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    Reaching First-Time Exporters


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 1/2001

    A common misstep in the publishing process can be to place resources into researching and producing the book, to the detriment of the marketing and distribution process. A long-term, targeted approach has been developed by ITC to help partner organizations reach SMEs, universities, professional associations and others.

    Most organizations do not have large budgets to promote publications. Organizations are encouraged to strive for a professional, highly competent, conservative marketing approach. Trade Secrets should be positioned as one of the organization's flagship products, to cross-promote other lesser-known programmes, publications and services. Organizations are also encouraged to think about a nationwide marketing approach.

    It's all in whom you know

    The emphasis is on building a very targeted mailing list. This process is extremely time-consuming but relatively inexpensive, especially where the organization can obtain these lists at no charge and on disk. These lists will form the organization's master mailing database from which to market the publication. The organization should focus strongly on gathering e-mail lists as well as traditional mailing lists. They are an excellent, low-cost way to market programmes, services and publications.

    Organizations are encouraged to gather mailing lists from the following groups in the country: selected banks, chambers of commerce, university business schools, professionals within export assistance agencies, freight forwarders, relevant national associations, libraries, publishers of export information and selected small and medium-sized firms that are new to export.

    Once the mailing lists are in place, organizations can use them to send a letter, postcard or flier, with information about the publication, a small order form and space for the respondent to include his or her e-mail address if this person wants to receive additional information on the organization's programmes, services and publications. This marketing effort helps organizations determine the initial print run they should order.

    As the flagship marketing piece, organizations are encouraged to design an inexpensive one-colour, eye-catching brochure about the publication. These brochures should be mailed to all those on the mailing list database and distributed at relevant events.

    "Multiplier" effect

    Institutions that cooperate with national partners in Trade Secrets research process have an essential role in marketing and distribution. As they understand the publication and have contributed to its development, they make excellent partners for distribution to their own trade-related networks. ITC encourages national co-publishers to negotiate agreements from the start with their own contacts - not just for research, but also for marketing and distribution.

    Bulk discounts

    Encouraging organizations to order large quantities at a reduced rate can be a powerful incentive for training-related institutions, and helps ensure the publication reaches a wide audience. For example, the publishing organization may charge US$ 25 per book to individuals or offer external organizations the book at US$ 10 each for ten or more copies.


    Testimonials from these same institutions - which are often prestigious and well-known nationally - help to promote the book. Testimonials about the value of Trade Secrets can be used in fliers, book jackets and press releases. Testimonials also encourage greater participation from other institutions in promoting the guide.

    Complimentary copies

    ITC encourages partners to send complimentary copies to kindred organizations, along with order forms. In addition, they should send copies to at least 20 newspaper and magazine editors and book publishers who may publish reviews or write articles about the publication.

    This Close Up section was developed jointly by Sarah McCue, Adviser (Practical Guides) and Natalie Domeisen, Forum Editor. The Fact Files and Internet sites in this section were adapted from the ITC generic version of Trade Secrets. The ITC generic version was specially prepared to meet the needs of exporters in developing countries by a team of ITC staff, coordinated by R. Badrinath, Director, Division of Trade Support Services. It drew upon the concept and approach of the original version of Trade Secrets, developed by Michigan Small Business Centre, Wayne State University, United States (e-mail: ron@misbdc.wayne.edu).