Let’s say you are a Japanese company, or an aspiring startup. You already have a really good product or service that is selling well in Japan. You think it will be a hit around the world, but don’t have the resources to take it global.
Trying to sell your product (or service) in a place like the USA can be a really risky proposition. First, there is a lot of competition. You don’t know if customers will buy your product until you sell it. But if you try to sell it, then perhaps nobody will buy it due to market mismatch. It’s like a “chicken and egg” situation, which comes first?
There also may be some significant cultural differences between the product or service you sell in Japan, and the expectations of a foreign market like the US or Europe. What works well in Japan, may not work well in the USA.
There have been many cases in business history where a Japanese company spends millions of dollars (or billions of yen) launches their product in the USA, only to have it fail spectacularly because of poor “Product Market Fit”.
In the old days, (before the “Lean Startup”), companies would follow a path that is something like this:
More often than not, these attempts would often cost millions dollars, and fail miserably.
But these days, there is a much better way to find the right customers overseas, test your marketing hypothesis to see if it has an audience, iterate on an idea until it exactly what the audience wants, and build a strong engaged customers list BEFORE you launch. Then execute a successful launch confidently knowing you will succeed knowing you have customers. And finally, do it all from your home office in Japan.
Sounds too good to be true right? But actually, it is possible today. Read on…
Enter the Power of the “Lean Startup” methodology, combined with the power of advanced Digital Marketing strategies. Now, without the overhead of establishing an office in a foreign market, you can quickly determine if you have “Product Market” fit. That is, you can quickly determine if you have the right product that people want to buy.
To give you an idea of what we preach, we present this simple online marketing funnel.
Market Research Funnel (Steps)
And for all the steps above, measure the results each step along the way of this funnel.
Over the course of a couple weeks or months, continue to modify the messaging of your ads, the price and wording and the offer of the landing page, and the final offer after your Drip Campaign. Iterate as many times as needed to discover the right message that resonates with your foreign audience. It may take several months.
Follow this process, and you will get 3 big benefits:
So there you have it, a very lightweight way to measure if you have “Product Market Fit, refine your marketing message for an overseas market, and build a relationship with customers before you build that office overseas.
If you need help setting up Marketing Funnels in English to test an overseas market, contact us here. We can help get you set up.
Jeff Crawford is a Digital Marketing expert, technologist and Manager. He has worked for technology companies in Silicon Valley such as Apple, WebTV and Microsoft. He has lived in Tokyo Japan since 2004, working for companies such as Microsoft KK and Adobe Systems Japan. Jeff is founder of Zo Digital Japan, an SEO and Digital Marketing agency based in Tokyo. Jeff started the Tokyo Digital Marketers Meetup in 2016, which now has over 2000 members. He has also presented about Digital Marketing at such events as Ad-Tech Tokyo, WordCamp Tokyo, Japan Market Expansion Competition (JMEC), and the Japan Association of Translators (JAT).