT
Alliance do meet where you are with your business. I’d like to remind everyone to please keep
your cameras off and your microphones on mute throughout the presentation unless you are
the sole presenter. Finally, if there are any technical difficulties on our end or yours,
we, thank you in advance for your patience. Before we move into the main content of the
webinar, we’ll take another moment to introduce the MAPIT Alliance, which is a sponsor for
today’s webinar.

The MAPIT Alliance brings together key partners from industry, local
state and federal government, and higher education in Maryland to raise awareness of existing
export promotion programs, facilitate greater access to and usage of these resources and
build new collaborative globally-focused programs. You will hear from three of the four main
partners this morning the USEAC, Maryland Department of Commerce and the University
of Maryland Center for Global Business. Each speaker will introduce their units before
their part of the webinar this morning.

The Jack for the district export councils, the
fourth member, if you’re not familiar with the deck, it is a non profit organization
made up of leaders from across the local business community. We’ve been appointed as volunteers
by the secretary of commerce, meant to provide peer to peer advice and programming for local
firms. One of our speakers this morning, Bob, is
a member of the DEC of the mind. Both the USEAC and the Maryland Department of Commerce
participate in the DEC as well. So while all four of these partners, in the message, separate
entities that you may or may not have worked with already become together in this alliance
to share information, collaborate and programming for the benefit of companies like yours in
the state of Maryland, connected with the bast network with other entities that support
international trade at the local, state, and federal levels.
Today’s webinar’s content is to support one part of the export cycle or process, and
this is the graphic that you may see on your screen is one developed by the method. It
really serves as a useful tool and understanding of the depth and wording.

It also shows you
where in the process of export might be if today’s content is useful and relevant to
your business. So, both the previous MAPIT webinar on website globalization a couple
of weeks ago and this one on digital marketing fit well into what we have identified in step
six, which is finding your customers abroad. The future map of webinars will reference
this graphic is a foundation of our work. I would like to turn it over to my esteemed
colleague at the Robert H. Smith School of Business, be kicking on to help us understand
why culture matters in digital marketing efforts.

Thank you very much Rebecca, and thank you
everyone for coming here this morning. I will be talking about the cultural matters that
we have facing when you try to acquire customers abroad. If you look at this particular slide,
you see on the left-hand side, the environment. In the environment, you see search engines
and you see social media and user-generated content and then you can see platforms and
two-sided markets, and all these environments will change. This has actually changed consumer’s
behavior and consumer’s behavior has changed across the globe, although the technology
we are looking at, are all the same across the globe. The way consumers behave is dictated
by a lot of cultural factors, and some of the cultural factors and how it affects the
way you do business in an international market is what I will be talking about at this point. Now if you look at this particular slide that
we have on Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions, what this really does is compare a few different
countries on different dimensions of how they are culturally different.

So let’s take
a few of them. So here I have China, India, Hapan, and the United States compared on power
distance. And if you look at power distance, that is the distance between the classes,
or between the rich and the poor, the have to have not. And if you look at it, that’s
the lowest in the US, whereas in India and China, they are the highest. In terms of individualism,
the US market/US consumers are highly individualist. Chinese customers and to the extent Eastern
customers are collectivist. Then in term of masculinity, you see a difference. In terms
of uncertainty avoidance, you see that Japanese consumers are very high on this dimension
of uncertainty avoidance, which really has implications for how we would market to them.
Then in terms of long term orientation, and in terms of indulgence, a lot of changes that
you see across all these countries. Now how do these things really matter? Let’s
take an example right now, here is two customer journeys. That is how customer start from
the process of the pre-purchase process and go through a purchase process, and then end
up buying something, then they talk about it after they have purchased.

So you have
two processes, juxtapose here. One is the Western journey and below that is the Chinese
journey. So if you want to look at the Western journey, shopping is very efficient in the
digital environment. You search for wedding favors on Google, and then you browse for
inspiration and settle on chocolate. You go to wedding websites, you go to brand websites,
you go to style blogs. Then you again go to a brand website and purchase some more couplings
for the group. Then search for small gift bags and read product reviews, receive suggestions
and wedding invitations on Amazon.

Then you keep doing a few things and Amazon purchase
invitation and gift bag. Then you go to a chocolatier’s website and browse for chocolate,
and then you purchase chocolate on a chocolatier’s website. Now if you look at this, this can
be done very efficiently in the US and the Western market.
Now, how it is compared to what might happen in China. Here’s an example. So everything
happens on TaoBao. You click on a personalized landing page, content is based on previous
activity. See the story for eight ideas for wedding favors, click on, read, and follow
the embedded links to products and stores. Most questions to the community ask what people
buy for wedding favors, receive responses within minutes, pursue a suggestion for chocolates,
and chat with the merchant to find out more. Select the specialty chocolate and small gift
bag, and then join a brand fan party on TaoBao. Browse the brands latest collection and decide
to order cufflinks of finance and then receive a notification that a live streaming show
hosted by a favorite celebrity is about to start. You click to watch it and order the
featured perfume while viewing it.

So add all the items, click one click and you’re
done. If you look at how the customer journey involves the Chinese Market, compared to the
Western Market, you find that there is a huge difference. Right? This is a seamless kind
of experience that you have in the Chinese market, and the Chinese customers are used
to it. And so, if you look at one of the takeaways from this is, you need to understand the role
of seamless and social shopping within flexible cultures China, being a good example of that.
So you need to pay particular attention to your website for making social shopping more
accessible to everybody, so people can talk to each other and make decisions in a social
circle, rather than looking at reviews and deciding for themselves as an individualistic.
And if you look at another example from China, and this is the power of platform that is
in mobile app, so make one time thing is an in app function So it is an app within your cell phone, and
you open it up and you can do lots and lots of different things, even with a single app,
you get movie and show tickets like Fandango, restaurant reviews like Yelp, ride hailing
like Yelp, home rentals like AirBNB, hotel booking booking.com, food delivery using Grubhub,
Travel booking like Kayak, Supermarket like Walmart, and you'll see that these are things
that are provided and maintained.

The opening has been very, very popular in China. People
use it for one stop shopping. They really don't have to go out of the app
in order to do any kind of shopping and so power of platforms is great and it is evolving
in all the global markets. Just as we have Amazon and other kinds of platforms here.
You find that it is app based platforms that really are becoming very common in China and
other places. So if you take up Japan, you have Rekuten.
Rekuten is a similar platform in Japan and why would you want to go to a platform in
Japan? The reason you would go for the platform in Japan is because, Japanese consumers are
high uncertainty avoidance and they really like to know brands before they buy anything.
So, if you're not a very branded product, and if you don't have a strong brand, then
you may want to think about joining with a platform initially in order to acquire customers.

Now in India, FlipKart is big. Now, why would
you want to join FlipKart? Indian customers are pretty much similar to the US customers
in their orientation. But the big thing in India is fulfillment. It's very different.
If you are on your own, trying to fulfill the orders, because the addresses there can
be a nightmare. FlipKart has developed a network of fulfillment, you know, third party providers
who can actually get the product to the people who order it, which can be a big problem in
India, so there are ways in which you can team up with platforms and initially it may
be a little more expensive, but if you want to build your brand, that would be a way to
go in this market.

So the importance of brand building, you can
see from here that the effect of brand credibility on product evaluation is more pronounced in
the collectivist cultures than in individualistic cultures, like the US, and the effect of information
from social sources on product evaluation is also pronounced intellectually cultures
more than an individualistic cultures here. So brand building happens through word of
mouth. And to the extent that you are able to harness the word of mouth either on platforms,
or otherwise, when you are looking for acquisition, acquiring customers, your acquisition costs,
they actually come down.

Now the other important thing to understand
between cultures is the designing the feedback outlet, customers and collectors, the culture
like China and India and Japan have richer online communication with other customers
than individualistic customers leading to richer and more qualitative feedback. That
was very useful for people to make decisions on and you have to understand that online
reviews are more positively biased in collectivist cultures. They are not gonna come out and
say bad things or even if they felt one day fail, they may not write about it.

And so
there'll be a possibility of bias, so it is important to understand what the feedback
really means and adjust your service and fulfillment accordingly. So it is very important. Right?
If you are going for options for designing website options, so you gotta have clear feedback
and online reviews. So that customers can congregate there and exchange information
about their product and service that you see.

And if you're going to markets, like India
it is absolutely important that you start thinking about mobile and mobile websites,
because in India, not too many people have a desktop or laptops, but everyone has a mobile
and mobile is being used in a big way in order to do shopping. So, this gives you, in a nutshell,
the kinds of things that you can do, if you understand the culture and understand how
the digital environment is evolving in this country. I will give it over to Bob now. Hello. Good morning. Thank you. Professor
Canon for sharing all the different cultural related, best practices and knowledge. So
we're gonna make a transition from academia to industry. We didn't compare notes. But
what we're gonna talk about are very consistent in terms of exporting, how you should consider
cultural and language differences. So, my name is Bob Zhang, I'm the founder and general
manager of USABAL solutions.

We're a website and digital marketing solution provider. I'm
also the principal consultant for Peng consulting group. We're a global strategy advice, advisory,
business, diplomacy, consulting service provider with a focus on East Asia. So, with that,
I'm gonna go ahead and dive into my slide. Before we think about a digital strategy,
we really need to take a step back and because digital strategy should be a part of your
overall marketing strategy.

We manage census, expand your global region range, support your
overall marketing and business initiatives before you think of digital you must develop
a marketing strategy for expanding globally. If questions you wanted to ask yourself, are
you ready to do business internationally? Have you grown, outgrown your domestic market?
Do you have a product or service that can be sold to international customers and is
there a market for your product services? So always begin with some homework. Right?
So, market research. Look at your competitors, how they're doing, use that as a reference
and to give you some ideas of what it takes in order to expand into certain markets.

And
also it's always important to visit your target market in person. So, out of all, the clients
I've been working with that they're successful. They always have been to their target market
multiple times a year. They make friends there. They know the culture, they know the locals.
It's really important that, you know, if you want to participate in some kind of trade
shows or trade, when, for example, those are best practice.

Next slide, digital marketing is often derived
from, in the process of preparing your business for international expansion. The big condition
is that your business is ready to expand globally and you identify your best potential market.
Include self evaluation steps, and common steps to make sure that your business is ready. For example, you have the right people operations,
you have the financials, etc in depth understanding of your target market. The regulation, language,
culture, and the competition, not just the international, but also the domestic competitions
as well prepare your entry to understand what's needed from a legal standpoint. Localization:
how you wanted to approach marketing and how do you want to establish our operation model?
So these are the common steps that you would need to do before you think about your digital
marketing strategy.

Once you have these steps finalized, then your digital strategy would
be developed to support your overall operation. First of all you wanted to set high level
objectives for your digital marketing, based on what you've decided, in terms of our overall
marketing strategy. So understand your target market, understand how you want to do the
entry. The examples for digital marketing objectives are increase brand awareness, increase
regeneration website, increase traffic bands, increase conversion sales, increase customer
loyalty. For example, once you have the high level
objectives or digital, then you can pick the right channels. It’s really important that
you spend time to understand your customer journey as professor PK said, so that each
culture may have a different customer journey. Understanding that will help you identify
what's the right digital channel to promote your business or your product, website content,
marketing, social media, Page search, organic search/seo, Email marketing, Paid search.

For example, mobile and others, I think professor
P. K. should also mention is Ecommerce, live stream shows, like the equivalent version
of our <unintelligible> Those are the important digital channels that you want to think about. I also have a slide about customer journey
since professor PK already touched on it. I'm gonna be very brief. So think of that
you're buying something. There's a journey that you go through the process of seeing
the things from different channels, different places, maybe seeing your friends having one
of them so that you decide to buy. The process is similar, but you need to really add the
factors like a cultural technology process of the local customer.

Okay with that I'm gonna touch on a little
bit about analytics so I think the first webinar we had, we talked about how we can use analytics
to see international traffic or interest. This may be a great key performance indicator
of your brand, or your website, and certain pieces of content, to see if you have interest
from different countries.

In Google Analytics, or whatever analytics
software that you may use, there are ways to look at your, like, your demographics,
for example, like a language and location. So, in this case, I pulled an example of you
can see your the places where you have your top visits. Right? So, in this case, the United
States followed by Spain, Germany and United Kingdom. So, if you have a certain group of visits
that's significant, you may want to look into it/click the particular country to look at
what/where do we have all the do we have all the interest.

Also you can also narrow it down by country.
Like, for example, this is Europe. This is the region where you can narrow down
to see where the traffic comes from. Also, you can take a look at, by, within the country
to see where which regions they are coming from. So, this data will give you some idea of where
your potential market may be. The next thing I want to talk about/touch
on is content, being able to serve the right content to the right audiences is really important,
especially when you are talking about international.

You need to be able to identify the key messages
and also the landing pages developed landing pages, macro sites, etc. Also, in terms of language, you have to basically
understand the local customers, so don't just translate, but localize it. Because, for example, like American English
is very different than the British English that would call it a French fries. They call
the chips, right? So not to mention some other languages regions that have different languages,
different cultures. Also cultural considerations, for example, if you are targeting senior citizens
in Asian countries, so you may want to market your product with the opt in with their children
because in Asian culture, the children take care of their elderly in a very involved way. In terms of developing a content strategy,
once you understand your channels, and once you understand how you want to approach your
target market.

It’s important to develop a content strategy so that you can establish
a process in terms of managing all your digital content, it's similar to how you manage your
domestic content. Basically, it's generating, develop[ing],
approv[ing], publishing and process[ing] your content to your international websites and
different digital channels, but you really need to think about who's doing what, when,
etc. If you need to engage an outside vendor, for
example, expertise/anyone needs to engage to be translating and reviewing your content,
those are really important factors to think about. Another thing is multilingual content strategy.
It's something that you can classify your content so that you don't have to translate
everything. Translating whatever is relevant or essential for your targeted audiences,
you can build a macro site or you can build a landing page that has the important content.
So in this case, you can leverage something like a Google Translate, for example, for
translating and learn in-sessions content.

But have human translation, and localized
translation for those, a central content. And this is also a good practice for domestic
audiences, because certain websites, if your state or government nonprofit, you may want
to translate your content into different languages. Is the website really the foundation of all
digital channels? Designing a good website is really important to appeal to local customers.
Right? So, like a visual element: for example, the way that a certain color may work for
a certain culture and mean, different things. The layout and functionalities, other than
that is just domain. So pick your domain based on what you're looking
to do. So there's three common domains, like a country code, for example, like example
dot country code. CN means China and IN means India, for example;
this is a more official and targeted. so you'll need a new domain, but the new domain sometimes may, or may not be available in that country, or you can use this create a subdomain by
using your current website like, for example, cn.example.com. So this is a more/a lot easier to set up and
but it's a lot less targeted, but you can use it for general and international use.

The easiest way developing something like
a shorter landing page like a directory. Example.com/CNN, for example, so you can use
it for, like, a trade show, or attending the event that you need to showcase some of some
of your services or products. Okay, so here are some fun examples I found,
so this is a Pizza Hut in China. So, and this is also something that they do in South Asia
and Japan. Basically, this is an example for localization and last summer I went to China.
My family took me to a pizza place. This is the order what they ordered: the seafood with
shells, and you have a Dorian flavor pizza. This is an example of how they’re adopting
their local culture and demand.

So this is a P&G fiber brand, so they literally
took a whole new level approach. Basically, they made a poem, it translates “Stuck at
home, Not fat, spring has flowers, and you beat others, for example. So these are very,
very traditional messages that they are sending to their Chinese customers tomorrow to get
their appeal to consider their brand. Here's the Starbucks IN, a tumeric latte considered
as a gold, Golden milk or golden tea in India. It's a mixture with different spices and honey
and all that. So, it's a very traditional remedy for cough or cold or other infections.
So this is how you localize to appeal to different cultures.

Here is another example from Hopkins. Basically,
Hopkins is a little bit different, and they don't really have to necessarily target a
lot of, in terms of branding and awareness. pieces they already have a very solid brand
internationally. So they are basically targeting a very narrow segment of customers and they're
very wealthy. They can afford to get healthcare without a certain type of insurance. So this
is their subdirectory that they have to target those patients. They're here, they know what
they're doing, they know what kind of healthcare they want to get. So, this is a very targeted
example. Here's another example from Nike, so they
actually used the subdirectory slash CN for their China website.

So they basically leverage
some design element. The people are staying home, but also use the color red, as you can
see the lower portion of the slide. This translates to us so red and culturally, it's very significant
for the Chinese culture, because they need something like good fortune, joy, and very
energetic. So, this is how the customized or localized
their website. Under Armour is a little bit different. They do have their .CN in domain, but they're
new in terms of competing with Nike or Adidas.

They are kinda like a new kid that they offer
different types of brand and technologies. So this is a very different, very American
brand. So, there's not a whole lot of localization we can find on their brand, but because they're
different. Once you have your website, once you have
some digital channels building, one thing to consider is to help create good content
by doing some international keyword research. So I'm gonna briefly talk about different
search engines a little bit, without going too technical. So, as you know, different
countries have different languages and cultures, but they also use certain different search
engines. So Google is obviously the most accepted search engine, but in certain areas, like
China, for example, Russia, they also have their own search engine. So your market strategy, digital marketing
strategies use a paid search that you really need to use. Like, if I do index, for example,
you're doing that in China to look at, you're doing your keyword research. Otherwise you'll
have to look for accurate results. Another consideration is regional versus languages
because, for example, French, Spanish, their official languages for twenty plus countries.

So, you need to be mindful of what is French,
what version French or working versions, Spanish, or you're using the Chinese similar they may
have simplified or traditional Chinese, like Mandarin versus Cantonese in terms of dialogue. So these are the considerations you need to
think about before you go into keyword or content research. It's always a good idea
to work with local subject matter experts to research. To guide you through the relevant
keywords and culture for your digital channel. Here's a little map to give you some idea
on different countries, how they're using search engines. So, as you can see, Google
obviously is the top search engine for many, many countries other than for example, China,
Russia, Japan is seventy percent. It's a majority but it's lower than most other countries.
So they just give you a flavor of how you should consider localized.

digital marketing

And to consider
different technologies, and other considerations that is a little bit more technical. So you also need to work with someone who
understands international ICU or a digital best practice. For example, to tell the search
engines what to do for your website, they're in terms of geo targeting search Council,
like webmaster tools, those are a great tool. So you can use it to configure geo targeting
and always track analytics. Understanding your user behavior, there are different tools
that you can use by doing analytics being the most popular.

There are certain tags like a language tag,
so you need to really tell the search engine where the language and location your site
is targeting. For example, you have Britain British, British English, you have American
English. So link building is also an important aspect. Basically, you wanted to work with
local partners to create/help drive website local traffic to your website that can help
you build a stronger brand reputation. How to make it more manageable as all of you
are really big companies, but a lot of medium and smaller companies, they always struggle
with resources. So, based on our experience, you always want to start with something small,
something that you think that's the best product you can offer.

One or two products instead
of the entire entire catalog always work with is something that you understand, that you
know is going to do well. If you're already selling to international
customers, think about how you can leverage digitally to perhaps resolve your business
of problems. Maybe Digital may help make it easier from a customer to place orders or
maybe a website, or an international website load faster. Maybe it will host closely to
my customer and also, maybe I can test additional products or services through digital channels.
So maybe it's cheaper than traditional channels. These are the reasons that give you to help
you think about how you can leverage digitally, increase your sales, or save cost. Other tips,
for example, you can involve someone in your company if you know somebody that may understand
the culture. Talk to that person, Normally they're very eager to help. So that way, you
can understand the target market a little bit better. So work with a good translation company, don't
just translate, but make sure that they understand certain content has to be localized so that
they know how to do localization research for you guys.

We do have a diverse community in this area,
we have a sister state, sister city programs, so you can leverage and network with them.
That's a great way to understand the local culture. You can also hire international students,
for example, from the target market as an intern. So that way the student will be able
to be able to help you with a lot of research to help educate you with a culture aspect. With that, I'm gonna jump into some case studies,
so these are all local companies. These are all local companies that we helped/we worked
with before. Starting with MP3 car, So these specialized
in the car electronics, mainly focus on the mass market to begin with. So they started to sell well two products
through their existing relationship to Europe. Later on, they launched on Amazon Europe,
so that they started to sell, is doing well, But they ran into a lot of issues, for example,
regulation for electronics in European countries, they require let free. For example, a tax
regulations currency because the currency fluctuates everyday. Sometimes they make,
you know, fifteen percent, sometimes they may make ten percent, 8 percent, depends on
how the currency works.

They have a lot of challenges that wouldn't be terse because
the warehouse and everything are here based in the US. They have marketing challenges and language
translation challenges. However, they were able to later streamline, allow these two
technologies so they actually launched their own, launched another company basically to
help. It's called Whitebox to help streamline commerce through technology. So this is really how involved it can be,
the owners already started another company. The next one is the Bustin Board. They're
a cool skateboard and longboard brand, they're their own company. So, they really wanted
to leverage through their brand. Basically, it's cool, and high quality, they wanna target
premium brands. You want to position yourself as a premium brand in the Chinese market because
I think it's starting this Olympic, next Olympic we've got postponed. Skateboarding is one
of the Olympic sports, so a lot of the country's emerging market is investing in skateboarding.
They started with working with a distributor through an existing relationship. I think
it was from their wife, their manufacturer partners. So, they were able to work with a distributor
to sell to skip more stores across China.

And so they later on, think, maybe digital
can help their customers to order Easier and place orders faster. they started looking for online sales. So
in China, it's hard to build a website, do your own online marketing, or E, commerce. So they have to really leverage TaoBao, JD,
TMalll. These are the largest similar to Amazon there. These are the larger e-commerce players
in China. But the cost of entries is very, very different. So, for someone, who's just got started with
taobao, it’s a good place to start versus JD and TMall, they’re way more expensive. they continue to face pricing online channel, graphic, for example, localization, domestic competitive competitions challenges, but that's how they could got started to help
solve a problem to help with our customers to place orders easier.

This is a very unique one, AFCR which stands
for Asian fund for cancer research. So they are a non profit headquarter in Hong Kong. They're co-funded by Maryland based National
foundation for cancer research. So, what they're doing is trying to engage the local partners
in Asia and promote global collaboration and funding cancer research. What they're trying to do is basically, to
have a way to reach their audiences. We leverage a lot of different non profit
technologies and also there are different brands that you can leverage if you're a non
profit organization. So they do have a dot org, which is a dedicated
domain, the acquired. It's very expensive, but they acquired it
through the local channel, and it's a bilingual mirror site so it's all human translation.
That means when you update one version, you have to update another. It's more to it but more accurate. They use
Google analytics to track their behavior, their customer behavior, and also their website
performance. They use a web Amazon, which is the cloud
technology for a non-profit.

With the data center and in Asia so that's
faster and closer to their customers. They also use Google for non profit for paperclip
to help promote awareness and help drive traffic to their site. Other than that. It's just, you know, social
media on Facebook and Twitter. Is basically all similar to what we do here. Just the parting in close digital marketing
strategy should be really part of your overall marketing strategy and before you think about
digital, you need to think about marketing strategy, how you want to expand globally
and understand your target market culture. Don't just translate, localize to communicate
with your customers in their own terms.

Also start small and grow from there. So leverage
your existing relationships and what's available. I'd like to introduce you to Colleen Fisher
from the US commercial services. Thank you. Thanks, Bob, for all those great
resources that really made it accessible for some of us who aren't tech whizzes. And I think the case studies, and also the
best practices from some companies that are around here can really help companies figure
out what the options are and what's available and different scales. So, as Rebecca mentioned at the top, Bob is
a member of our district export Council, and we have all this expertise here in Maryland
to help companies export. My name is Colleen Fisher. I am the director of the US commercial services
office, in Maryland. It's also known as the Baltimore export assistance center. Just a
bit about our organization. We are the U. S commercial services is the lead promotion
trade promotion agency of the United States government.

We're part of the US Department
of commerce. We have a team of six here in Maryland, and
we help companies export overseas through trade consulting and providing assistance
in over a hundred cities. And more than seventy five countries. There are network overseas, which has just
really comprised of commercial diplomats and embassies and consulates within the map and
alliance. That includes Rebecca's team at the University of Maryland. Jessica's team at the merrily Department of
commerce and the district export Council. We're the federal partners.

We're the US Department of commerce, and all
of us work together to help companies get started in exporting or increasing their sales
overseas to new global markets. And our office specifically offers services
for Maryland companies, I'm just gonna talk briefly about three specific services that
relate to the topic of this webinar, digital marketing. But you can feel free to get in touch with
our team, as I mentioned we’re based in Baltimore, about any other services, you might
be interested in at this time. So as you see on this slide, there's really three services. I wanted to talk about the first is international
sales kit, and basically the sales kit is a fancy word for marketing materials. And, as you guys learned from this presentation,
marketing and sales, and other countries can vary greatly from those marketing efforts
in the United States.

And one useful tool our team can help you and your company with
is to develop an international sales kit. This kit serves as a high level overview of
your company's products and capabilities beyond the information covered on your website and
your standard US product literature. And we help modify it to be specific to the benefits
for each target country. As Bob said, you know, you saw each country
has different tastes and said it's really important to make sure your. Messages resonating in your target country.
included in this international sales, get it any market specific competitive information
such as your company's ability to offer terms or finance. And the kits are extremely useful
to potential partners in other countries. So, if you hire the sales agent, or rep or
distributor, this information will really help them promote your company. So typically includes a review of your corporate
PowerPoint slide deck, your one page marketing document for that target country. And then the distributor agent introductory
letters, if you are looking for a new distributor or agent, if you participated in the last
mapping webinar, you learned a little bit more about the next service on this slide.
Our website globalization review.

It cost two hundred dollars. And is it, because it's a fee based service,
but it takes us about half a day to put together for your company. And what we do is we look
at your company's website and provide improvements related to international search engine optimization
as Bob said, not everyone's using Google. Although most are using their countries, Google
browser and international visitor appeal, global slicing your websites. One of the most
important and impactful things your company can do regarding international marketing and
sales. Because the web has become the medium of business,
particularly international business and feedback. We received from buyers indicating they'll
not reach out to companies, particularly US companies that are obviously not capable and
interested in the international business, based on our review of the company's website.
So we really walk you through how to make that obvious that you are interested in doing
international business on your homepage. And it's pretty simple. A lot of it is low resource implications and
it's not too expensive.

So, we highly recommend you take a look at that service and get in
touch with us and then last, but not least. We have a few services that are our signature
services. They look a bit different right now, as you
can imagine we're conducting them virtually. But if you go to trade dot Gov, backslash,
virtual hyphen services, you can learn about some of those services. And essentially, we do a lot of initial market
checks looking at markets for you that you might want to explore and giving you feedback
on how your product resonates with locals there. We also do virtual matchmaking if you
are looking for partners or buyers overseas. Surprisingly, that's continuing quite a few
countries, but often it's virtual introductions and a lot of digital meetings and kind of
Skype or zoom meeting and then last, but not least we do. Do we do due diligence reports for companies?
So, in case you are kind of scouting out a partner, I'm wondering if there are a good
fit, we can do some background research on them. They were overseas networks. So, get in touch with us, we are happy to
help.

We think that it's really important to have a digital marketing strategy that
fits all these pieces together and we're proud to be part of this map and alliance. So, with that, I'm going to turn it over to
my colleague, Jessica Reynolds to talk to you guys a little bit more about some grant
programs. That can help you pay for some of these services and hopefully help you focus
on your international efforts during this time. Where we're all working from home. Thanks.
Great. Thank you. Colleen, I appreciate that. So I am Jessica Reynolds. I'm the senior director
of the office of international investment trade at the Maryland Department of commerce. Apologies, I do not have video, like my colleague
here for this particular platform, but I'm happy to speak with you all on the list. Our office is responsible for three main goals,
which are to increase exports from the state of Maryland to attract form business into
the state to create jobs and to market the seat internationally.

So, today we're focusing on that first item,
which business thing companies to export, and specifically through digital marketing.
So I'd like to go over the same programs we have that can support those efforts. The main program we have the most companies
are very interested in is the export and the grant program this program offers eligible
Maryland companies up to a five thousand dollar reimbursement towards their expert marketing
activity. Most companies have typically use the program
for trade shows travel, but of course, during a global pandemic, these are not realistic
activities for many companies.

So, we are trying to let everyone know that
we actually have a change in this program, which allows companies to use the entire reimbursement
towards digital marketing activities. The program does involve a one third cost
there by company. So that's important to keep in mind, you know. That's the maximum expenses under this program
would actually be seventy five hundred in order to be the maximum reimbursement of five
thousand. So the reason this is worth noting is, for
anyone who has actually just stated in our expert MP program in the past, is that the
category limits associated with digital marketing activities have been increased recently, the
SBA was very flexible with us. And many of you may know, they personally
fund our expertMD programs through the grants that is received by state. So we've been able to pretty quickly make
these adjustments given covet nineteen to allow for this greater flexibility is actually
for digital marketing.

There's. Increases for a couple of different areas
I want to list them out for you. So first is fees on shipping sample products
that's been increased as well as cost of compliance testing products up for entry to a market
export research tool subscription, and then more specific to this webinar the design of marketing material as well as
website and digital marketing activities.

So, returning to the application process for
expert companies do need to meet certain qualifications to be eligible. We have those listed here
on the slide. Those are to have the separations in Maryland,
this for Maryland, small companies. They need to be a small business as defined by the SBA,
in business for at least one year and then good standing with the state of Maryland. And this does have to be for an international
business initiative, specifically export marketing and lastly for digital marketing activities.

We are looking for companies that already
have an existing website for companies that may need help getting a website to start with,
we can help refer you to some services that may be able to assist you with that. Then, as far as how you would apply, you would
work with one of our regional managers. Andrew is one of those regional managers. He's on the line as well as we have three
others, and we accept those applications on the first of every month. We do recommend companies begin the application
process one month prior to the application deadline for non travel grant activities, or at least a few days, depending on how fast you appeal to the application
and for travel activities just for future reference. We do recommend that you start looking at
the applications two months prior to planned travel. The reason for this is that there
is a one month review, period between the application deadline, and the application
award. If a company's approved then activities must
take place after the award.

Once we receive the application on the first
of the month, the regional manager would give the application a final check through just
to make sure everything is taken care of because we want companies that applied to be successful
with their application. And then it goes out to our review committee.
So that's the reason why they're sort of like a one month buffer in there that needs to
be accounted for, in order for the review committee to take a look at that and go through
their process. The company can receive a response on the
award on the first of the following month. So, from the time of awards, the time from
the time of applications to the time of award is one month. So, now today we're on the thirty of April.
So if anyone listening today would like to apply, our next application deadline is tomorrow.
So I would recommend that you reach out to me pretty quickly after this webinar. So, we can try and connect with you because
you are very anxious to get started.

We also have an application deadline on June first,
which will allow you to begin activities July first at the earliest. So, just keep that
in mind with regards to the application process. We also offer some other programs to support
exporters and I'll just take a moment here to mention our office does have sixteen offices
around the world that can offer up to twenty hours of free assistance towards market research
or partner distributor searches. That is something that is still available
and on offer to our exporters right now we also work closely with the Robert H. Smith
center for global business to match businesses and the student teams for additional consulting
support. When semesters are normal. I know Rebecca
will be going over there. Some adjustments they've made, and other programs they have
available now that we're also supporting and that our expertMD program can be used towards
as well.

And then, I believe it may have been mentioned
earlier, but just to make sure it's covered we also offer users reimbursement for any
of the export services offered by colleagues' offices for which there may be. So, with that, I will go ahead and pass this
over to RebeccaBellinger and I'm happy to answer any questions about the expert MP or
other programs at the end, or or directly with anyone. If you email me afterwards, thank you. Great. Thank you so much Jessica I have introduced
myself already, so I will jump right to talking about the center, the center for global business
at the school at the University of Maryland College Park is the hub and driver of global
activity of the school.

We're doing proud as others have said to be
a part of this massive alliance. Our activities focused on student programming, research,
thought leadership, faculty development, capacity, building in trade or business. We’re one of fifteen nationally recognized
centers and a recipient of the title six grant program known as CIBER, the Centers for international
business, education and research and that's funded from the Department of education supports
all of our activities and expands our mission beyond the wild campus, and the part of our
mission that is most relevant to today's webinar is that we in the state of Maryland provide
support for companies.

Like you were seeking to be successful in
the local marketplace. So I will mention one additional program or opportunity that you
can participate in. Thank you Jessica for mentioning the Maryland
global consulting program or practicum that we offer in collaboration with the state. We are as is the entire state of Maryland
still open for business, and we look forward to working with companies that are interested
in working with a group. I wanted <unintelligble> on consulting projects
in the fall and spring semesters on the opportunity that I mentioned here today is the global
marketing virtual internship program. This is our newest initiative to support company. It's meant to not just support you, but also
provide training and professional experience for students all the while, adapting to the
new virtual environment, which we're all operating in. The content that we're focusing on for the
virtual internship program is digital marketing website globalization and it really anything
else related to E-commerce.

So some key elements, first, if you are interested
in participating and being a host company, you would provide a project for the students
or student team to work on a part time capacity over the summer. You would also provide a supervisor and a
team or these students to work with, at your company, and a thousand dollar stipend that
would be paid via invoiced. Our side of this is that we will provide training
in E, commerce concepts for the students. We will provide mentorship from myself, my
team and a marketing faculty member. All of the administration and the student
matching process we will do all of that as well. And if you are new to internships and
needs help designing the project or your program, we are more than happy to step into help.
You do that as well. What's really great about this in addition
to everything else I've mentioned, is that we are also going to match the fee
that you pay with our own funding from the title six grand so that these students who
will be receiving two thousand dollars as a stipend.

So, again, this is matching funds that we're
bringing to the table to just support students and your ultimate goal successfully. And as Jessica mentioned, the other great
part of this is that your fee is also refundable for or against the exportMD funds. They're accepting applications now, what you
see on the website, or what you see on the screen in front of you is the application
deadline is May 4th that can certainly be extended.

If you're interested in working
with students please go ahead and contact me directly. <unintelligible> Or the center global@rhsmith.umd.edu
and I can tell you that we already have so many students who have applied to the program
and are really excited and getting geared up to work with you. So that's what we have
from our side of the global business. Here's all of our contact information and
in the last couple of minutes remaining what? I would like to go answer some questions here.
So the first question that we have, I think it's for P. K. and this is about Eastern Russia. So someone
said, I'd love to hear more about Eastern Russia. I think it's a collective culture.
Are there any insights you can offer specifically about that region? It's a good question.

So, in my slide there
is a website that I have indicated that Hofstede’s multiple dimensions. So you can actually go and put a country's
name in there and then they will actually come up with all the different dimensions,
and come up with comparisons across different dimensions. You know, if you want to compare them across
different countries, you could do that. You could compare it with Switzerland, for example,
or Ukraine. And so,I think what you could do is that will
give you a resource that anybody can get in addition to that if you really want to get
more information as to what the local culture is, you gotta do some secondary research and,
Rebecca pointed out you could have students help in those kinds of activities.

Great, thank you. And I understand my voice
is going in and out. It is raining here. So, I apologize if you missed anything from
the presentation on my last slide and we do have one other question I want to get to before
we close and this could be for Bob or Colleen or even Jessica. The question is, has the perception of US
brands changed at all we've current politics, US, China tensions perhaps should we de, emphasize,
or downplay US origins or products or? It doesn't matter. I don't know who can take that. I can try
to give it a shot. Okay. So there are tensions. There are always tensions, if not trade there,
maybe something else, but anything that's made in the US in terms of our region is considered
as a higher quality.

So,you know, historically, we've seen probably
worse, like right done right now but I wouldn't in my personal opinion wouldn't downplay necessarily,
because we do have better quality products. So you wanted to think about how you want
to position your brand and what are the customers but you do want to pay attention to what's
going on, in terms of local politics and how the market may react to certain things. But I wouldn't downplay the reason that the
fact that, for example, it was made in USA Thank you and the final question, if you'll
entail just just a couple of more minutes, the final question that will take.

Are there any examples of global marketing
collaboration for companies in the digital economy meaning technology or financial services. Perhaps that might be directed toward Colleen
or Jessica, who have a good idea of other players in this space in the state, or through
the deck. Sorry Rebecca could you repeat the question? I cut out of it. Are there any examples of
global marketing collaboration for companies in the digital economy, technology, or or
financial services? The short answer is yes, we see a lot of companies
that work with a marketing company or partner or go in. For example, if you have a complimentary product
and service, and you're offering a full solution, you work with other companies to market that
solution often through, like a local agent and financial services often. You know, that can be the case, the suite
of financial services going to Hong Kong, or going to London, or some of the other key
financial markets. So the short answer is, yes, it really depends
on the industry and the companies partnerships, but it's a more cost effective way to go into
overseas markets. Alright, thank you.

And we have now run out of time. So I would like to say, thank you to our panelists,
thank you to all of our participants for joining us, the mascot alliance morning. Please don't
forget to take the survey as you log off. That will come up in the pop up window and
please do feel free to reach out to any of us. If we didn't get to your question. Or
if you have additional questions you are looking for additional resources that come to you
after the webinar. So, thank you very much..

As found on YouTube

Share this article

Leave a comment

Related Posts