How to enter a new market: learn what works and what doesn’t

Pro insights from Mauro Nardocci, marketing expert and market entry specialist

There comes a time in business where you outgrow your home market and the opportunity before you becomes an exciting global prospect. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations, there’s no doubt that you understand your existing market channels, which message resonates, and have an excellent your ideal customer profile (ICP). 

The problem? Entering a new market, whether global or not, doesn’t always mean you can replicate the marketing and business strategy from your home market. Many successful companies have failed miserably with new market entry from Target’s bid to enter Canada to eBay’s desire to gain a foothold in China. Or, you can encounter complications like the recent fiasco between TikTok and the US Government. 

We sat down briefly with Mauro Nardocci, who is a marketing expert with experience in helping brands enter new markets successfully. 

Prox: Tell us about your expertise

>> Mauro Nardocci: 

“I work with a lot of companies in the fast-moving consumer goods category. Often they need advice from someone who has taken brands into new markets. I also help with product innovation and communication strategy. 

Tactically, I help with things like identifying the right audience to target, selecting the right messaging per audience and finding the right channels to reach them.

I grew up and worked for our family-owned supermarket. I got a lot of first-hand exposure to consumer preferences, understanding what message sold and what didn’t. This experience is how I developed an early passion for marketing.” 

Prox: What are some the common mistakes you see with brands trying to enter new markets?

>> Mauro Nardocci:

“The biggest issue is not having a clear picture of the activities and impact of those activities. But there are a lot of nuanced mistakes specific to market entry, like: 

  • Replicating a successful campaign from one market and applying it directly into the new market. Assuming one marketing formula will work everywhere.
  • They copy marketing campaigns from other brands in that market but don’t understand the subtleties of that brand and how its relationship with customers. 
  • A lot of companies will attempt to go big from the onset to make an immediate impact. Unfortunately, this costs a lot and without the right research often fails. What then happens is there is no marketing budget left.

Prox: any quick advice for entering new markets? 

How to enter new markets like China

>> Mauro Nardocci: 

“First, understand how the market is structured, who are the competitors, what are consumer preferences like market channels and cultural norms.

“Understand how the market is structured, who are the competitors, what are consumer preferences like market channels and cultural norms.” 

Mauro Nardocci

Second, develop a strategy with an agile marketing approach. Start on a small scale, then optimize as you progress before you make a significant investment. 

Last, identify entry points, test them, then scale-up through partnerships, this approach helps you become part of the community.”

Prox: any examples of brands that you think did a good job entering new markets? 

>> Mauro Nardocci: 

“I have a few, but the two that come to mind are Hagen-Dazs ice cream and Barillia’s entry into China. Everyone wants to enter China, a lot fail, but these two are successful. 

Hagen-Dazs started small, entered as exclusive ice cream and sold through boutique ice cream shops. Once that had proven successful, they then moved into grocery stores once the consumer got a taste for the ice cream and the brand.   

I led the market entry for Barilla into China. Like Hagen-Dazs, we started small. We opened up restaurants and provided help through cooking classes. We were able to create a unique experience for Chinese consumers, where they got to learn and appreciate the art of Italian cooking.”

Prox: Do you have any sources of inspiration?

>> Mauro Nardocci: 

“I have a lot of admiration for two former CEOs I worked for, Claudio Colzani (CEO of Barilla), and Giuseppe Morici (CEO of the Bolton Group). I loved their vision and leadership style; both focused on ultimate clarity.   

I also love this quote from poet, Ted Joans: ‘Everything that is was once imagined.’ This verse speaks to me for two reasons. On one side, it expresses the power of strategy and on the other, the power and importance of vision.”

“Everything that is was once imagined.”

Ted Joans

Prox: What trends of predictions to you foresee for 2021?

>> Mauro Nardocci: 

Because of the pandemic, I believe we will continue to see a growth in fast-moving consumer goods. People want quality, convenience, comfort and a sense of familiarity. If they’re able to continue delivering on this promise, I think they will see continued growth even after the pandemic. 

I don’t see too many new trends with media dynamics that haven’t already started, with the exception that the pandemic will amplify things. For example, with the use of multiple screens, I believe we will see continued growth in micro-messaging and being to deliver that mico-message quickly.”

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