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Mid 2018 Report Card

By: Greg Seminara, Export Solutions

Congratulations ! You've survived the first half of 2018. Export shipment trends are positive in the Americas,Asia,Middle East, and Africa. Europe enjoys a decent year, as as small waves of optimism cross the continent. Value oriented shoppers are still eating,but demanding more choices and more product information. Export Solutions clients are typically reporting export sales increases in the five percent range.

Unfortunately, many maintain a pessimistic outlook due to potential ruptures due to Brexit, Trump, and trade wars. This cautious outlook has tightened brand spending, creating a challenge to stimulate sales.

July marks the midway point in the year and the right time to review first half results. Attack this task with some urgency, as more sophisticated retailers are already planning their Holiday Marketing Campaigns. Listed below are some practical tips on a successful conclusion to 2018.

Review Your Original Objectives- Take your personal 2018 goals out of the filing cabinet and dust off the plan. We all know where we stand versus budget, but other objectives may be tougher to measure.Some companies allow managers a mid year change based upon a shift in corporate priorities.

Complete a Business Analysis- What countries and brands are leaders? Laggards? Where is remedial attention urgently required? What is working? Surprises (both positive and negative)??? An important metric is to compare your brands performance verus the overall market conditions.For example, a 5 % percent sales increase in the USA feels good until you hear of others up 10 %. Similarly, you are a hero this year with flat shipment performance in Brazil or Russia. Share key findings with your management, along with your second half 2018 action plan.

Distributor Mid- Year Review- Request that each distributor complete a similar mid year review. Track progress on key metrics and initiatives. What’s working? Key issues? Where do they need help? Will they achieve their budget?

Follow the Money- 2018 has been defined by political turbulence. many currecies experienced significant swings in the last twelve months. Mid year is an appropriate time to conduct a market wide retail pricing review to see where your brand stands relative to the competition. Currency fluctuations mandate a quick check of the calculation to see if it still is fair. It is also a good time to review promotional spending versus budget. You need to avoid a “December” surprise of an overspent or under spent marketing budget.

Remedial Action Plan- It is obvious that July is a good time to execute a remedial action plan. There is still time to salvage 2018 without a year end “panic”. Allocate time, money, and resources where required.

Probation for Habitual Under-Performers- Every manufacturer has markets that are under delivering versus expectations. Consistent laggards impact your own ability to achieve your own, personal, assigned objectives. Now is a good time to send a strong message demanding improvement if your partner wants to avoid losing your business.

Plan Travel Accordingly- Create a provisional calendar for the second half of the year. Your calendar fills up quickly with priority market visits and trade shows.

Start Thinking about 2019- Create your wish list. 2019 is around the corner!