Tom provide sales representation and business development to Western companies entering the Korean and Japanese markets. In addition, his company deliveres customized sales and leadership training in the English, Korean, Japanese and Chinese languages, primarily to high-tech companies, and has successfully done the same to luxury goods, automotive and legal services companies.
Tom co-wrote a successfully selling book on doing business in Korea, Mastering Business in Korea: A Practical Guide and wrote a biweekly management column for the Korea Times for two years.
He has occasionally been interviewed on Bloomberg TV regarding current commercial and political developments in Korea, and is currently a regular contributor to the JoongAng Daily, Korean partner to the International Herald Tribune. He writes on economic, diplomatic and business topics.
Tom wrote an excellent piece about SME companies who wants to enter the Korean Market. I share the same experiences likewise him. Local buyers and smaller distribution channels for a relative small foreign company can make it work to enter the market. I would say: preparation, preparation, preparation!
To this, I'd like to add:
- the trust-building factor associated with forging relationships with local vendors and the creation of micro distribution channels: Credibility, Reliability, Integrity, and the down-sizing of self-orientation. Moreover, part of the preparation process also involves really understanding cross-cultural and intercultural communications: occulesics, para-lanquistics, gesticulation, proxemics, chronemics, artifactics, etc.
- Preparing/analyzing contractual agreements, IP laws, NDAs, and MOUs of what is binding and what is not.
- Planning and proper risk analysis of quantifiable deliverables, and then transforming that into a qualitative rhetoric that is able to produce the valued "kibun."
Thanks for giving me a chance to ask about marketing.
I offer English business communication services to SMEs. Report writing, white papers, professional level editing, copywriting, CEO oral presentation training, how to write an email training.
I'm thinking about a mail-out to pitch these services to export oriented firms in and around my geographic area: a 4 page sales letter, English-Korean. I'm assuming most of the people on my list can communicate well in English
Any tips on how on to make the letters effective?
Any proven marketing tips for small business people in Korea?
A couple of things:
Please consider most people these days don't like direct mail, more commonly referred to as spam mail. Sorry, but that is what you are about to send out, even if you think you are researching carefully your target audience. To the majority of your potential readers, your message is likely to come off as spam that got through their spam filter.
So, you will have to take great care in trying to personalize the Subject line of your messages, including the person's name and some aspect that you know that may be unique to your target's possible needs.
Second, "4 pages"? Are you kidding? Who reads that much these days - particularly if it is a sales pitch?
A good way to prepare, is to articulate an elevator pitch - you know, what you would say as a positioning statement to anyone in the short time of an elevator ride to get the person's attention that may lead to a subsequent, longer conversation.
Once you have done that, fine tune your message to be as concise as possible. It should be no longer than a half pager per each language. And, most critically, spend a great deal of time in refining your opening sentence or two. The strength or weakness of that first sentence or two will determine if the rest of the message will even be read.
Finally end your message listing the concrete benefits you can deliver to your prospect, followed by a call to action statement, such as inviting the person to get in touch with you or, better, advising the person you will be phoning him or her in the coming few days to better understand your service may financially benefit his/her company.
That's from the top of head. But I hope it nonetheless helps.
Rob - I would encourage you to back up any marketing campaign by reaching out personally, too, such as by visiting or calling a few days after sending out the direct mail piece. Nothing will let you know the sentiments of your market better than speaking with folks. It may be painful, but it's absolutely the best way to break into a new market.
You could do this by phone calling, or better, by even personally visiting the companies. Business in Korea is generally done through introductions and other personal connections, but almost nobody in your target market will have ever seen a Westerner pounding the pavement before, and the sheer curiosity value is likely to get you in the door and into some conversations.
Tom and Simon,
Thanks very much for your replies and helpful suggestions.
Most certainly will put them to use.
BTW, perhaps I was unclear. I was thinking about a paper mail out - not an emailer.
Thought the novelty of a paper letter might get some attention.
Cheers and thanks again.
Will try your idea for certain.
Posted direct mail can be expensive unless you are limiting your targets to a few. And unsolicited direct mail is normally considered to be junk mail. So if you have any chance, I suggest using the same advice I gave regarding email.
Consider how much time you are willing to read junk mail, I mean, direct mail from others.
Here is the latest post from Tom's weblog:
thanks in advance.
I am planning to address Korean market from services point-of-view. what do you suggest? initially thru business partner will help or direct entry. I wanted to test waters initially and then strategize our approach.
any or every response is appreciated.