Greg Seminara, Export Solutions

Congratulations ! You’ve survived the first half of 2020. Export shipment trends are positive in the Americas,Asia,Middle East,and Africa. Europe enjoys a decent year, as small waves of optimism cross the continent. Value oriented shoppers are still eating, but demanding more  better for you product choices. Export Solutions clients are typically reporting export sales increases in the five percent range.

Unfortunately, some 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.

First half results are in, with good visibility for the balance of the year.Listed below are some practical tips on a successful conclusion to 2020.

Review Your Original Objectives
Take your personal 2020 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 AnalysisWhat 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 versus the overall market conditions. For example, a four percent sales increase in the USA feels good until you hear of others up seven percent. Similarly, you are a hero this year with flat shipment performance in Saudi Arabia or Turkey. Share key findings with your management, along with your second half 2020 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 Money2020 has been defined by political turbulence. Many currencies experienced significant swings in the last twelve months. August 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 PlanIt is obvious that September is a good time to execute a remedial action plan. There is still time to salvage 2020 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 2021Create your wish list. 2021 is around the corner!