Eleven SME exporters from Laos attended the Effective Export Marketing Workshop held last Oct. 12, 2017 at the Salana Boutique Hotel in the capital city of Vientiane. Conducted by the Hinrich Foundation through its Export Trade Assistance Program (ETA), the successful one-day workshop was organized in partnership with the World Wild Fund-Laos.

The objective of the workshop was to help SMEs improve their knowledge of and practical skills in promoting their products to the international market.

“There is a lot of potential in Laos-made rattan and bamboo handicrafts thanks to the workers’ fine craftsmanship and the abundance of natural raw materials. However, suppliers need training in terms of effective marketing,” Pik Chanthalangsy, ETA-Laos export consultant and project coordinator said.

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Hinrich Foundation Program Director Alex Boome lists down what suppliers think their strengths are.

4 exciting topics in 1 day

Hinrich Foundation’s Program director Alex Boome opened the workshop with the topic Your strengths & buyers’ needs analysis. The participants were engaged in active discussion, where they were asked to identify what their strengths are and how these map against what buyers need. The result – their Unique Selling Point (USP), which then needs to be clearly communicated in all their marketing channels. Alex also taught AIDA or Attention, Interest, Desire and Action, which is a tried and tested marketing concept on how to get a buyer’s desired action.

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Laos export consultant Pik Chanthalangsy makes a presentation on Global Sources Online marketing.

The next speaker was Pik, who gave an overview of the Global Sources Online (GSOL) supplier marketing websites, an B2B online platform where ETA-supported suppliers can upload company information information, post up to 20 product images and manage buyer inquiries for up to four months free of charge. Following Alex’s previous topic, she emphasized the importance of including strong USPs in their website content.

After this session, the participants watched a 10-minute instructional video of how to upload content on Private Supplier Catalog, the GSOL online tool used to upload content on supplier websites. I facilitated this session and prepared the video. ETA Program manager Carmela delos Santos helped answer questions from suppliers during a brief Q&A.

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Participants listen intently to the workshop speaker.

As closing topic, Alex talked about effective trade show participation in local or international. He presented a series of booth photos of good and bad practices when joining trade exhibitions.

The day ended with the awarding of certificates of attendance, which were led by Alex of the Hinrich Foundation and Ms. Bouavanh of WWF-Laos.

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Effective export marketing workshop organizers and participants pose for a group photo.

About the author – Phonevilay Keopaseuth

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Phonevilay, nicknamed Katink, is a Hinrich Global Trade Leader who completed his master’s degree in Development Communication at the University of Philippines in Los Baños. He is currently working as an export consultant for the Export Assistance Program in Laos. Before joining the Foundation, he worked for The Education for Development Fund (EDF Lao) as a fundraising and public relations officer.