Taking your product to a foreign market is one of the most difficult tasks in a business development strategy. Many Polish brands have decided to expand into the British market where Polish citizens are one of the biggest minor ethnic groups, without hiring a Polish PR or digital marketing agency. They won’t, however, always succeed.

It is not bad luck, as they may think, but a lack of strategy – the engine to drive the product onto the market. After 12 years of operation on the British market, we have seen it all. A lot of enthusiasm at the beginning, and a big fail at the end. The brands that don’t succeed very often fall into the same pattern of events.  So what are the most common mistakes they make along their business development path.

1. They try to find the cheapest solution and don’t take into account a relevant budget to raise brand awareness and PR, and avoid hiring a marketing agency such, as All 4 Comms.

Some decide to market their brands themselves in a new, unknown territory, without knowing the culture, or even the British shopping habits.

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2. They hire the cheapest Polish marketing or PR agency because they promise the same results for a fraction of the cost, and they fail them.

This has happened, a number of times. In fact, All 4 Comms very often takes over marketing communications from small, inexperienced agencies after a few months, even years, and achieve expected results by simply applying our expertise and tailoring marketing communication to the brand’s needs, within a few months.

3. Lack of profiling, segmenting the audience.

This happens very often. Polish brands seek solutions that fit all. It simply doesn’t work on the British, or any market. A well segmented audience is profiled at least by their sex, age, psychological preferences or product consideration stage. Keeping up with trends, listening to the audiences and quickly applying changes, are the most important strategy objectives for any brand, for any market.

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4. No research, competition analysis.

Market analysis is not talking to your family and friends, as we have heard surprisingly very often. Have you heard: we learn more from failure than from success? So, it is relevant to test a few solutions, adjust, listen to feedback, apply changes, test again and ask clients what they think. You should always analyse competitors in order to be at least one step ahead of them. Many Polish brands were so focused on the fantastic features of their own product that market research was not even taken into consideration. By doing some research and talking to their potential customers first, they would benefit from direct response about their offers, which would then allow them to market their product successfully.

5. Focusing on product features, rather than on values and the promises your product offers.

Marketing focused on product is at least 20 years out of date. Now, in order to market a new Polish product on the British market, you have to first fit in with a more modern approach and identify some core values. People don’t buy products, people buy promises and solutions. That’s a fact. No matter how great and unique your product is, if it is not attached to any story and appealing values, it is very likely to fail on the British market. Brits might pay less attention to the historical narration than Poles, but they still respond to the value of nostalgia or family safety, for example. An ethnic marketing strategy always consists of cultural differences, and seeks integrity within your brand. Worth knowing.

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6. No identified appealing USP.

There are so many companies on the market and your brand is probably one of hundreds, thousands, or even millions, of a similar type of product. The British market is extremely competitive and putting your message across is not an easy task. It demands a load of extra creativity and expertise; a confident and clear consistent marketing strategy. Polish companies often fail to maintain consistent interest in their brand. They don’t use integrated marketing communication, including PR, social media, influencers or paid solutions such as Facebook Ads or sponsored articles to keep the British audience excited about their brand. In fact, not many Polish brands target British mainstream media at all! They keep approaching Poles for example, forgetting that apart from Poles, there are over 66 million people to attract and their product might be equally appealing to the British, Russian, Bulgarian, Czech, Slovakian, Pakistani, Lithuanian, and Romanian citizens in the UK. But in saying that, every ethnic group needs a relevant marketing strategy to meet their needs and wants. In All 4 Comms we have marketed products to various ethnic groups, including British, Bulgarian, Romanian and Lithuanian ethnic groups in the UK, and we have learned our lessons; every group has a different style of cooperation and values, some more understandable for Poles than the others.

7. Lack of strategy.

This is the biggest sin of them all, and noticed too many times. It is a very common mistake, especially by small Polish brands that try to expand their possibilities to new markets. They enter the British market with no strategy. Initially they say that they wanted to test the waters before they develop any sort of long term strategy, but the fact is they spend money, fail, and never come back. Sad story. What if the strategy was right from the very beginning, was consistent and executed well over a period of time? There is no way on Earth to establish, after a month or two, whether the brand will succeed on the British market when your product is completely new. It takes time to raise brand awareness and trust. Polish brands fail on the British market because they expect the results too quickly. Economy “now” might work as a distribution strategy, but won’t work when entering new markets.

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8. Not knowing financial, legal proceedings.

It’s still happening. Polish manufacturers or service providers do not properly check the legal and financial environment when they try to enter the British market. Many fail because they haven’t counted the cost of overheads, such as running an office; they underestimate the charges of local services or peripheral costs, and almost every brand underestimates transport costs. Currently, some are afraid of Brexit even though it has already been said that free trade would remain. Brexit might only affect some services, but it is not certain what restrictions Poles will face, if any. Brexit is not a problem, but the overall cost of establishing offices, finding a relevant sales force, or spending money for irrelevant marketing techniques, might be.

9. They don’t apply a relevant budget for marketing.

You might think marketing is not the most important thing when entering the British market. Sales are what count most. Many companies failed with this strategy during their first attempts to enter the British market. Add product focused narration and the recipe for failure is well prepared. The British economy is far more developed than the Polish and has its own rights. A good marketing strategy based on values is what counts the most. As small talk is important on a daily business basis, the standing out from the crowd with your values is very important for a British style marketing communication. Cultural differences are often not taken into account by Polish brands, as they are not really aware of what they are. Polish brands very often fail in their assumptions and in not delivering relevant messages for the target market. Referring to British style is probably more relevant than referring to the Polish or European quality; enhancing stories about traditional produce is more appealing to Brits than one more miraculous cosmetic product on the market – to mention a few cultural differences.

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Overall, entering the British market by Polish brands seems to have become more common during recent years. Some survived and developed their appeal to Brits; some failed and forgot about the UK in their business expansion plans; some are still trying by using different marketing techniques that worked in Poland, but are finding insignificant results on the British market. The last category is companies testing the waters by seeking sales instead of a long term marketing strategy leading to sales. Whatever your position is currently, do not hesitate to contact us. We provide effective ethnic marketing communication for Polish brands willing to expand their market to attract a massive 66 million population market. We also provide bespoke services for British brands entering the Polish market. Deep understanding and experience of both markets puts us in a leading position worldwide in the category of ethnic marketing communication.

Check out our testimonials to get a sense of our results.

If you are looking for effective marketing agency for your business, do not hesitate to contact us.