The NMMA advocates for exporting
In a webinar held Monday afternoon, the National Marine Manufacturers Association laid out the first steps to become involved in exporting, a task the trade group believes is crucial for manufacturers when operating in an uncertain domestic economy.
In Crash Course on Exporting – 15 Steps to Selling Internationally, David Archer, president of International Business Trainers, cited the U.S. economy represents only 20 percent of the world economy. Therefore, he believes manufacturers need to explore exporting to increase diversification, which was crucial for many international companies during the recession.
“You are taking control, putting yourself into the middle of other countries in better times,” Archer said.
Furthermore, Julie Balzano, export development director for the NMMA, said the weakness of the U.S. dollar allows stateside manufacturers to be competitive in European markets, for example, where companies can charge more and remain competitive.
Balzano said the NMMA organized Monday’s webinar to debunk the rumor that exporting is too much of an investment and not digestible to many companies that think they may lack available resources.
“We wanted to break it down in bites and a place to start, and people find out it is not much different than domestic sales,” Balzano said of the webinar. “But I tell everyone it does require an investment in both personnel and financial resources. You cannot successfully export from your desk.”
Archer suggested a good starting point is a critical look at your product or service and decide why your offering would be more successful than any competitors already established in the foreign land.
Secondly, manufacturers need to determine who will carry out the distribution abroad, including necessary language skills, international shipments and the level of commitment.
“Look at their exporting endeavors as you would with any business, make sure it is not just something they are doing on the side,” Archer said.
Archer also recommended using Internet resources, including a joint website between the U.S. Department of Commerce and the NMMA found here. (http://export.gov/nmma/)
Archer stressed the importance of having in-depth knowledge of the foreign market, including market size, existing competition and what matters to your customers.
Balzano, in an interview with Boating Industry following the webinar, specifically acknowledged Australia as a growing export market due to the recreational marine market, a trade agreement and the lack of a language barrier. Also, despite excessive import duties, she said manufacturers have found growing markets in Brazil.
Asian markets, including China and Korea, have shown potential as well; however, Balzano recommends sticking to the aforementioned markets that are either closer or lack common barriers.