Updated: Sep 11
The SNS Marketing Model"Beauty Dermatology Skincare" Market Entry in Japan -
It is important that when you are direct-Selling in Japan - to be successful. It is a requirement that you are able to use SNS and Marketing to build a community. This is the secret that will foster trust in the new Market and allow you to start with a bang and not burn out quickly. The reality is stark - the big network marketing companies dominate the competitive landscape, with hundreds of Brands creating a lot of noise but gaining little substantive market share. Intuitively, this makes little sense:
Japan represents the third-largest skincare market as of 2018 and the 5th largest direct selling market. Japanese women are more skincare focused than women in other markets. This aligns with Rodan and Fields business philosophy
Japan boasts one of the highest MLM participation ratios and is highly profitable with very good margins. There is opportunities for those who want to become successful by using their own Personal Branding and marketing to build a following on SNS.
1. Market Entry Strategies
The thing Rodan + Fields did for a Japan market entry strategy, was that it chooses not to mimic success in other established markets in the USA, Canada, and Australia.
That's like trying to build an Ice Hotel in Central Australia: totally inappropriate, and likely to vanish into the background. Rodan + Fields - took time, actually 5 years to understand what the winning companies have done over many years to be successful, and then adapted the Market Entry plan to reflect what they have learned.
Rodan + Fields learned in the past 5 years that Japanese Woman + Men are willing to purchase the best skin care they can afford, they look for efficacious solutions and love to work with regimens. Rodan + Fields use Social Network Services to grow communities and sales.
"Beauty dermatology" brands are a new market segment in Japan, which combined with the growth of women joining the workforce, makes this a new market a top global opportunity.
Or ... understand, and then do something completely the opposite yet complementary.
2. Leading the way
Japan is one of the world's toughest regulatory environments and let's not even talk about the language and cultural hurdles. While Distributor leaders from successful markets are welcome assets in the build phase, the company needs to be out in front leading the way and controlling both trajectory and the velocity.
Creating the right ecosystem to develop a powerful and stable Brand from the onset. The Japan Skincare Programs were designed to meet the unique needs of the Japanese consumer. Some of the top differences for this Country are
5 steps, Wash, Lotion, Essence, SPF, Moisturizer
"Lotion", has additional hydrating ingredients
"Essence", unique function based on the client's skincare Program being used.
Additional hydration in every step has been formulated to meet the needs of the Japanese consumer
3. Choosing to work with right Distributors
Rodan + Fields has seen so many companies that spend way too much time and money trying to attract Distributor leaders away from other companies. This strategy is fundamentally flawed. Here are just some reasons why:
1. Most Distributors who shift companies very often only bring 1/2 of the volume and 1/3 of the Distributors they promise. The Brands ROI is under pressure from the start, trying to use dollars to chase yen.
2. In my approach to my reach outs, I have not considered a Distributor from another Company. It is not logical to try to gain someone's expertise in another business built around a different compensation plan with a different product set.
3. These Direct Selling Jumpers are rarely in it for the long-term. In Japanese, they're called MLM-Maniacs, and prospects can easily see that they're focused on the short-term.
4. The need for quick success often creates the potential for serious compliance issues. It is imperative to not over-talk financial rewards and over-talk products. Japanese regulators will shut you down - permanently - with a slight whiff of a problem.
I prefer to work with freelancers who already use Social Networking Service to build social relationships with other people who share similar personal or career interests, activities, backgrounds, or real-life connections.
4. The products designed specifically for the Market
The best Skincare Products are the key to success. To ensure growth we needed to offer the Japanese market something new and different, and they need to have a real story that Distributors can share with prospects and customers.
We have investigated that the Japanese consumers are incredible fans of detail, and the formulations have to stand up to price and efficacy competition from some of the world's sharpest FMCG companies.
5 years of market research to understand customer needs rather than trying to shoe-horn people into your product portfolio.
This is more than "wonder" ingredients either, by the way. The way I see the growth in Japan is to have 'sponsoring' products that generate brand loyalty and excitement, 'consumables' that create repeatable volume in legs, and 'basket fillers' that have some utility and get leaders over qualification hurdles.
Generally, aim for a 30:60:10 balance.
5. It's the Brand, dude
Realizing that you are up against some pretty well-articulated brands in Japan. You need to be interesting and recognizable, for sure. One of the distinguishing features of this Brand and one of the companies secrets is that the Products they have and market segments they are entering are emerging and growing markets.
With the Venture Capitalist TPG behind them, Rodan + Fields focus available funds into the Independent Consultants compensation plans, recognition, and virtual training programs.
Buzz is important, but passion is king. Which leads me to ...
The key to a successful Market Entry and Growth
Actually, it's relatively straightforward:
Key focus on the major urban centers - in order, Tokyo, Osaka, and Fukuoka. The company will naturally spread to other areas but between them, these 3 cities generally account for more than 70% of total Direct Selling volume in Japan. Anywhere else is "interesting" but not compelling. Utilizing SNS | Marketing to build a strong community who trust these Skincare Counselors and free Skincare counseling.
Remain focused on Coaching, the key approach is that all who join are potential leaders. Coaching relies on open communication in both directions. The most effective leaders guide their team in their work and then get out of the way. I put trust in my team to make smart decisions. My approach is: identify the right people, Coach them on how to be leaders, and engage and reward them in 'graduating' team members into these elite training opportunities.
Coaching individuals to aim for Recognition Programs. With clearly laid out entitlement frameworks so that there's no "creep" down the track. Enabling the team's consistent success is more profitable than rewarding one-time 'touches', and generates better team alignment and morale. Program Eligibility, Qualification periods, and how to earn.
In Coaching it is important to involve multiple generations of leadership (top leaders and emerging leaders) in strategy and goal setting. Relying just on my senior people is more about history than legacy, and not being closely connected with younger generations means you will miss trends and brand extension chances.
I am taking the time to understand that Japanese people place equal emphasis on both financial and social rewards, and that advocacy is much more powerful than satisfaction. It's not just about money in this market.
Audrey Anderson LinkedIn - Growth Strategy If you would like to learn more please email me on email@example.com