As we approach 2024, it’s likely that you’re already contemplating your strategic initiatives for the upcoming year – one of which may involve the goal of breaking into a new market.
Venturing into new territories is one of many options in your growth landscape. In a rapidly changing and ever evolving landscape, it’s crucial to explore, evaluate, and assess all potential growth pathways before committing to a specific strategy.
To do this effectively requires a deep dive into every facet of your business, and a commitment to understanding the challenges and opportunities available to you.
If, after doing so, your strategy remains new market penetration, what steps must you take to not only make a memorable impact but also sustain long-term business growth in the new market?
Getting to grips with your target market segment and what makes your product stand out is key. Equally important is immersing yourself in understanding the landscape and culture of the market you wish to join.
Recently, Hill & Co.’s esteemed leadership team, including Elle Hill, Stanley Zale, Andrea Lucille Pooler, Pamela Bernstein-Gulla, Hayley Jeannel de Thiersant, and Amy Curran, came together to discuss how diamond, gemstone, and jewelry businesses can navigate this process and ensure they are in the best position to expand – and excel.
How do you identify the right growth strategy for your business? If your goal is to venture into a new territory, how can you ensure long-term sustainable success?
When considering a move into a new market, it is crucial for a business to identify their target market segment. This starts with really getting to grips with what makes your product stand out.
What’s the special something that drives your profit?
What is unique about your brand and how does it stand out?
How can you amplify and play to that strength?
Entering new jewelry markets never fits a one-size-fits-all scenario. Every segment within the market will have its own rhythm and clientele.
For example, if you’re coming to the United States from another market like Europe, you need to be prepared for a shift.
Each market has its own landscape. Immersing yourself in this, understanding the intricacies at play and the key organizations becomes your new homework. What does each industry organization stand for? How do they operate?
From there you can identify your pathway to connecting with both key organizations and your target market segment.
Many of our clients, particularly now, find themselves navigating the somewhat choppy waters of generational business transitions and shifting market strategies. They’re expressing a shared frustration: traditional methods to acquire new clients or break into new markets are stalling, and they’re unsure of the missing link.
There’s an evident transition in so many businesses across our industry – a younger generation is taking the reins as the older generation steps back or passes on. This new leadership is often acutely aware that sticking to time-honored methods won’t cut it anymore; a fresh approach is imperative.
Notably, the importance of initiating and deepening relationships in the online space, in order to grow your business, cannot be overstated – a message that may sound repetitive, but one that we cannot stress enough.
It’s not just about understanding a target audience; it’s about being an active, engaged part of their community and ecosystem. That’s the cornerstone -becoming a trusted entity worthy of business exchange, ensuring every digital touchpoint from LinkedIn to newsletters maintains a consistent, cohesive brand message.
If you want to make inroads into a new market, thorough research, understanding the culture, delineating which segment of the market you wish to serve is so important
We’ve seen it firsthand: when clients resist adapting to digital strategies because of discomfort or unfamiliarity, it hinders success. So now we’re employing strategies to gradually lead them toward embracing what needs to be done online – and we have a proven track record of doing just that. All data and digital touchpoints substantiate that B2B buyers engage with brands they follow on social media.
Every market or segment might require varied strategies, but a foundational recipe for targeting a new market does exist.
Breaking into a market is not just about the desire to expand. It’s about being ready, truly ready, with all the necessary resources in place to take on that monumental challenge.
Expressing the desire to enter a new market may feel like the right ambition – but the first step isn’t booking a flight to another country; it’s conducting a hearty, honest internal audit. Are you genuinely ready to take that leap? Have you scrutinized your target audience and competitors with a fine-tooth comb?
For example, we have spoken to clients previously, who are laser focused on breaking into the U.S. market. The allure of its size and potential can be just too enticing to resist. But often when the rubber meets the road, when we look at the finances and the logistics, it becomes clear that the business isn’t quite there yet. That’s a pivotal moment, recognizing that just because the U.S. market is vibrant and lucrative, doesn’t mean it’s the right fit for every product or brand. That big, gleaming neon sign saying “New Markets – This Way” might be pointing in the wrong direction for some.
I agree wholeheartedly with the other points made earlier, and let’s keep our starting point crystal clear: interrogate the why. Why that market? Does your product genuinely have a space there, or is the allure of ‘big and bustling’ clouding the strategic thought process? Let’s begin our journey there, ensuring that the desire is rooted in solid strategy and not merely enticed by the allure of potential.
Hayley Jeannel de Thiersant
Breaking into a new market requires doing the research, having a deep understanding what is uniquely appealing about your brand, and knowing how to translate that – or transform it – for the new region. What is working well for you in your flagship business may get lost in translation when you cross cultures. A recent example comes to mind of an innovative European jeweler that rapidly succeeded in France due to their sustainable sourcing practices and savoir-faire: tapping known jewelry artisans in the European market on the shoulder to design collections. A copy-paste approach of this strategy to open a showroom in China was a flop – not because of the execution of the launch, the concept was flawless, but because the secondary market they chose did not share the values of their first.
To branch out you must identify the additional markets where your current ideal customer can be found, or adapt your approach – and brand – for a client-base that has different cultural expectations and value systems from the one you first grew in. It takes adaptability, a willingness (and enough financial runway) to be able to test, monitor results, and adjust accordingly.
Embarking on a journey to permeate a new market definitely entails more than just enthusiasm; it demands meticulous planning and an astute understanding of the landscape you’re about to step into. Participating in relevant organizations and frequenting shows are pivotal: absorb the nuances, mingle, network, and subtly introduce your brand where possible. If physical presence isn’t feasible due to geographical constraints, virtual followings and digital interactions can still cast a potent net of connections. But, as Hayley noted, fundamentally, it’s imperative to discern, “What problem are you solving that isn’t already addressed?”
Your merchandise, its uniqueness, or your exceptional customer service could be the key, but it demands more than mere differentiation. Like Andrea highlighted, it’s also about sustainability: scrutinizing the financial implications, calculating the duties, shipping costs, and ensuring your technological readiness to facilitate a seamless entrance and sustainable presence in a new market. Inevitably, it’s all tethered to finances and profitability – if your entry into the market bleeds your resources dry without promise of an advantageous margin, it might warrant a strategic pause and reassess.
Attempting market penetration, particularly in a nuanced and layered market that’s new to you, means you must have a carefully crafted strategy that is financially savvy and bolstered by a strong infrastructure. The dialogue would naturally veer towards critical elements like cost and ROI, which are indisputably fundamental metrics.
But beyond these tangible figures are a wealth of non-quantifiable benefits that bear huge impact. Alongside these, technical choices, like opting for RFID technologies or maintaining manual systems, become crucial points in the planning process.
Intriguingly, when you’re interacting with leads and exploring challenges and operational frameworks, you’ll find that there’s often a lack of systematic infrastructure. The conversation sometimes drifts towards hiring reps in the market you’re considering, even when there’s an absence of a foundational structure to sustain that kind of expansion. It’s of vital importance that a business first solidify a robust home base, rectifying internal systems there first, well before venturing into expansion.