Carving out a niche in export markets

Carving out a niche in export markets
Tim Harrison of Advance Marketing: “Knowledge of the customer and their culture is key”.

By focusing on niche markets international meat and food marketing company Advance Marketing has carved out a strong business, which has helped promote New Zealand product to the world, says company owner Tim Harrison.“By targeting markets that have special requirements we are not competing with the larger players in the traditional European or USA markets.
“We seek to have a point of difference by adding value to both our producers and our customers,” he says.Advance Marketing sells to customers who buy special items on a programme basis or require a special service in markets that include Korea, China, Taiwan, Mexico, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Tanzania, Kenya, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Latvia and the Phillippines.
Products include seafood, vegetables, cheese and milk powder, meat and bone meal, with New Zealand meat being a focus. Tim says that New Zealand is fortunate to be free of the diseases that other cattle and sheep producing nations have, giving New Zealand access to most world markets.
In addition the temperate climate, where the animals graze on pasture all year long allows Advance Marketing to offer New Zealand meat that has been reared naturally making for another important point of difference.
Tim says that Advance Marketing has always employed native speakers from many of the countries it deals with, which helps enhance communication building trust and long term relationships with clients.“Knowledge of the customer and their culture is key. Also the customers need to know and under-stand us. This cultural component is an important part of our success,” says Tim.
Wide ranging language skills have also helped the company to establish an international network of meat and food suppliers so that it can offer Australian beef, lamb, mutton and pork; South American beef, lamb, pork and poultry; Chinese and South East Asia seafood; Chinese canned and frozen vegetables; North American and European pork and seafood.
It has also allowed it to bypass importers and deal direct with manufacturers and wholesalers.Cultural understanding has also helped Advance Marketing to see opportunities for certain cuts of meat that might not be valued in other parts of the world.“For example lamb flaps used to sell for $1 per kilogram.
“Now they fetch around $11 because the Chinese market really values these, which has seen China emerge as the main market for mid to lower value cuts in beef and lamb.”While some markets that Advance Marketing deals with remain niche, some explode with Advance Marketing being an early seller into these markets. China is a good example.
Advance Marketing started selling into the Chinese market in the late 90s when access was challenging becoming a large player in terms of exporting meat. Now due to the huge growth of the market, it is a smaller fish in a big pond but still successfully supplies product after having broken the market early and earned trust, says Tim.
Tim has been working in the meat industry since the late 1960s in product development and marketing. He started Advance Marketing in 1982. Based in Auckland, Advance Marketing employs a team of nine staff and Tim says he continues to look for new opportunities to grow his successful business.
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