Why suffer a recession when new markets beckon?


At gigCMO, we talk a lot about perspective. An outside perspective is one of the advantages we bring to businesses, helping companies leverage their knowledge of their product or service to attract the right customers. That perspective allows us to look at the potential marketplace for companies beyond the confines of their domestic market or a particular vertical and look for additional spaces in which they can flourish. As a team with international scope and expertise spanning the UK, Europe, Canada, the USA and the countries of the Arabian Gulf we can offer a view on international expansion. When many UK businesses are feeling the pinch of recession, that international perspective can be game-changing.

Not every market is in a recession

In the UK, businesses are experiencing various challenges - notably, the cost of living, rising interest rates and a shrinking economy. However, the challenges the UK is facing are not universal. The BBC reported: "Not only is the UK the only major economy to be shrinking in the three months to September, but it is the only one not to have recovered in full the chunk of the economy lost during the pandemic."

Other economies are thriving, or at least not suffering, in the way the UK is. The Canadian economy expanded 0.7% on quarter in Q3 2022, a fifth consecutive quarter of growth; the US economy beat expectations with 2.9% growth in the final quarter of 2022; and the UAE's GDP is expected to grow 6.5% this year. In Europe, things aren't as positive as in other parts of the world, but it's predicted to experience a mild recession.

It's easy for us, as individuals and as business leaders, to get caught up in the challenges of our home market. However, an outside perspective reminds us that other countries don't have the same issues or mentality as our domestic market. For example, Europe faces many of the same current energy issues as the UK - in some countries more than others. However, in the USA, Canada and the UAE, it's a non-issue. To paraphrase the philosophical lessons of Chicken Little, don't assume that because one acorn falls on your head, the whole sky is falling.

If your home market is struggling, it will always be a source of concern, but equally, if you are operating in multiple markets, you can spread your risk. Therefore, for businesses looking to grow, rather than feeling trapped in one economy, expanding into new markets to enable business growth may be a proactive and exciting opportunity.

The challenges of market expansion

We have spoken about international market expansion numerous times, and it's a big part of our work supporting clients. Part of the reason is that while deciding to expand into other markets is a positive move, choosing where and how to do it is an intrinsic part of making it a success. For example:

  • The market that seems the most obvious might not be the best one.
  • Getting it right requires extensive research to ensure your product, service, and brand are viable in that region.
  • Creating a strategy to launch in a new market and roll out your offering in terms of logistics and marketing is essential. It may follow a different blueprint than your domestic market.

It's also important to remember that local knowledge of everything from consumer behaviours and pricing sensitivity to local humour and lifestyle is essential. That's not always measurable (in terms of data), but it's crucial to assimilating into a new region. It's important to remember that when you expand overseas, local competitors know the market as strongly as you know yours at home.

Once again, perspective becomes essential. At gigCMO, we have a playbook for market growth, including international market expansion, tailored to an individual organisation's needs. However, more is needed - we also have senior leadership experience (CMO or CEO level) living, working and operating businesses in regions around the world. That intuition, coupled with data, analytics, a strategy based on measurable information and both product and market knowledge, are the essential ingredients for successfully expanding into new markets.

A balanced perspective on the news

As a final note on perspective in the context of recession - one that most business leaders will be familiar with but that we can all benefit from remembering, is that while being proactive is a good thing, being reactive usually isn't. While there are economic challenges, the media sometimes paints an unbalanced view, which can create panic rather than a strategic approach to resilience and growth.

In a 1995 paper by Peter Vanderwicken, the Harvard Business Review noted: "The news media and the government are entwined in a vicious circle of mutual manipulation, mythmaking, and self-interest. Journalists need crises to dramatise news, and government officials need to appear to be responding to crises."

It's not to deny the news or the realities of the economy, but it's also a reminder not to panic and to take a balanced view across time, continents and perspectives. Where there are challenges, there are also opportunities to be had; the question is just whether you can see them.

Do you want to explore new opportunities and perspectives for your business? Find out more about gigCMO's Fractional CMO service.

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