Agony Lance: Lost in translation

 There are lots of people here from Asia and especially mainland China, and they seem to have a lot of money. However we really struggle to reach them. What should we do?– Mark, Auckland

I’ve got no idea how to crack that market, but what you need to do is clear. Hire people who are part of the group you’re targeting and put them in charge of the opportunity. It’s the same with other market segments, whether they’re based on gender, ethnicity, culture, age or anything else. It’s dangerous to assume you can understand their needs without deeply embedding yourself in that group, and the best way to do that is to become part of it.

It’s also the same when entering markets offshore. It’s obvious you’ll need local support in France, Germany and Japan, but Australia, the USA and the UK are also quite different from New Zealand, and we can’t presume to understand their needs. Part of addressing those markets will be that your company culture will change, reflecting your customers more. So take a good look at your colleagues at work tomorrow and ask yourselves, do we look like our customers?

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