Making the Connections
Finding a Customer or Partner
Once you have identified where you would like to start and the best market‑entry option for your company, the next step is to find potential customers or partners.
The following are effective ways of finding potential customers, partners, agents or distributors:
Commission a UK Trade & Investment Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS) workplan for a tailor-made list of potential customers/partners. A programme of meetings with these potential customers/partners can also be arranged for you when you visit Colombia. This is a very cost-effective way of using locally based, experienced UK Trade & Investment staff to identify potential partners on your behalf.
Attend trade shows and exhibitions. A number of relevant trade shows and exhibitions take place in Colombia throughout the year and these can be an excellent way to meet potential customers face to face.
Take part in a trade mission. There are an increasing number of trade missions to Colombia, run by accredited organisations such as trade associations and local chambers of commerce. Travel grants may be available to eligible participating companies.
If your company is small or medium-sized and Colombia is a new market for you, then you may be eligible for financial support to visit the country under UK Trade & Investment's Market Visit Support scheme.
In addition, the approaches below are suitable for companies that want to export to Colombia:
Make an approach via the relevant trade association in Colombia. The members themselves will often be the most appropriate partner for your product or service in Colombia and many Colombian companies that are well established in their home market are looking for new and innovative products to complement their range. You can ask for a list of trade associations when commissioning an OMIS workplan.
Advertise in professional newspapers, magazines and journals. This can be beneficial for high-tech companies with leading-edge products, but less effective for companies without a technical background.
Hold a technical seminar or product introduction meeting in Colombia to attract potential customers. UK Trade & Investment can help you to organise product promotion events and identify the audience you need to target as part of our chargeable services. Alternatively, you may wish to involve a local consultancy or public relations firm to assist you.
For more information on how UK Trade & Investment can help you to do business in Colombia, please speak to your local UK Trade & Investment team on +44 (0)20 7215 5000 or visit: www.ukti.gov.uk
Marketing and Branding
Trade shows, exhibitions and advertising are good ways to attract potential customers. You will need to ensure that your sales literature is effective in both English and Latin American Spanish, and you should consider whether advertising is appropriate. We recommend that you involve a Colombian specialist consultancy which can develop an appropriate marketing strategy for your product and the areas of Colombia it will be sold in.
You may need to adapt your product to meet Latin American preferences or requirements to be able to sell it. Ignoring local regulations, tastes and cultural preferences is a recipe for failure. There are also some aspects of Colombian culture that you should be aware of when promoting your product, please see 'Etiquette, Languages & Culture'.
The advertising industry is well developed in Colombia, with several UK companies present. UK companies wishing to advertise to the general public should engage the services of a local advertising agency to ensure that their messages are both localised and sophisticated.
You may also consider using UK Trade & Investment's Export Marketing Research Scheme. This aims to encourage UK companies to use export marketing research in the development of a market-entry strategy for their overseas markets. It also helps companies to undertake or commission marketing research based on sound methods. In addition to advising companies on how to use export marketing research effectively, financial support towards the costs of undertaking approved projects is also provided.
In order to create a favourable impression of your company and your product in Colombia, it is essential to have a name that Colombian consumers can remember. If a product name cannot be remembered, it is unlikely that many people will buy it. It is not advisable to have a Spanish translation of your company name. English names are very well accepted by Colombians.
However, it is advisable to spend some time on getting this right. The name is, after all, the first thing your potential customers will see.
Source - UKTI