Be smart and export by city

Background

In 2010, when I founded Actionable Insight, McKinsey & Company published their first top 100 global cities list. Cities are where the money is. Over the next 13 years, 600 cities will account for nearly 65 percent of global GDP growth. I was intrigued to see only one UK city, London, on the list and immediately started to use Google Maps to find all of the new cities that either I had not heard of (do you know all of the new cities in China?) or had visited.

Thinking

Early in 2011, when I first worked with the excellent UK Trade & Investment, now Department for International Trade, I developed the global city thinking as to how new and experienced exporters could use it to go to market in a very logical way. It is so much easier to qualify and quantify the market/trends (including seasonality), the opportunity and competitors in a city. There is a fundamental difference in the headlines, messages and calls-to-action that would work in New York and San Francisco and different languages between Madrid and Barcelona.

Thinking

Early in 2011, when I first worked with the excellent UK Trade & Investment, now Department for International Trade, I developed the global city thinking as to how new and experienced exporters could use it to go to market in a very logical way. It is so much easier to qualify and quantify the market/trends (including seasonality), the opportunity and competitors in a city. There is a fundamental difference in the headlines, messages and calls-to-action that would work in New York and San Francisco and different languages between Madrid and Barcelona.

Market

To understand the market, we use tools like Google Trends (to understand seasonality), Google Market Finder (global keyword tool), I search from (allows to see what search engine results look like from a city), Google Shopping Insights (Consumer demand, US only at the moment), Santander Trade Hub (try their free trade portal, if only to check out trade flows), Comscore (online usage characteristics) and of course McKinsey & Company Global Cities of the Future to understand the market, before entering the market.

Analysis

Once we know the competitors, we can use our suite of digital analytics tools: Sitebeam, to analyse their product-perfect websites and see how efficient they are online; SEMRush, to understand their search engine, organic and paid advertising traffic-driving activity to see how they attract potential consumers and listen online using its social media monitoring tool; and Brandwatch, to understand key contexts of conversation (to make more interesting content), key locations (to prioritise the best sites, blogs, forums, communities and social media platforms on which to set up profiles, engage and advertise) and understand the most influential key opinion leaders that could either be recruited as brand ambassadors or encouraged to review/share your product/service information with their followers.

Go-to-market

So when setting up a location-smart go-to-market plan to generate qualified marketing leads, direct e-commerce or indirect e-marketplace sales, we say be smart and export by city, not by country.

More Actionable Insight

If you would like to find out more about Actionable Insight and rapidly expanding your UK and export business, get in touch today or come and say hello, hear one of our talks or book a 15-minute meeting slot at the Going Global Live event in London on the 17-19 May 2017.

Considerations

We wholly get that in some developed countries there is the potential re-fragmentation of the workforce into more urban areas and we will continue to monitor this trend and location intelligence backing it up.

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