RPM Marketing is a small family business based in Bexhill on Sea in East Sussex and it markets and sells a range of premium household cleaning and care products.
Its Tableau products are sold through independent retailers like Harrods and Selfridges as well as specialists like hardware, furniture and carpet shops. RPM Marketing has more than 50 high quality products ranging from chandelier cleaners through to tile and wood polishes. Having established its products successfully in the UK market, Mark Scheldt, RPM Marketing’s Managing Director explained why branching out into export was so important, “To expand our business further it was clear that export was critical. We really only had two options: go with a nationwide chain of stores like Tesco to give us volume or expand internationally, using our tried and tested model of working with Specialist retailers. The market globally for cleaning products is very large so building a niche like ours internationally is possible. At this time, it is better for us and safer to replicate the business model we already understand, than take on a whole new approach to grow within the UK market. It was clear to me that we had to take export seriously.” Mark commissioned the Export Communications Review (ECR) to prepare the company for its move into the Italian market and to help create a communications model that would make further export markets easier to target in the future. Sarah Carroll, BCC Accredited Export Communications Consultant for RPM focused on assessing the effectiveness of the company’s website and marketing materials specifically for its key Tableau range.
“The Review highlighted the need for us to strengthen and internationalise our web presence as well as simplifying our message and translating key materials like brochures, into Italian.” Mark Scheldt, Managing Director.
“The Review highlighted the need for us to strengthen and internationalise our web presence as well as simplifying our message and translating key materials like brochures, into Italian. We now work in four languages, have created a simplified marketing positioning and have created a new brochure specifically for Italy. On the internet, we have registered the .com domain name and internationalised our website as well as simplifying navigation on the site. We really took the review’s advice to heart and the early signs are it is really helping.”
In addition, Mark believes that the ECR also brings less obvious benefits, “The biggest thing that the ECR has done for us (and would benefit every small business) is challenge our assumptions about marketing overseas. It has also forced us to document and assess some of our business practices that previously sat inside our heads unchecked. The Review process helped us to get most of this down on paper and improve its effectiveness, helping our business overseas of course but even in the UK.”
But for Mark the value of the ECR doesn’t stop when you are planning to export, “The Review acts as a reminder for us to check in regularly on the quality of our communication. It gives you a practical strategy to follow. You are able to come back to the Review from time to time and check the progress you have been making and make adjustments accordingly. Everything you need to do is there in easy to manage chunks designed to meet your specific export goals.”
Mark found his first ECR so valuable he is planning to take out a second, “We want to check back in to get an independent review of how well we are doing as it is so important to us. We saw so much value from this independent perspective before, we will run the process again to identify our weak areas so we can put them right quickly.”
“The ECR was money and time very well spent. I would definitely recommend other businesses take advantage of the service. I have used consultants in the past and not had a good experience and this made me critical and reluctant to bring someone from the outside into my business. However, my ECR consultant was very good, she understood our business and needs very quickly and delivered practical advice we could use.”
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