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International Companies, Don't Let Thailand be a Blind Spot in Your Business Strategy

Much of our team is American or has worked or studied in the USA. This super-sensitizes us to American companies that come our way. And it leads us to our observations and consensus that, for the most part, the USA often doesn't "get" Thailand. But we should, both for business and politics. We'll stay clear of politics, but if you're an international company entering the Thailand market, we have three pieces of advice: 1. Do your market research. 2. If you have a local partner, value them. 3. Have a sustainability strategy.

Regarding piece-of-advice #1: Here's a real world example. A well-established and respected global manufacturer launched its first-ever B2B campaign in Thailand. The problem? Due to import duties, its well-crafted industrial products cost 300% more than competing products from China. Moreover, it focused on selling into a market that presented insurmountable challenges (i.e., certain institutions with longstanding vendor commitments). There are opportunities here that some market research might have uncovered... before a campaign was launched.

This brings us to local partners. The company referenced did have a local resale partner which knew the market. But ties between them and the manufacturer were tenuous. Your local partner, or establishing a local partner, is the foundation on which you build your market entry success in Thailand. Beyond an understanding of the market, cultural and language issues are front and center here. Thailand business is relationship-driven. Your local partners are the keys to those relationships.

Finally, sustainability. We don't have one single manufacturing client in this part of the world for which a sustainability strategy isn't central to their operations, and for which sustainability messaging isn't a constant in their communications. It's a must-have if you want to be successful in Thailand.

Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

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