I Have a Product for the US Market. Now What?
Say you’ve launched a product in Santiago or Mexico City. You spent months prototyping and testing it, and then you validated it in the Latin American market. Your product is making money and your company is growing.
If you are looking for explosive growth, beyond what the Latin American market can provide, you might consider expanding to the US to sell your product to a broader audience. Reaching the US market requires more than just translating your copy. You will have to make sure your idea is appropriate for this new audience and even consider getting a patent to protect your intellectual property.
Here is how to launch a product in the US market after you have validated it in Latin America.
Do your market research.
Almost no one has a first-mover advantage anymore. Before you expand into the US market, you should identify potential competitors and how they are marketing themselves.
You will also need to research your customers. The niche you served in your home country may not have the same interests and pain points as the group you will target in the US. You may even find that your ideal customer persona changes when you launch in this new market. Focus intensely on the solution you are providing and how you can make it accessible to your new audience in the US.
Grow your network.
As a new player in a big market, you will need a small group of people to advocate for you and help you hit the ground running. Meet other entrepreneurs and established players in your industry and engage them in discussions, on and offline, to make a name for yourself. Even if you are succeeding in Latin America, you will need to build up a presence in the United States to gain relevance among other competitors.
Learn as much as you can from the experience of other founders who have tackled the same issues so you can avoid making similar mistakes. Customers buy products, not inventions, so find out how others have made that transition, as well. The rules of the game may change when you expand to this new market, so follow the lead of those who are already established in the US.
Study your intellectual property rights.
Getting a patent is not a guarantee that your product will take over the US market. However, if you consider that your invention is an entirely new idea, you may want to spend some time on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website to find out more about your options. You can also look up similar products in their catalog to review the competition before you try to launch a brand new invention.
However, be cautious about patenting. You could easily spend a lot of money on a lawyer and lose sight of marketing and sales efforts that would move the needle on your launch. Don’t go after a patent until you have already validated your idea in this new market.
Write out a basic business plan, and be patient.
At Microsoft, the rule is: if you didn’t write it down, it didn’t happen. Circumstances can change rapidly when you are launching in a new market, and you need to have a clear plan for how to handle unforeseen problems.
Remember when you launched back home? Getting your product to the US market will probably feel similar to when you were beginning to validate your idea in Latin America. You may struggle to gain traction or attention. This treatment can be especially frustrating after you’ve had some success in your home market. However, if you focus on the problem you solve, rather than the solution you are providing, you will quickly align with your US customer base.
Once you have researched and prepared a plan, you will need to get the word out. Remember, you should tailor your marketing efforts to your new audience in the US. You cannot just translate your Spanish copy to English. The US market is famously competitive and your customers will only be looking for content that serves them.
If you want to make noise about your product and gain traction in a new market, you will need an experienced marketing team who knows what it takes to bridge Latin America and the US. Contact us to find out how we can help you research, target, and delight a US audience as you launch your product in the North American market.