Weekly Column: 2017-09-15


Recently, in Korea, there have been increasing numbers of start-up related businesses.  Every time I visit, I often come across companies that have unique and interesting technology and products. Their goals are all the same: survive the tough competition in the Korean market and go internationally to make their products well-known and increase sales. Unfortunately, only a handful of companies find such success. There may be various reasons, but the biggest problem is they lack the information on the overseas markets they are trying to compete in. Even if you know your opponent and yourself, it is difficult to come out ahead without any basic knowledge and trying to get your product into big markets will be much more challenging. 

I have narrowed it down to two main reasons why they fail before they even enter the market. They are completely lacking in market research and marketing.


Most companies that we see emphasize that their products are superior to other products. Even in the same industry, we see that they say they were the first in the world to have such products. They have a lot of confidence and pride in their product, but in reality, the first things they need to know are how many people actually need the product and what price it is being sold at? Before making the product, there must be a thorough analysis and customer research to see how viable the product is and whether consumers have a desire for such a product. The starting point for this is to focus on the customer. Consumers know when a product is good, but if it is not a product they need, it is a pointless to produce it.

The absence of marketing also plays a role. Let’s say a company developed a product that has a high consumer demand after doing sufficient market research. Will this product be a hit right away once it’s released? To put it simply, you cannot sell products without marketing. In this fiercely competitive society, it will not do to be of the mindset that you may sell a product by chance. If the product does not sell, it means that it will soon become a flop, and because of that, marketing is not an option but a very obvious procedure to follow. However, many businesses forgo marketing to save costs, but this is akin to stopping the clock in order to save time.

Of course, since many companies focus on producing good products and distributing them, it is not easy for them to have expertise in pre-market research or marketing. However, wouldn’t knowing the importance of this in advance and preparing before entering a large market increase your chances of success while simultaneously lowering the probability of failure?

There is no one in the world that does not want to be successful. However, it would be better to work toward your goal with a desire not to fail rather than being obsessed only with success without any preparation and recklessly going forward with anticipation and confidence. Rather than trying to get into a bigger market with only simple motivation, it would be wiser to implement things after going through the stages of thorough preparation and obtaining the right information.


Every year, many Korean companies attempt to enter the overseas markets and become dismayed at the get-go, and even if they enter the market, they fail in localization due to the lack of marketing. If you know the cause, shouldn’t you be prepared for the next time so you don’t fail twice? The opposite of success is not failure, but to give up. If you use failure as a mirror and go forward with the proper preparation and tenacity, ultimately, your efforts will not betray you in your path to success.