• Agents provide the most common form of low cost direct involvement in foreign markets. • They are independent individuals or firms who are contracted to act on behalf of exporters to obtain orders on a commission basis and do not take ownership of the goods. • They typically represent a number of manufacturers and will handle non-competitive ranges. • They agree to meet certain targets and are expected to contribute towards the preparation of forecast, development of strategies and tactics. • The selection of a suitable agent will take the following into account; the financial strength of the agent, their contracts with potential customers, the nature and extent of their responsibilities to other organisations and their premises, equipment and resources, and sales representatives.
• Distributors buy the product from the manufacturer and so take the market risk on unsold product. • They therefore expect to take a higher percentage commission than agents to cover their costs and risk. • They usually seek exclusive rights for a specific sales territory and generally represent the manufacturer in all aspects of sales and servicing in their area.
• Direct marketing is concerned with marketing and selling activities which do not depend for success on direct face-to-face contact and include mail order, telephone and television marketing, media marketing, direct mail and electronic commerce (www). • The critical factors are in the degree of standardisation of products and communications. • The challenge lies in the need to build and maintain up-to-date databases the use of multilingual data processing and personalisation software programs, developing reliable credit control and secure payment systems.
• Management contracts emphasise the growing importance of services, business skills and management expertise as saleable...