Our Insights

2020 CEO's Insights During The Pandemic

#1 Digital Transformation Failure – Prevention for 3 out of 4 Who Will Fail

Digital Transformation of most industries is now on the roll globally. Your company is probably in the middle of one now or is planning to launch one soon. Yet, according to the Everest Group, a U.S. analytics firm, 73% of enterprises failed to provide any business value from their digital transformation efforts.

You can invest into the Digital Transformation initiative and are likely to advance automation, usage of digital technologies, and change the business and production processes. However, it takes a different set of skills and expertise to realize true business value from this undertaking.

High-impact Digital Transformation requires stepping outside your comfort zone, challenging the status quo, such as inventing new products and customer experiences. Last time someone challenged the status quo at your company, he or she was probably fired to preserve the harmony of the environment.

It is said—and it’s more true for Digital Transformation—that consultants are hired for what regular employees can be hated and fired for. Transformation erases the boundaries of power kingdoms of your company, threatens domination of traditional power brokers and gives a bigger seat at the table to customer-facing teams and advocates.

Yes, for survival and for succeeding in the digital economy of the 21st century you must do it. How do you save your major investment into Digital Transformation from failure? How do you realize the dream of the next-generation customer-centric enterprises, effective internally and engaging externally?

  1. Commitment and investment. It is an expensive project—your financial bottom-line results will take a backseat for 12-24 months, so plan a swift roadmap and do not drag your feet.
  2. Different decision-making. You will need key decision-makers on this project at all times. Engage the staff to free them from their daily routine or hire temporary decision-makers.
  3. You are unique, don’t copy and paste someone else’s blueprint. Even though enterprises are made of similar parts, each business is at a different starting point and is too unique to simply copy someone else’s. Develop your own plan and follow own direction.
  4. Customer-centric concrete vision. Define and validate cases that will be possible thanks to the transformation of external and internal customers. Don’t start with the solution.
  5. Iterative Fail-Fast and Test-and-Try agile approach. The massive change you are executing is unique and has never been attempted before. You will make mistakes on the way there. Not making mistakes means you are not pushing your boundaries far enough.


#2 Korean HealthTech at CES. Maximizing ROI on Event.

Despite many large trade shows being canceled for the rest of the year due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, this gives your company the time to strategize how to make the most of next year’s trade shows, such as CES 2021. We will share the insider view from our experiences promoting Korean companies at CES to the U.S. market and globally for the past several years. It’s a hard job: in 2020, The Consumer Electronics Show welcomed about 175,000 attendees and over 4,400 exhibitors, with over 350 being from South Korea.

Start with the objective: why are you going to CES? Are you planning a launch, a new market entry, or hope for a boost in awareness? Looking for distributors, qualified leads, partners? Your decision to go and the strategy of how to maximize the ROI will differ based on your main goal.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Of CES

Let’s face it, not every trade show will be suitable for HealthTech. There is no guaranteed success at a conference. What insight will help you when considering CES for 2021?

The Good. It is always great to see LG and Samsung, two leaders in consumer electronics from Korea being recognized for their innovative, prominent, and successful products and for generating both traffic and media coverage. This year’s Korean HealthTech was prominently presented with a number of great products with about 40% of Korean brands coming from HealthTech. Several South Korean products received Innovation Award Honors, including Charmcare, Olive Health, DSGlobal, Rice Ear, and Motion Pillow. It is proof that Digital Transformation (applying technology in solving traditional problems) and customer-centricity (best experience for the customer) is taking over a traditional industry like healthcare.

The Bad. Korean exhibitors face common challenges of overcrowded spaces: it’s noisy and hard to navigate. Located in three different expo centers around the city, it is physically hard to conduct market research and competitive benchmarking and to make deep connections with the right people.

The Ugly. TV and online coverage show CES as a glamorous event. The truth is the chance to meet your goals—be it awareness, media coverage, lead generation, or distributor/partner contracts is very small without extensive pre-show preparation.

We see it again and again—Korean manufacturers with very innovative products stand in their expensive booths, watching massive waves of traffic walk by. There are smarter ways to maximize your ROI at CES!

Succeeding at CES is impossible without significant investment to make an impactful appearance in front of an overstimulated audience, massive push for awareness, and scheduling meetings with key influencers, buyers, and distributors prior to the show. Proper preparation is at least a six-month, multi-channel campaign that includes tactics like PR, AR, thought leadership, speaking ops, etc.

It’s likely everyone you need is there—you just need to help them find you ahead of the event.


#3 South Korea Can Play in Global Digital Transformation in Healthcare

Transformation of healthcare is a hot topic as this major industry is on the move to revolutionize its conservative processes, to invent new products, and to adapt and improve infrastructure innovations already implemented in other industries. Globally, massive investments are made into custom solutions to meet the unique needs of healthcare providers and customers.

In the healthcare industry transformation, we are observing multiple trends that are shaping what healthcare will be like in the future. The objective of this article is not so much to tell what is happening, although we are going to mention that to make sure we are on the same page.

Drivers and trends. Digital Transformation enables changes along the end-to-end healthcare value chain, including the design and manufacturing of products, procurement logistics, and consumption by end-users. It aims at fundamentally changing how healthcare is produced and consumed.

Healthcare on-demand is the primary driver and disrupting force of this traditional industry. Why is it happening now? The aging population around the world cannot use the same healthcare model previous generations did – there are not enough hospitals, clinics, doctors, and financial resources to meet the needs of more humans living longer with fewer children to support them.

From the consumer standpoint, it will be AI-based diagnostic and treatment database (Virtual Doctor) enabled by image and voice recognition (Smart Interface), integrated with doctor/pharmacy (Fulfillment) to proactively assist in sickness and health protection, embodied by a robot-companion with a high EQ.

Enablers of the New Healthcare Model

To implement this vision, innovators enable remote care and monitoring using wearables, mobile-based solutions deployed to predict future events that utilize big data analytics, and AI crunching massive amounts of data ever more effectively.

To satisfy the demand for new solutions, hundreds of startups and large companies invest in major and minor improvements to the value chain in their specialty areas, similar to honey bees working together for the success of their hive. At the micro-level, it can fall apart from chaotically pulling in different directions.

Nobody has designed or implemented the ultimate destination yet because it’s so complex and multi-layered – no one player knows everything. Market giants like CVSHealth, Walmart, GE Health, and Amazon, seek partners and reliable makers of elements and integrate them into branded end-to-end processes. Who will get there first? Will there be new entrants who can solve the end-to-end Digital Transformation?

Winning Game for Korean Makers

The annual U.S. spending in healthcare and long-term care combined amounts to almost $4 trillion, with an average outcome. The South Korean health system is #1 among developed countries and can share the experience of hectically searching for solutions to improve health outcomes with the U.S. We recommend that any successful Korean healthcare industry players should consider expansion into the U.S., with the help of an experienced local agency, due to market complexity and significant differences.

Also, South Korea is the leading nation by the number of robots used in manufacturing; our export primarily consists of high-tech and robotics (>60%). During the export slowdown phase, Korea should find new applications for its robotics before robotics know-how degrades. If businesses can’t sell robots, they won’t hire new workers, and if university grads cannot find jobs in robotics, this type of career will decrease in popularity and the hard-earned know-how of South Koreans will disintegrate.

Korean makers can find their place in the medical future by manufacturing hardware/robots powered by software from powerhouses like IBM Watson and Google AI, thereby forming a new type of global Digital Transformation force. Because in Digital Transformation, digital (hardware and software) comes first, so this collaboration can beat major players like CVSHealth and Walmart, who do not have the critical digital know-how – in fact, they are struggling with technical solutions while excelling in customer-facing apps and better store experience.


#4 What South Korean Innovators Should Know to Develop in Order to Bring Their Products to the U.S. Health Market

The U.S. healthcare sector is the largest, most expensive, and most complex in the world. The annual spending per capita is the highest in the world—between healthcare and long-term care combined, it amounts to almost $4 trillion.

Why is it so expensive? The U.S. healthcare sector is run by a private sector and is very profitable. It brings an average of 9.64% net profit (#8 in the U.S. economy), 45.6% GM (#4 in the U.S.), with the highest remarkable profit in the U.S. economy going to HealthTech: 21.6%.

Changes in U.S. Healthcare Sector

Healthcare in the U.S. is shifting towards quick, convenient, close-to-consumer provider types with low and transparent prices like retail clinics, workplace clinics, urgent care, and ambulatory surgical centers. All these new areas grow very fast at 6% to 26% annually. Some other areas are in decline, for example, rural and remote care centers are closing (about 100 closed since 2010, 700 are vulnerable to closure).

What is growing so fast and why? The expected answer is – follow the money.

The trends responsible for this shift are the same everywhere – a rapidly aging population that lives longer and needs more care, as they are sicker, resulting from bad prevention methods and lifestyle choices.

The catalyst to the market shift came through the U.S. regulations that changed service reimbursement rules from fee-per-service to the outcome-based model. If in the past, care providers were paid more for doing more procedures.  Now they are paid more for a healthier patient.

What are the key opportunities for Korean companies?

We observe a shift from large to small, home-based and mobile provider capabilities. Nursing homes can not accommodate all aging citizens. This stimulates the growth of retail clinics, self-care at home, and tools for traveling nurses to serve this population in need. The tools used by these types of providers need to be smaller, yet display high-quality in operation and user-friendliness. An increasingly lower level of workforce qualification requires easy-to-operate tools that prevent users from making errors, assist in decision-making, and use advanced analytics for more value addition.

There is major growth in wellness and fitness products and remote care (especially in rural areas), requiring novelty products and operations to monitor, coach, and keep people from getting sick.

South Korea has the #1 health system in the world and is home to many high-quality product makers. Korean companies are known for their outstanding hardware and robotics, while U.S. or EU companies make better software and interfaces. We recommend that Korean manufacturers collaborate with overseas partners on developing best-in-class digital solutions using their unique know-how.

When going to the U.S. market, make sure you bring a product developed based on the U.S. buyer’s tastes and expectations, with the best strategy to partner with local innovators like CVSHealth or Walmart to insert your product into a complete, more marketable solution.

If your offering increases doctor office productivity or improves patient experiences or outcomes, you are ready to explore the U.S. landscape for potential market entry, with the assistance of an experienced local agency familiar with the market for faster traction and loss mitigation.


#5 Iconic Healthcare Show is Cancelled Due to COVID-19. What Korea Can Do to Win in Global HealthTech Markets in 2021?

HIMSS2020 is typically the biggest HealthTech get-together in the U.S. With only seven Korean companies among 1,300 exhibitors registered in 2020, what are they missing?

HIMSS has been the largest healthcare technology trade show in the largest healthcare market (the U.S.) organized by the American Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society for half a century. The first conference in 1962 included 89 healthcare systems engineers – a new profession in the new era of computer systems. Since then, the trade show has grown in size to about 45,000 attendees and 1,300 vendors that pay $50,000 or more per booth. HIMSS is the second most valuable major trade show in the industry: for each exhibitor, there are 34 attendees. This is almost half of KIMES’ (Korea International Medical & Hospital Equipment Show) with 61 attendees per exhibitor. Still, it’s more than China Health, Medica, and Arab Health with 29, 25, and 21 attendees per exhibitor, respectively.

Since its founding in 1962, HIMSS has prided itself on advancing three key missions: education, exhibition, and networking. HIMSS invites major government officials, CEOs of innovative health tech companies, and prominent cultural figures to speak, staying true to its mission to educate and network. At HIMSS, industry leadership, invited speakers, and U.S. officials mingle while vendors come to be seen and to hear thought leaders and policy/government leaders set the tone and priorities for the following year. Leading care providers come to see what’s up and coming from the healthcare technology vendors. Any notable vendors in the industry always exhibit at HIMSS and have already booked next year’s booth before this year’s show.

HIMSS is the membership club of a tightly-knit industry, where everyone has known everyone else for years. This is thanks in part to the active HIMSS organization and to the active attendance of the annual trade show and other HIMSS events. HIMSS membership lets its members be on the inside and serves as the connector and catalyst of deals and long-term collaborations. It also makes the market hard to penetrate to outsiders.

What can Korean companies and healthcare leaders do to advance and take more of the U.S. market? 

First, start with a public awareness campaign— let everyone in the healthcare industry know that South Korea is the country with the best access to universal healthcare in the world that addressed the COVID-19 crisis in the most organized and effective manner without shutting down the economy, and present its many accomplishments. The awareness campaign should include events and experiences large and small to share with the American public and professionals. This pertinent and relevant experience would be valuable to learn in the countries that have failed to effectively address COVID-19 and inspire them to learn from Korea. Sign up for HIMSS Membership, attend events. Speak at HIMSS conferences—everyone should hear about Korea and its flagship manufacturers like Samsung Healthcare, but also about smaller innovators who have participated in eliminating the spread of COVID-19. This is the year that can be unique for Korea as it gives the opportunity to shine on the global stage. Find ways to collaborate with HIMSS and other leading organizations. Sponsor a country pavilion to get to the inside of the U.S. healthcare industry and wow them with Korean technology and innovation.

Second, transform KIMES to compete with HIMSS. Start sponsoring and offering more educational content, thought leadership exchanges, and networking opportunities, move the event online this year to fill in the void. KIMES could also implement gamification by incentivizing attendees to come year after year: HIMSS exhibitors never skip a year, as they lose significant points tied to loyalty. U.S. companies prioritize HIMSS attendance as a must-have for decades. As most CMOs put it: “We just have to be there.”

Take KIMES online. Go visit HIMSS next year. Speak about your COVID-19 success. Show how your products compare. Join the club. Elevate Korea’s status as a healthcare tech leader. Compete with legacy players. Win. 

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#6 What Will It Take for Korean HealthTech to Break into Global Leadership? – KIMES to Become Catalyst of Korean Expansion Globally in 2021, After Canceling This Year’s Event Due to Coronavirus

The international medical industry is booming because as the population gets older, it requires more healthcare, not to mention the investments made in relation to COVID-19. More money is being spent on healthcare by all nations, now more than ever before, with the U.S. leading at over $10,200 spent per person (pre-COVID-19). It’s no surprise that HealthTech is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world: in the U.S., for example, healthcare and HealthTech are not only the fastest-growing but also the most lucrative industries, with the profit margins ranked at #4 and #1, respectively, in the U.S. market (2019).

The American Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) project that by 2028, such costs will climb to $6.2 trillion, or about $18,000 per person, and will represent about 20 percent of GDP.

Who will fulfill all this spending?

Korea is the best positioned to benefit from this trend and growth—it has the best medicine among developed countries, the best high-tech workforce, automated manufacturing, and the best innovations in wellness and HealthTech, as we have seen at CES2020.

How can Korean innovators lead the HealthTech revolution and benefit from this rare global/ U.S. profit opportunity

One, but not the only, growth vehicle is exhibiting at trade shows. Where can HealthTech manufacturers exhibit to increase awareness about their products and acquire new leads? There are three mega healthcare shows—Medica in Germany, China Health in China, and Arab Health in Dubai—that lead the industry. And there is KIMES (Korea International Medical & Hospital Equipment Show) in Korea, as well as FIME (Florida International Medical Expo) and HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) in the U.S.

Among all these trade shows, KIMES is the most valuable medical trade show, if you count the number of visitors per exhibitor: 61 compared to 25 at Medica, 29 at China Health and 21 at Arab Health. Yes, for exhibitors, being at KIMES is over two times more valuable than attending any other medical trade show. In part, this is thanks to the nominal $8 entry fee. Now, KIMES is not the largest show: it attracts 73,000 visitors and 1,200 exhibitors compared to 123,000 and 5,000 at Medica, respectively, but we believe that it has the potential to grow bigger and become the center of Asian and global HealthTech innovation

KIMES foreign visitors rave about how innovative Korean manufacturers are and how the products are great. Yet there is this known barrier for mid-sized and small Korean manufacturers penetrating global markets. We see it again and again—innovative Korean products surpass competitive offerings but make little progress in global sales. What is missing? Frequently, Korean manufacturers are local market-oriented and lack global understanding and global GTM know-how. Sometimes, it’s as simple as not being advanced in English that prevents a great innovator from winning in the U.S. and global markets.

There is more to be done by the KIMES trade show to ensure more wins for Korean exhibitors next year. Having seen all the global trade shows, we are confident that there is a big potential for KIMES to increase exhibitor success via special programs in 2021. 

One high-potential program could be fostering a greater alignment of the Korean manufacturers with the U.S. market trends and needs, as the largest market in the world, by starting early in the innovation cycle. The fastest growing and the most profitable, the U.S. market is worth being creative for. Clever self-promotion and more successful exhibitors can boost KIMES into joining the ranks of mega shows and Korea into the global center of HealthTech innovation. 

KIMES can become one of the driving forces behind Korean HealthTech, meeting the needs of and leading on the booming global and U.S. markets. There are more levers that need to be activated, KIMES is one of the easiest to push.


#7 Key Players in Global HealthTech. Race to Solutions in Healthcare: Join or Compete?

Healthcare and HealthTech are becoming more sophisticated every year. The world is grappling with a quickly aging population, climbing comfort expectations, and increasing life expectancies in most countries. Governments have long been custodians of national health systems in the most developed countries (except for the U.S. and South Africa), and even their resources are being stretched thin now, while industry paradigms are shifting from the old to the new. 

Investments are being made at unprecedented levels in automation, digitization, connections, new medical devices, and treatments. These investments are aimed at sustaining public health at reasonable costs while bringing results and convenience of healthcare and wellness, which will enable longer, happier lives. 

We can see it in the numbers: the global healthcare market reached a value of nearly $8,452 billion in 2018, having grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.3% since 2014. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.9% to nearly $11,908.9 billion by 2022, far exceeding any economic growth of any country.

Major healthcare players of the world are trying to figure out how to create a value-chain of healthcare and health treatments/fulfillment by combining digital and other 21st century technologies: AI, VR, remote robotics, home care, etc. However, even the largest companies, like CVSHealth, have a hard time developing end-to-end solutions that work. 

We asked the innovation and technology leadership at CVSHealth, the #1 global corporation in healthcare and pharmacy when CVS planned to implement a seamless, mobile-based, remote, and effective end-to-end value chain for healthcare diagnostics and treatment. The answer was: “We have it on our 5-year best-case scenario roadmap for very simple routine use cases, but we are not very optimistic, because it is very complex to make it happen and make it work well. We don’t have all the resources we want, we don’t have every technology needed to implement it, and when we eventually get it through the development phase thanks to partners, acquisitions or else – it will still be very hard to make it work end-to-end. We are constantly looking for technology partners.”

If the largest health company in the world is not so optimistic—should Koreans join or compete?

In our first article, we suggested that Korean innovators should join efforts with the world’s giants, like IBM or Microsoft, to come up with solutions where each party would bring its strength: Korea – robotics and electronics, other parties – software and AI. 

Another possible path for us would be joining the vision of CVS or similar specialized healthcare players and fill in their blanks with our innovation as a partner to benefit from the results. 

Or, we can try to compete. Korean culture is strong, thanks to being very organized and collaborative. Can we pull together our innovative resources, make an investment, and with the addition of some missing handpicked foreign technologies, create an end-to-end digital health solution, blending digital and real-life experiences for our citizens? Can we export it around the world and gain influence, export revenues, and leadership status in innovation beyond robots? 

Partnership or competition, this effort would make a critical contribution to South Korea: we have the fastest aging population, among developed countries, that will badly need some scalable, technology-driven solutions to provide the elderly generations with the healthcare and the long-term care they need, in lieu of the vanishing hyodo (filial piety).

Can Korea become the leader of global healthcare? We believe we can. However, as we are standing still, the world is moving. We should decide on a path to take, or walk multiple paths to ensure one of them will bring us to global leadership and solve our own problems.


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#8 Three Directions for CEOs to Proactively Prepare Their Company for Post-COVID-19

There are a few things that cause business owners more anxiety than uncertainty, which COVID-19 has brought in spades. Mandatory shutdowns, supply chain interruptions, and social distancing are impacting every industry differently. 

What can businesses do to proactively respond to the market changes and to best adjust to the new needs? Despite the radical changes that are happening almost daily, now is the time for three important investments that most leaders have put aside due to urgent matters.

Companies can start strategizing for the future by training employees, producing digital assets, and seeking new opportunities. Don’t fight harder against changing market forces; think long-term. While companies must accept the short-term challenges and find quick solutions, they must also prepare for post-COVID-19 to make up for the losses as soon as the markets recover.  

Training teams for the future

February 2020 CMO Survey results suggest that companies only spend 4.7% of their marketing budgets on training. Now is the time to invest in training. The market will not be the same post-COVID-19, and it will require critical skills that are now lacking.

For example, a medical device company located in the U.S. (with HQ in Asia) that relied on trade shows for awareness and leads was left without the opportunity to fill in the pipeline because all trade shows got canceled. They also discovered that the medical sales cycle was longer than in the commercial sector, where the company was initially very successful. 

What they needed to do was implement inbound marketing that would allow medical researcher prospects to easily find information about their innovative solution and consider their product for research. It turned out that nobody in the company was familiar with inbound marketing and the organization needed a holistic training of marketing and sales in what inbound marketing was and how to properly implement it. 

Changing their traditional outbound approach would mean building a new type of content, finding publishers to place it, improving their email practices, and switching from product-pushing sales messages to education-based messaging.   

Build stronger sales engine combined with GTM strategies for global expansion 

The innovative medical device company mentioned above relied on trade shows for lead generation—trade shows were the second-highest converting channel after inbound inquiries. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, trade shows were canceled everywhere and this channel wasn’t generating any revenue. The business switched to more email usage, without having a reliable process, email marketing know-how, and suitable professional tools, when their target list had 40% of email addresses missing. 

They were receiving a small amount of response but didn’t have the right kind of expertise to build a reliable source of revenue to replace lost trade show-based streams of leads.

Seek out new opportunities

While training employees and cementing powerful sales engines, companies must innovate their go-to-market approaches and come up with the offerings for the industries and niches that are expanding quickly (telemedicine and at-home fitness, cleaning and hygiene products, for example) and also use this unique chance to launch into other markets. The opportunities can include selling goods or servicing expanding sectors. 

With a strong sales engine and well-trained employees, your company will be fully ready to launch by adapting its marketing accordingly to meet new needs and opportunities during a soon-to-come period of growth to capture opportunities in the post-COVID-19 economy.


#9 Key Trends in U.S. Healthcare to Know Before You Enter the Market

In a world shaken by COVID-19, predictions can be somewhat unreliable; however, we will still put them into the perspective for those evaluating future investments to help them make the right decisions.

  1. Sanitation, Virus-Fighting and Sickness Prevention. The U.S. is battling COVID-19 and it will be a long battle until a vaccine is invented. The U.S. health system is very ineffective at flattening the curve and the U.S. is likely to be opening and closing the economy back and forth, longer than most other countries due to differences in state-driven pandemic management regulations and a paralyzed federal government. As the federal government abdicated its responsibility for fighting the virus, citizens must, largely on their own, survive the pandemic. Everyone, especially the affluent minority, will not be shy about spending on virus-killing products, products that strengthen the immune system and protect from COVID-19 and similar viruses in the future.
  2. Home-Based. mHealth (mobile health) and remote care are designed to keep patients at home and reduce overall costs while improving user experience and convenience. Healthcare is moving from the hospital room to the living room at a high speed. Manufacturers that historically make devices for hospitals, gyms, and other institutions have come up with scaled-down (and less expensive) versions of their products for home usage, which is further accelerating home-based care and reduces medical facility utilization to be only for emergencies and hospital procedures, especially under COVID-19. This will lead to more closing of hospitals and clinics and the virtualization of non-urgent and non-invasive care.
  3. Patient-Driven. U.S. consumers are paying more and more out of pocket for their healthcare—they, naturally, want to minimize that spending and get better results for what they spend. Technology and abundant information give patients the ability to be an active participant in their wellness and treatment. More importantly, technology allows patients to monitor and prevent conditions that are especially costly and complex (strokes, diabetic comas, heart attacks, and other undesirable outcomes) in the form of intelligent devices, wearables, AI, etc.
  4. Integrated & HealthTech Enabled. Connected smart devices and analytics, advanced security, robust networks, telehealth, industry-specific middleware, and a litany of high-tech products and services can enable end-to-end virtual healthcare. Currently, it is hard to execute it all: only a couple of industry giants have been successful in putting together just pieces of it. Why not the whole healthcare system? It’s just so complicated and infeasible, that even forces, like CVS and Walmart, struggle to execute it well.
  5. Costly. At this time, the average out-of-pocket cost for an American is $3,200 per person per year. The concentration of longer-living elderly in LTC (long-term care) facilities or at home, puts pressure on families to pay more for longer.

The significant price tag of innovative point solutions, if added up, makes it very costly for an individual to monitor, prevent, and avoid/minimize health damage. In countries with a single-payer model, all citizens can benefit from the advancements. In the U.S., this only applies to affluent citizens and their family members. Nonetheless, the wealthiest top 10% owns 77% of buying power which, at this point, generously rewards healthtech innovators: healthtech is the most profitable industry in the U.S. with an average of 21.6% profit margin.

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#10 Entrepreneurs Go Global with Help from the For Creators By Creators (FCBC) Movement

It’s difficult to start a conversation on any important topic without reflecting on how it relates to or is affected by the ongoing global COVID-19 crisis. In the case of entrepreneurship, there is an optimistic sentiment.  We have not yet seen the worst interruptions of global supply chains and business relations, but they are coming. What’s going to happen to the world economy currently dominated by major corporations? 

And this is where entrepreneurship has the upper hand – in agility and fast reactions to changing supply-demand and market situations. There is a significant opportunity on the market to establish new players, especially local ones who don’t require extensive global supply chain support and massive operations.

Can small local brands from Asia become more global during this time of crisis? The only thing they need is a platform to do it on and a process that’s going to make them successful.

Entrepreneurship as Economy Engine

Entrepreneurship has always been the key to economic growth. Several international reports and studies have shown the correlation between economic growth and development/innovation. 

Innovative entrepreneurs quickly find open fields of opportunity and new markets, exploring them and creating value by attracting capital to what are potentially the most profitable new segments of the economy.

Korea and Singapore are at the forefront of global product innovation (number 2 and 3 respectively, as ranked by the Global Innovation Index, 2020). This leadership does not guarantee market domination because in order to be commercially successful, the innovation needs to be coupled with a strategic go-to-market plan, aimed at finding the right market, creating and marketing a product that is appealing to buyers, and building a brand.

How can they build on product innovation and translate it into going global, supported by brand building, all with limited resources?  The answer is: with crowdfunding and the For Creators By Creators (FCBC) community.

Crowdfunding: A Stepping Stone to Success

Crowdfunding is the easiest way to build an enterprise with small starting capital and in times of crisis. Established crowdfunding platforms offer good exposure, a reliable way to collect payments, and a tried-and-true venue to reach potential customers before you have invested into actually producing the product. Crowdfunding reduces the risk of failure for good ideas and weeds out bad ideas that are not commercially viable: anywhere between 70-90% of solicited products fail to reach their fundraising campaign goals. 

Brands we all know and love like Peak Design (camera bags), Oculus (VR gaming goggles), PopSockets (phone grips/fidget) and FidgetCube (a toy that helps enhance focus) all had their humble beginnings in crowdfunding, exploding with millions of dollars collected on Kickstarter and Indiegogo and an abundant customer network. 

Crowdfunding can even lead to profitable collaborations and acquisitions after successful crowdfunding campaigns: Pebble Time, a smartwatch company, was sold to Fitbit in 2017 for $23M, and Ouya, a video-game system, was sold to Razer in 2015.

Crowdfunding is not just a path to success for small companies. Large enterprises also use it to strategically introduce new products and to enter new markets, especially as foreign entities on their target market. For example, Rodmi Tech, a subsidiary of Beijing Xiaomi Technology, Inc, is a company with an almost $40 billion market cap. It consistently uses crowdfunding to successfully launch its new consumer electronics products. 

In search of the “next big thing,” large crowdfunding platforms have come to Asia where the culture of crowdfunding is just developing and has high growth potential. Backing crowdfunding campaigns has yet to go mainstream in Korea and neighboring countries in Asia but in the past seven years, local, country-specific crowdfunding platforms have been flourishing.

However, platforms are just that: the place to fundraise and trade. Finding backers, buyers, and building a brand doesn’t come with it. Any new crowdfunding creator will tell you that creating a campaign promotion page and video, building interest, finding backers and so on—all need to be done now by professionals—and it’s an expensive and overwhelming task. What can a small entrepreneur do to enter and win the crowdfunding game?

Crowd is Good. Community is Better

Matt Higgins, co-founder and CEO of RSE Ventures, a Guest Shark on SharkTank, FCBC speaker, and pitch competition panel judge explains, “Crowdfunding can be important in obtaining approval from your customers before you are ready to launch your next product.” 

However, crowdfunding is only the first step of the process and even with a great idea for an amazing product comes the daunting task of promoting the brand, attracting backers, and the pains of designing, producing, packaging, shipping, and delivering the product. For new entrepreneurs, running a business like this and being successful in all aspects can be very challenging, if not impossible. 

For small entrepreneurs to avoid the 90% chance of failure, they must learn complex and comprehensive skills of running an enterprise. At first, it usually comes from outsourcing partners; when the company can prove its viability, it hires internally for all necessary functions. Survival long-term will largely depend on smart strategic planning before and after the campaign, as well as the flawless execution of the strategy.

Later on, becoming successful, especially on a global scale, will take an enormous amount of know-how and a community of a variety of experts. A team of skilled managers, trusted suppliers, and partners is needed. Where can entrepreneurs find them all quickly? And how can they afford all these experts when they are just a startup? Where can they learn everything they need in order to succeed in crowdfunding?  That’s exactly the problem For Creators By Creators (FCBC) was created to solve.

For Creators By Creators (FCBC) Movement and Collaboration Community

“FCBC is a crowdfunding-centered movement and community that connects people, helping entrepreneurs, and sharing the knowledge, experience, and resources to make them successful. At FCBC, creators can learn from the most successful crowdfunded brands, well-known experts, and FCBC founders how to create a successful business with a long-term horizon, prepare and run a successful crowdfunding campaign, and use it as a stepping stone towards achieving a bigger goal—global brand growth. The FCBC slogan, “Exhibit, Sell, Grow – Crowdfunding Going Global Made Possible” means that we provide the most needed resources and opportunities to  crowdfunded businesses.”  

FCBC Co-Founders, Jay Kang, CEO of We The People, and Suzy Im, SVP of TribalVision Worldwide & Founder of Business Development & Marketing Transformation (BDMT) Global.

FCBC was founded in 2018 to be a global movement and collaboration community of crowdfunded entrepreneurs and resources that support them. FCBC was created by two groups of entrepreneurs dedicated to and passionate about helping international startups grow and enter new markets: We The People (WTP) and Business Development & Marketing Transformation (BMDT) Global. 

WTP is the world’s only multichannel crowdfunding retail chain and Global Crowdfunding Product Accelerator from Singapore with retail stores in multiple Asian countries and the U.S. The team of co-founders includes former crowdfunding entrepreneurs Ryan Sim and Joel Liew creators of Kisetsu, a company that makes slim, leather, RFID-protected wallets, and Nison Chan, the creator of Talking Toes Socks, which designs and sells bright, inspirational socks. Sim, Liew, and Chan see their mission as beyond growing sales, though this is an important part of WTP and what Jay Kang, a successful businessman from Korea and co-founder, oversees. Kang, the CEO of WTP, sums it up, “Creators are in need of business support along with a way to link up around the world. We are excited to provide exclusive comprehensive opportunities and support for creators to connect globally.”

BDMT Global, an FCBC co-founder, is an international division of TribalVision Worldwide (an Inc.5000 Fast Growing Company headquartered in Boston, MA) that combines the best of digital growth skills from TribalVision as the parent company and their own unique expertise in global expansion to help international (especially Asian) entrepreneurs break into U.S. markets. BDMT Global leads entrepreneurs in planning and succeeding beyond one campaign and one product. BDMT Global is widely recognized for helping growing companies with the comprehensive development & implementation of go-to-market strategies, global marketing outreach, digital transformation, and new market/new product launches. BDMT Global is the FCBC Community’s brand and growth strategist assisting FCBC brands with global expansion.

Source: Fortune Korea, April 2020 

#11 2020 Predictions for the HealthTech and Wellness Industry Driven by the U.S. Market

In a world shaken by COVID-19, predictions can be somewhat unreliable; however, we will still put them into the perspective for those evaluating future investments to help them make the right decisions.

Sanitation, Virus-Fighting and Sickness Prevention. The U.S. is battling COVID-19 and it will be a long battle until a vaccine is invented. The U.S. health system is very ineffective at flattening the curve and the U.S. is likely to be opening and closing the economy back and forth, longer than most other countries due to differences in state-driven pandemic management regulations and a paralyzed federal government. As the federal government abdicated its responsibility for fighting the virus, citizens must, largely on their own, survive the pandemic. Everyone, especially the affluent minority, will not be shy about spending on virus-killing products, products that strengthen the immune system and protect from COVID-19 and similar viruses in the future.

Home-Based. mHealth (mobile health) and remote care are designed to keep patients at home and reduce overall costs while improving user experience and convenience. Healthcare is moving from the hospital room to the living room at a high speed. Manufacturers that historically make devices for hospitals, gyms, and other institutions have come up with scaled-down (and less expensive) versions of their products for home usage, which is further accelerating home-based care and reduces medical facility utilization to be only for emergencies and hospital procedures, especially under COVID-19. This will lead to more closing of hospitals and clinics and the virtualization of non-urgent and non-invasive care. 

Patient-Driven. U.S. consumers are paying more and more out of pocket for their healthcare—they, naturally, want to minimize that spending and get better results for what they spend. Technology and abundant information give patients the ability to be an active participant in their wellness and treatment. More importantly, technology allows patients to monitor and prevent conditions that are especially costly and complex (strokes, diabetic comas, heart attacks, and other undesirable outcomes) in the form of intelligent devices, wearables, AI, etc. 

Integrated & HealthTech Enabled. Connected smart devices and analytics, advanced security, robust networks, telehealth, industry-specific middleware, and a litany of high-tech products and services can enable end-to-end virtual healthcare. Currently, it is hard to execute it all: only a couple of industry giants have been successful in putting together just pieces of it. Why not the whole healthcare system? It’s just so complicated and infeasible, that even forces, like CVS and Walmart, struggle to execute it well.

Costly. The significant price tag of innovative point solutions, if added up, makes it very costly for an individual to monitor, prevent, and avoid/minimize health damage. In countries with a single-payer model, all citizens can benefit from the advancements. In the U.S., this only applies to affluent citizens and their family members. Nonetheless, the wealthiest top 10% owns 77% of buying power which, at this point, generously rewards healthtech innovators: healthtech is the most profitable industry in the U.S. with an average of 21.6% profit margin.

Where can Korean manufacturers focus and where can they win?

For healthtech and more simple products during the COVID-19 crisis, any company that manages to effectively market and deliver virus sanitation and immune system-boosting solutions to the U.S. is guaranteed a boost of top and bottom lines. U.S. consumers and U.S. companies will be purchasing these solutions for a while, even after the crisis is over.



#12 Why Korean HealthTech Innovators Fail in the U.S. Markets

U.S. healthcare is taking a hit now, however, with potentially different executive governments in post-COVID-19 America, there will be an increased focus on improving public health (including taking control of underlying conditions that lead to more deaths). The Korean health system and leading manufacturers can teach the rest of the world how we won against COVID-19 with the flattest curve in the world without the economic shutdown. When springing to the different market, however, especially the U.S. market, Korean manufacturers must not forget that it was and is a difficult market to penetrate. What are the key mistakes historically made by Korean manufacturers and how they can be avoided when entering the U.S. market now?

I’ve been talking a lot about the U.S. healthcare market as the most attractive market for the Korean companies to enter due to its huge potential and size (30% of global spend), with HealthTech being the #1 most profitable industry with a 22% profit margin. 

I have met with many Korean companies that have started this expansion and have been challenged by the process. Some abandoned their plans completely while some settled for a tiny market share and revenue that came through a distributor, while their products were comparable, if not better, than the market leaders. A question that I hear a lot at trade shows is, “Why are Korean manufacturers less successful than they can be?” I’d like to share some of the most obvious reasons that come to mind. For more details, and if you experience a different issue, do not hesitate to reach out for a closer, more personalized analysis and examination.

  1. Not Understanding Market Complexity. The U.S. market has a unique structure of providers, payers, healthcare systems, community hospitals, and a giant VA (veterans affairs) system with over 1200 medical facilities. Each segment has different buying mechanisms: there are ~6000 hospitals, of which 60% belong to ~630 health systems, with 50% of them affecting top-down purchasing strategies and decisions. There are tens of thousands of outpatient entities & retail clinics managed by health systems, corporations, or independently. We can continue, but this gives you a glimpse of the complexity of the market. Without understanding and knowing the market rules well, it’s easy to fail.
  2. Product Not Adapted to the U.S. Needs. American consumers and doctors have different habits, cultural norms, and care standards/ restrictions. Not producing a product that’s natively American (i.e. designed and developed in the U.S. by the US innovators) puts your product at risk of being a mismatch. Failures can be as simple as a lack of proper translations or documentation, or as great as not meeting the needs of all parties involved in purchasing (there are usually multiple types of stakeholders: see #1 above). Your product must be U.S. market-ready (e.g. integrate with leading EHR systems, be portable, compact, smart, etc.) 
  3. No Brand Recognition. If you are a foreign entity, invest in making yourself familiar and validated by US buyers, influencers, publications, distributors, etc. If nobody has heard of you – you don’t exist. You need to implement omni-channel targeted and laser-focused awareness campaigns with the right targets, attend the most relevant events and play by the internal market rules before they will purchase from you.
  4. Do Not Clearly Beat Current Solutions. Your product needs to have a record of sizable improvements: e.g. gets better, faster results or patient outcomes at a lower cost. Help to improve the provider through accuracy and facilitate intuitive, simple usage, etc. 

If you come to the U.S. market alone, it will take you some time to figure out the dos and don’ts of success. Partnership with a knowledgeable advisor that knows both markets – Korean and American – will save you from frustrating losses.


#13 Finding Investors in the U.S. Healthtech Market. How to Make Your Company Attractive.

Healthtech is exploding with M&As: major players like Walmart, CVS Health, Walgreens and other smaller entities are buying innovative technologies/startups to grow their own solutions with additional capabilities. There is a proliferation of healthtech and other healthcare-related startups (5,000+ of known entities around the world and counting) financed by venture capitals and other investment vehicles. It is no surprise that the U.S. and China lead the way.

Investments in digital health reached a record of $8.5 billion in funding in 2019. Some market analysts believe that the market is living in a bubble and decreasing M&A activity.

Accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis, the investments are down across early stage, VC, and corporate investments, so you need to work harder to get it. We agree that with the proliferation of startups around the world, the market, which was empty and easy to penetrate 3-5 years ago, is facing stiff competition now. However, if your business idea or venture is in the field related to COVID-19 or supports the new reality of working from home and/or social isolation, this is your time.

How do you attract investors or partners? BDMT Global clients frequently approach us with the challenge of finding them a buyout investor and making them more attractive to investors.

What we advise and build for entrepreneurs is a 6-12 month plan of making themselves more attractive to buyers. The plan usually consists of, among others, the following investments:

  1. Conducting a meaningful PR campaign and engaging media, publishers, podcast hosts, etc. 
  2. Elevating your brand with thought leadership, local influencer endorsements, speaking ops, etc.
  3. Conducting local product market testing and adjustments.
  4. Aligning your company and your product with some existing technologies, ensuring compatibility, and therefore, interoperability.

It is challenging to find the right investor/buyer, but it is even more challenging to sell a company that has no market traction, presence, or customers while getting a decent price for it. As an entrepreneur, you have to show growth, traction, potential, and a vision of success to investors or buyers.

As you proceed, keep an open mind: focus on drumming up your core capabilities. Current use cases of your innovation may or may not be what buyers have in mind – keep your options open. In fact, most healthcare acquisitions take place in the core technology space, where buyers are seeking to add new technical capabilities and functionality to their existing products and solutions, rather than purchasing a fully-baked, complete product and slapping their logo on it. 

#14 Creating a Strong Sales Engine During COVID-19

5 Stages for CEO Adaptation for Sales Pipeline Survival

During the current crisis, your organization’s quick ability to adapt to the new reality will determine if it survives, strives, or closes its doors. Don’t make the mistake of losing time and hoping that your dried-up pipeline will somehow come back if you just do more of what made you successful before the crisis.

If finding sales now seems to be the hardest task, this transformation checklist will help bring the change. It takes 4-6 months, however, at the other end of it, your business will be ready to withstand any crisis and its pipeline will return.

In times of significant changes, businesses make major adjustments to adapt  and it’s a must for yours too. Here are the 5 most critical stages of adaptation you need to implement to find and keep revenue coming:

  1.     Get Marketing and Business Development costs under control. Reduce reliance on the most expensive lead gen sources such as trade shows and salespeople to decrease cost of lead generation and client acquisition. Virtual live sale events & online sales meetings managed as a multi-channel campaign in COVID-19 economy become viable replacements of trade shows. Multi-channel marketing campaigns with appropriate automation replaces multiple outbound sales reps at a fraction of the cost.
  2.     Personalize outreach to become relevant. Segment your market and content by persona. Start with your top 2-3 personas and invest into detailed prospect intelligence while building a comprehensive list of target accounts and contacts.
  3.     Create engaging content for each persona. Content is critical for selling because it educates prospects about how their needs can be met with your solutions. Customize customer success stories, video testimonials, flyers, sell sheets, white papers, landing pages to demonstrate specific value to each persona.
  4.     Automate pipeline and build Sales and Marketing Engine. Put an appropriate level of automation in place (a tech stack to track the prospects, serve the content, perform follow-ups and retargeting). Architect an appropriate tech stack or invest in an integrated marketing platform to support your business goals and marketing & sales activities.
  5.     Deploy & continuously optimize multi-channel campaigns. A single channel will not help you reach all key contacts, just as mass mailing alone will not bring in qualified prospects. Some prospects will be reachable on email, some on LinkedIn, others only by the phone. There is no one size fits all. When you start the campaign across all these and other channels, watch every touch, analyze, optimize, seek to improve engagement and outcome. Optimize on each channel to ensure maximum reach and conversion.

We can tell you from the experience that if you develop a consistent analytics-driven process that starts with deep understanding of your market and buyer personas, build a detailed and expansive list, and automate/ optimize multi-channel outreach – you will get leads and sales.


#15 Four Key Strategies for Launching in the North American Market Amid a Crisis

How a K-Cosmeceutical Company Maximized Its Brand Value  

In the midst of a global crisis, the US arm of a Korean cosmeceutical company officially launched in the US market. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many companies to pause plans, but we adapted the SMB’s US market entry strategy to proceed with a new product launch. Despite intense competition and economic crisis, this SMB is a leader of the beauty industry in Korea, and was able to successfully enter the US market through maximizing its brand value.

The influencers and industry leaders supported the company’s mission “to change the way the world feels about skin care” and gave positive reviews of the product. What makes the product different is its strong research and development, effective ingredients, and technology. A successful brand launch would not have been possible if the company was only focusing on sales instead of growing into a high-end brand. 

Although it is not the biggest player in its home country, the company, which has won several awards for its high-functional product line, is a well-known cosmetics company overseas. Its entry into the US market was not easy. In particular, there is intensifying competition due to big brands in the K-beauty industry aggressively diversifying and coming from Korea many pharmaceutical companies are expanding their new cosmetics businesses. Plus the economic crisis due to COVID-19 causes a significant burden for small and medium-sized companies to enter the North American market.

Here are four key factors to how this cosmeceutical SMB was able to successfully launch in the US market amid the economic crisis. 

 First, strategic insight is the key to seeing opportunities in crisis.

In the face of growing public opinion that injection-type skin care methods, which can be artificial and dangerous, cause many side effects, natural skin care is a subject of interest to everyone. In particular, the excellence of the company’s core products, which can provide professional-type results at home despite being in a situation where they cannot rely on dermatology or external professional skin care services during the COVID-19 crisis, has been essential. 

In this process, a branding strategy that can accurately identify local needs and highlight aspects of solving problems, and the execution ability based on excellent communication skills are very important. During the pre-testing period, the company received a very positive evaluation of the core performance of its products from industry experts, so it was able to launch aggressive marketing of home care products.  

Second, follow an airplane-like market launching approach, but focus on targeting local minds.

The most unfortunate thing about global marketing is its haste. The hasty pursuit of sales will make it impossible to strategically drive the market and end up as a temporary initial sale (which may be one of the biggest causes of failure in launching the US market). If you approach your market launch by placing the priority on forming a connection with local buyers, sales will follow. An airplane-like market approach is slow, but gradually has a powerful exit—like a plane as it takes off from the runway before it flies in the sky—this strategy should allow enough time for the market to gain momentum, thus creating a need for products and creating a connection.

Third, don’t do a “sales approach,” do “positioning with professional leadership and knowledge ” to create genuine long term value

Even when using social media, the sales approach is difficult. Even before its launch, the company had already chosen to build trust and communicate through active communication with buyers, which was implemented in the North American market branding strategy. For entering the US market, a balance of logic and emotional approaches are required to prove the nature of the product.

Without the solid support of industries, a successful expansion of the company’s market amid the COVID-19 crisis might not have been possible. It is important to take full advantage of the leadership approach that can be recognized for its expertise before sales. In the North American market, brand leadership is the safest shortcut to securing sales. The company has not yet formally introduced the new product, but there are already a number of inquiries and orders from local customers to pre-order because the company is sharing its professional knowledge and creating a community that sees the value in its initiatives to educate consumers about healthier options for skin care. 

 Fourth, lead the company’s value and market with branding power.

There is no one who does not know the power of branding. However, there seems to be a surprisingly large number of corporate representatives who do not recognize exactly how difficult the effort for branding is. The value of a brand is priceless. However, building branding takes a long time, so it is important to maintain a balance between short-term and long-term strategies. This SMB started with the most basic task of evaluation by local influencers to build branding in the North American market, and secured positive reviews and support from market-moving influencers based on product excellence and open communication. Branding is key and successfully built on trust and sincerity.

A successful US market entry by small and medium-sized Korean companies in the midst of a crisis can be a source of hope and inspiration for other Korean companies. There is infinite potential for companies to achieve big things when they stop solely focusing on sales results.



#16 Three Strategies for COVID-19 Era Online Sales Events

As a result of COVID-19, most of the global sales events such as overseas exhibitions and conferences for entering overseas markets were canceled or moved online. Success at online sales events can be difficult to achieve by only attending a simple webinar or a part of an offline exhibition that many companies are doing online. In particular, if it is an important event to enter overseas markets, only focusing on what happens during the event is not the most effective strategy. 

Many companies are limited in appealing to overseas buyers’ products and technologies. For example, the world’s largest bio event, ‘Bio International Convention,’ was originally scheduled to take place in San Diego, but due to the spread of COVID-19, it became a virtual event. 

In Korea, a number of companies participated in introducing technology and pipelines that they have, but it is not enough to expect good results by introducing pipelines or companies through video files in about 15 minutes. 

In the case of online exhibitions, investments, technology exports, and face-to-face online sales events for buyers, there are three essential areas. Accepting the challenge of digital transformation as inevitable and accepting an effective approach should be a priority.

While sharing the advice in the three key areas, you should also take this opportunity to look back on the business development (BD) work for domestic companies to penetrate global markets.

First, the key to BD’s work should not be overlooked as it determines success and failure long before an exhibition or sales event begins. Frequently, the beginning of the day of an exhibition or event is considered to be the beginning of business, and it is often thought that sharing products or corporate materials via e-mail is all that is needed for pre-marketing. This is not the case. 


Also, it is not accurate to expect a stranger to visit your website and convert similarly to how you would not expect a sale from a random passerby at an offline exhibition. We need a BD strategy approach that allows them to find our businesses, products, and technologies, that is, inbound marketing. It is no longer possible to delay turning this non-face-to-face, online crisis into an opportunity today when technology’s spectacular development no longer requires us to insist on offline methods. It is time to take an active approach.

Second, if you are a company that actively promotes marketing transformation, you must establish a system in advance and focus on it to identify targets and strive at a strategic level so that content based on their needs can be shared. It is important to have an online route strategy (such as inbound marketing strategies and channels) that allows buyers to visit. At this time, it is a mistake to think of the meaningless mass emailing as pre-marketing. It is necessary to acquire strategic know-how on emailing tactics.

Third, we need to focus on pre- and post-marketing through the use of multiple channels. The method of appealing at the event site is limited and not a strategy. If you use a communication channel based on targeting and understanding your needs (for example, in the North American market, LinkedIn has a greater impact than e-mail), you can already proceed with the process for discussion or negotiation at a 70-80% level before the online event.

Marketing transformation plays a big role in allowing buyers to naturally share necessary information at the right time, which is critical for maximizing the overseas sales pipeline of companies with limited resources. Even in such a case, the strategic insight is based on the buyer’s needs.

For domestic companies with limited geographic conditions or resources, online sales events can be a great opportunity. In fact, with all the buyers working mostly online and because there is no limit to time and space, it is much easier for them to secure time for you.

In addition to webinars, we actively plan for online sales events, but we boost these three factors and spur more effective BD strategy work through marketing transformation.



#17 Why is Marketing Transformation Urgent for a Company’s Growth?

Company X is one of the fastest growing and technologically innovative companies in Korea. The company became a leader in the high-tech equipment industry, supplying smart factories around the world with over 50-60% of global market share through its main business line. The company did not want to slow down. They were aggressively investing into new product lines, products for new market segments, and expanding sales into more countries (primarily the US market) to become a $1 billion company in the near future. How does Company X reach this ambitious growth goal?

For an ambitious fast-moving innovator, international expansion was critical. However, what worked for them in the past, would not take them into the future. Company X needed a fast track for growth. BDMT Global partnered with them to help adopt the best practices needed to sustain its growth rate and improve its ability to attract prospects with unmet needs outside of its customer base. By helping the company to transform from a product-driven company to market-driven one, they were able to prepare this quickly and strategically.  

How is the market-driven approach different from product-driven approach?  Why is marketing transformation urgent and critical for a company’s growth in the global market?


Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.

Product-driven companies build products to find markets for them. They use their own expertise to fill a gap or reach a new customer base. It is a short-term strategy that can move a company forward in big steps but makes it difficult to compete in more mature markets. 

Market-driven companies build products that many prospects want to buy.  Seth Godin says, “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.” Companies usually benefit from consistent growth and strong customer/partner relationships because this approach requires knowing their market, customers, and the competition to filter out unnecessary requests and focus on products that can be successful. 


Focus on what problems your company solves in the market you are in.

Market-driven companies monitor competitors, new emerging technologies, and market changes. The companies analyze market intelligence, and use it in both their long-term and daily decision-making.  

After Intel completed its transformation from a product-driven to a market-driven and customer-centric organization and focused on market and customers’ needs, it greatly increased its revenue, customer satisfaction, and loyalty as well as brand equity dramatically.


Pay attention to demands from the market (not just your customers) 

Collecting needs from customers and prospects is a good start. Asking customers what they want during the sales-process is not listening to the market. Nokia had over 40% of the global market for mobile phones in 2003. Unfortunately for Nokia, the market shifted significantly in smart phone preferences (e.g. touch screens). Obtaining strong market knowledge and implementing the best organizational planning and practices to be driven by and aligned with the external market forces is critical.



#18 Global Healthcare Expansion Despite Pandemic

South Korea takes first place among all developed countries that have the best access to healthcare. Its internal handling of challenges due to COVID-19 earned it a well-deserved best-in-class reputation. As the second wave of the pandemic hit South Korea – the country’s response was unparalleled, yet again. It is now the opportune time to expand into the world healthcare markets using our hard-earned goodwill.

After robotics, machinery, electronics, and automotive, the South Korean medical device industry is positioned to win globally, with our government investing $10.3B in medical device R&D in the next 5 years. In a small market like South Korea, there is only so much internal growth: this investment aims to more than triple South Korea’s global share in the medical device market to 4.1% by 2026. Expansion and revenues brought home from abroad, in turn, will attract more capital and talent to the industry to sustain its leadership in the future. 

Where can we grow? The two largest markets in the world are China (by the population size) and the U.S. (by cost per person on healthcare-related products and services). Given that China has its own manufacturing, all eyes are now on the U.S., where manufacturing is outsourced to China, and only innovation and commercialization ensue.

Currently, there are over 6,500 American medical device companies in the U.S., primarily small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), where more than 80% of medical device companies have under 50 employees. Most new start-ups have no product to sell — the cycle to enter the market can last anywhere from 3 to 7 years (including development & testing of the new product, plus all necessary certifications). 

With global trade disruption, U.S. companies are now facing uncertainty with shipment and manufacturing delays. SMBs do not have deep pockets to sustain additional delays caused by the global pandemic on top of the pre-existing long cycle to enter the market.  Now is the opportunity for Korean manufacturers who have devices in the market and reliable production in Korea to step up and find the path to enter the U.S.

Market entry starts with obtaining FDA or similar certifications, and could also include finding local partners to form joint ventures with and entering the market together with the US.. local salesforce and Korean technical solutions. Besides a proven product, you must bring considerable value to the U.S. partners. For example, bringing case studies of successful implementation in Korean healthcare facilities to the table.

It is critical to move fast: good, viable potential partners are purchased very quickly. The U.S. medical device industry is undergoing a major M&A wave with rapid acquisition of promising start-ups by large players like CVS, Amazon Health, etc. 

Notably, expanding overseas for individual manufacturers is risky, though our medical device associations from Korea can help by forming groups of delegates in specific segments – e.g. AI, telemedicine, emergency care devices, etc.  Partnering with U.S. medical organizations for Korean companies and leading organizations can also be a great way to bridge the gap and help Korean medical companies move faster.

Our leading medical device trade show KIMES has valuable contact information about buyers around the world to reach out to. With coordinated efforts among these key players and active participation of innovative medical device manufacturers, South Korean products can take its well-deserved space in U.S. hospitals and clinics.


#19 [Medical Bio] Opened BDMT Global, formerly BioTribalVision, a specialized bio/pharma BD & marketing company

TribalVision, a global marketing company, announced on the 20th that it has established a professional BD (Business Development) & marketing company, BioTribalVision, aimed at bio, pharmaceutical, and healthcare companies.  BioTribalVision, headquartered in Boston, MA, is a BD & marketing company that supports global entry into bio, pharmaceutical and healthcare companies worldwide. Experts from global bio and pharmaceutical companies such as Amgen, Biogen, Sanofi, and Pfizer support the establishment of integrated marketing strategies. Establish a strategy that meets the needs of the company by accurately evaluating technology, materials, and products.

Professor Suzy Im of the Department of Marketing at Emerson College in Boston is in charge of the business. Professor Im joined as Vice President of TribalVision in 2013 and oversees various corporate BD & marketing strategies such as GE, Samsung, Siemens, Konica, and Terradyne. The company is also planning to support overseas advances in the domestic bio-pharmaceutical industry, which has recently achieved remarkable results.

Professor Im said, “By using the abundant network possessed by BioTribalVision, companies from Asia can also secure local bio teams.”

Staff Reporter Jeong Yong-cheol Medical/SW Professional jungyc@etnews.com

#20 Global SMB Leader in K-Beauty’s Successful Strategy to Expand in the North American Market

As consumer purchases in North America declined due to the pandemic, the strategy of beauty companies that have been targeting the anti-aging market started to see red signals. However, some companies have succeeded by taking advantage of the unique situation the pandemic created.

Among our clients, Dermafirm, which pioneered the overseas market with high-quality skin products, is one of those companies that has turned the pandemic crisis into an opportunity. Three months after beginning its US market entry strategy, it successfully entered the North American market by securing the headline of ‘Anti-Aging Innovation 2020’ and receiving hot responses from overseas beauty influencers as well as local buyers.

Dermafirm is a Korean cosmeceutical company that is well known overseas, with its performance recognized in the field of dermatology, as it is used in hospitals, dermatology clinics, and plastic surgery practices, exporting $10 million worth of product in 2018 and $30.5 million last year.

K-Beauty grew as a leader in innovation in the export structure of Korea along with the spread of the Hallyu Wave, but the proportion of exports to the US was low due to limitations such as low brand recognition. The question we most often encountered during the lead-in process of the North American campaign at the beginning of the account with Dermafirm was, “Will Korean SMB brands work in the US?” The suspicion that “it’s something that even large companies can’t do” always followed.

In a difficult situation where many beauty companies have closed or downsized their business due to COVID-19, what is the reason that a small-medium sized Korean business was able to lead the pioneering of the North American market to success with the raving evaluation of local influencers?

It is thanks to the strategic approach that 20% of people influence 80% of buyers. Leader-leading marketing is a highly effective method for any industry. Over 20 years ago, following their initial North American market entry, I was contributing to the success of developing a brand by focusing on analyst relations that understood and appealed to the technology aspect in the process of leading the business-to-business e-commerce (B2B) global business expansion of small Korean companies. This strategy has continued to be effective in various industries.

Dermafirm started with an effort to secure product recognition from the thought leaders who impact related markets such as celebrity, beauty, or science influencers for branding success.

Dermafirm paid attention to our award-winning live commerce by securing feedback ‘objectivity’. Dermafirm chose to break through the front to secure 100% honest reviews by influencers on the product. Also, through its “Virtual Live Sales Event”, it focused on capturing consumers’ attention with its excellent functionality based on the expertise and experience of influencers.

In the current situation where it is difficult to find a place specializing in skincare amid the pandemic crisis, the Dermafirm team was enthusiastic about the excellence of Dermafirm home care products and started to reframe their position in the market. This is only possible if you are confident in your product capabilities.

Creating an impact through securing local references and generating awareness was also the secret of Dermafirm’s success. Branding begins with trust and regional cultural connectivity. Dermafirm was able to secure the response and support of key influencers in the beauty industry in the North American market at once by attracting many responses from North America with the support of the healthy skin movement and supporting STEM education.

We also focused on balancing the branding and sales strategy that drives the market. The greater the risk, the greater the opportunity. As they succeeded in entering the North American market through bold investments rather than settling in the somewhat safer markets of the Chinese and Asian markets, hot responses and sales are now gaining traction in South American countries. Dermafirm’s branding strategy, which fosters trust based on contributions to the local community, is shining bright amid today’s pandemic crisis.

We hope that more and more Korean companies can find opportunities for growth during this crisis. In the North American market, K-beauty will never stop as a temporary trend.



#21 B2B in 2021 is the Key to Focusing on the US Market

The pandemic has made the role of marketing more important than ever. According to the recently conducted Chief Marketing Manager (CMO) Survey’ in North America, 62.3% of companies responded that they would further strengthen marketing. They are busy establishing marketing strategies to prepare for a new market structure and environment in 2021.

According to market analysis in 2021, the outlook for the B2B market is brighter than that of the B2C market.  Marketing costs to promote businesses are also expected to increase significantly. Especially during a time of crisis, selling to B2B markets is a faster way to expand businesses quickly. 

Even if it is a consumer-related product that targets end users, it is important to connect it to a B2B business that acquires large-scale buyers through a method that attracts their needs. This is the reason why selling to B2B markets is more effective during a crisis. Here are four points that should not be missed in the process of establishing a B2B marketing strategy for the North American market.

Account Based Marketing (ABM), a B2B global sales marketing approach, is expected to play a larger role in the post-pandemic era. It may seem like simple email marketing, but the approach is substantially different. Companies that experience success results greatly realize the effect.

Email marketing without in-depth research is like cold calling,  ABM requires considerable expertise and thorough research because it communicates not only the specifics of the industry, but also the size of the company and the needs of each email recipient delivered at the optimal time. It is meant to develop personalized relationships with each contact based on their needs. In order to increase the success rate of ABM campaigns, various channels and effective approaches are key.

Another important strategy for B2B marketing is to focus on partnerships. The strategy to expand to new target markets in a win-win approach through partnerships is tried and true. Major medical companies in the world are seeking ways to create value in medical care and health treatment by combining digital technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), remote robots, and home care. 21st century innovations in tech.

CVS, a global pharmacy, is pursuing various types of strategic partnerships as it seeks to implement an end-to-end medical value chain, focused on mobile. If Korean healthcare companies actively join this vision through strategic partnerships, they can seize the opportunity to enter the North American market. Strategic partnerships also help to make effective use of limited resources. For example, a temporary promotional promotional partnership between two of my client companies, health beauty and fashion jewelry, led to big sales through expansion in different markets.

Digital tactics are expected to play an even more important role in the development and expansion of B2B business. While many companies focus on investing in digital marketing, there may be difficulties in analyzing the effects, so a systematic analysis process is important.

“What and how much impact will the website have on sales?” Surprisingly, there are many entrepreneurs who show a strange reaction to digital – some are unfamiliar with the field of B2B marketing. In the era of inbound marketing, websites are the business hub of B2B companies that attract engagement and community sharing like a magnet. The key is the overall process of digital marketing based on clear analysis.

It is also expected that the role of influencers in B2B marketing based on the use of content marketing centered on LinkedIn social media and blogs will become more important. Influencers differ somewhat in their role and range of capabilities depending on the healthcare, IT, or beauty sectors. For example, in the IT industry, the influence of technology analysts (influencers) plays an important role in big buyers and market expansion. Content marketing can be recycled, repurposed, and reproduced, which is effective in strategic communication with influencers. It is important to take a strategic approach to sharing the needed content with them at the optimal timing and connecting them to sales.



#22 Innovative D2C For B2B & B2C Expansion in the US – An Innovative Strategy to Catch Two Birds with One Stone

The direct to consumer (D2C) business model, in which manufacturers can freely communicate with buyers and sell products, is increasingly being utilized during the pandemic crisis. As companies that have succeeded in D2C emerged, the number of companies introducing D2C as a new growth engine increased significantly, and the D2C market is exploding. D2C is a model that provides superior price competitiveness and real-time response to customer needs as there is no intermediate distributor. This allows it to be more effective in the current pandemic, which requires minimal face-to-face contact, and D2C is becoming more prominent in the global market as a whole. For example, in the Indian e-commerce market, the D2C method has emerged as a strategy to overcome the coronavirus.

However, the introduction of D2C should not be limited to simply switching channels. Since 2017, Nike has been focusing on building consensus with consumers as an innovator by adopting D2C as a core distribution strategy to resolve their stagnation in North America, and finally stopped selling products through Amazon in 2019. 

A more active D2C method based on a branding strategy of ‘trust’ and building consensus should be used as an opportunity for a leap forward to the global market to catch two birds with one stone for international companies planning to expand overseas markets.

In addition, D2C is not necessarily limited to consumer products, but rather can be a shortcut to securing larger B2B buyers in the North American market. The key is to utilize strategic messages and channels based on accurate targeting based on sufficient B2B insights. Through the use of an omnichannel approach, more active and strategic tactics are used so that the needs for companies and products are met in a short period of time. As technology continues to develop remarkably, more effective platforms are spreading to all industries.

Through a campaign that combines live commerce, virtual exhibitions, and lead generation, our team at BDMT Global recently maximized sales of companies through a B2C & B2B strategy using D2C, and in the North American market found success with healthcare, bio, K-beauty, technology, and more industries. It was able to lead the successful expansion of Korean and Asian companies to the North American market and to maximize sales by building relationships with B2B buyers around the world. The new normal era is a time when a major shift in strategy is needed.

According to the CMO survey, “innovation” is the top major challenge for marketing leaders in 2021. Direct communication with customers and the use of AI are also expected to increase. This is because marketing is subject to tremendous changes in accordance with the behavioral patterns of buyers in the new normal era of the current social environment. It is important to utilize innovative technologies through various digital transformations that maximize the use of technology to maximize the uniqueness of companies and products. In the new normal post-pandemic era, understanding individual needs becomes more important, so the utilization of AI is expected to be further maximized. 

The crisis brought about by COVID-19 can secure tremendous opportunities from a global market perspective by lowering dependence on 3rd party platforms and responding independently. For example, the Korean industrial landscape with a solid manufacturing base is the driving force for overseas market entry. Unfortunately, there seem to be many companies still relying on securing overseas distribution channels. After entering into large distribution channels, many companies were complaining about the limitations of collecting data on their buyers. 

Today, from the data-based performance marketing perspective, which increases sales through effective use of personalized business models, it can be a concern. A sophisticated channel strategy is required in the entangled existing distribution network, and it is time to consider the non-face-to-face situation above all else. In the past several columns, we have presented potential strategies and directions for the health, wellness, bio, and beauty industries in the North American market. Contact BDMT



#23 Omnichannel Marketing Strategy to Replace Traditional Trade Shows

What we feel while doing global marketing in the North American market for over 20 years is that international companies are too dependent on overseas trade shows. Although it is clear that exhibitions are an effective channel for expanding overseas markets, it is only one of countless tactics that can be replaced.

What do companies with a high dependency on exhibitions miss? One of the best advantages of the trade show is that it is possible to communicate with untapped buyers around the world or who cannot participate in the exhibition site. While existing offline exhibitions have provided comparatively easy advantages in developing overseas markets, there have been many companies that cannot connect potential customers to sales just by siloing them to an event once a year. To find success, trade shows must be part of an integrated strategy. Some companies attend trade shows as a routine corporate event rather than focusing on strategically preparing an exhibition and using it to achieve corporate goals, both short term and long term.

Since all potential customers are concentrated online, how to communicate with them more efficiently and how to establish a trust has become more important than the difficulty of geographic limitations or limited marketing resources.

This is a challenge to all companies, big or small. The key to a successful outcome is a strategy that enables active communication and creating an emotional connection to build trust.Online trade shows can help overcome the limitations and challenges of limited resources and geographic distance for international companies through a strategic omnichannel approach. In the new normal era, when online business models are more important, trust and communication are particularly important for new business.

Long before the pandemic, our team at BDMT Global have focused on implementing and replacing inefficient trade shows through strategic High-Touch Digital Business Development (BD) programs. In recent years, rather than directly participating in trade shows, we have taken the lead in expanding the North American market through an innovative approach that strategically utilizes the exhibition period.

For example, rather than paying a high cost to install booths directly at international trade shows, we have supported the introduction of an omnichannel method that includes online and offline channels, which can be used as a sales venue with buyers. For example, companies that manufacture medical devices conduct influencer marketing and online and offline educational seminars simultaneously to build trust with local medical staff during the exhibition, while securing active support from local media and medical experts, and promoting the exhibition site through various channels. It focuses on using it as a sales venue. This is a very effective way to secure sales opportunities based on active communication and trust building without direct use of trade shows.

Innovative business that has greatly improved the omni-channel strategy tactics that have been effectively used in the midst of the pandemic crisis to implement high-performing sales commerce events and market expansion strategies, and succeed in the North American market to support corporate goals during the pandemic time. In recognition of his method, BDMT Global was able to win two Stevie Awards, known as the “Oscars for business”.

Relying on a single platform for any channel is a passive strategy. If the trade show opportunity is leveraged strategically in the marketing mix by communicating in advance with global buyers whether they can or cannot come on-site, it is possible to secure global buyers around the world before the trade show even opens. 

Effective tactical strategic investment is critical to maximizing return on investment (ROI) with limited resources. Now is the right time for companies planning to expand overseas markets, especially in North America. Be quick and strategic. We hope many companies try to expand the global market by learning the know-how of expanding the global market based on an effective business model replacing overseas exhibitions and an omnichannel sales creation program.

Suzy Im, Boston BDMT Global Managing Partner & Tribalvision SVP sim@tribalvision.com



#24 Strengthening Digital experiences and Enabling Self-Service for US market expansion during the Pandemic

B2B buyers expect the same online experience they get from eCommerce to carry over to their B2B work. These fluid expectations are only growing with advances in eCommerce. According to a survey by the US market research firm Gartner, over 85% of B2B corporate customer service will be provided through online ‘self-service’ by 2022. 

In order to get ahead of global and local competition, the key is to transition the existing process to a digital foundation quickly and seamlessly, especially when entering the US market with no local presence.


DXP – a New Generation of Marketing Tools to Enable Seamless Digital Experience

The new generation of the omnichannel marketing experience technology, Digital Experience Platform, or DXP, has been designed to enable the seamless transfer of all customer data across all touchpoints and create a custom experience for every buyer’s journey.

By moving to DXP, businesses can deliver a superior customer experience to B2B digital commerce, using the same advanced technology that enhances leading B2C experiences. 

Multiple vendors provide DXPs, with Liferay leading Gartner’s ranking in 2020 Critical Capabilities for Digital Experience Platforms. 


Critical Features and Capabilities of DXPs

One of the critical features of the DXP is to cultivate customer communities through online forums and provide opportunities to build digital transformation through integrated platforms.

It also provides high-efficiency customer service through its online self-service capabilities, allowing customers to solve problems without the help of live representatives.

It provides more relevant content to buyers through personalization. Customers can easily manage and update their account information. It reduces costs while increasing customer satisfaction, and simplifies recurring orders with a reorder button and a saved order list. Platform management capabilities allow businesses to measure and find areas for improvement thanks to integrated analytics solutions. 


Digital Transformation with the Human Face

Enabling automated personalized experience building is a great step towards digital transformation for many international companies who are struggling to connect with prospects and create a sales pipeline during COVID. 

More importantly, it helps implement strategies and capabilities that will be crucial in the new normal, where there will be no more relying on trade shows or in-person businesses. 

Automation, however, requires companies to find ways to humanize their brands, and create a local presence through omnichannel in-person connection opportunities mixed in their business development and marketing process.

To ensure that DXP is not just a platform or channel, however, you must devote time to analyzing the purchase process and identifying content needs. A strategic approach to reducing costs through automation and effectively utilizing end-to-end processes is the beginning of transformation to maximize sales.


Digital Transformation of Manufacturing Sector

Digital is changing everything in manufacturing. We work with a variety of global manufacturers to create new products and services enabled by digital transformation, effective market launches, and secure digital experience for prospects and customers. We focus on customizing mass production, marketing, and global business development through customer-centered business processes.  


Innovative Model of D2C for B2B and B2C

In our last column, we mentioned that the omnichannel consumer direct sales (D2C) business model is a key strategy in the process of expanding to global markets. It is an innovative method of expanding sales through securing trust and local mind share.

B2B companies should strive to provide a place for buyers to purchase products more easily through search-based customization for a variety of categories, using personalized content recommendations similar to B2C product recommendation engines.

According to survey results, competition among companies seeking to improve the B2B digital customer experience is expected to intensify. More than 80% of manufacturers and distributors plan to invest into a smoother customer experience this year. It is time to develop and expand the market more actively through the technological revolution, while solving many problems brought by the pandemic and acceleration of online-based markets.


#25 Emergency Accelerator Program for the New Normal Era

BDMT Global, two-time Stevie Awards winner for remarkable achievements amid the COVID-19 crisis, launched the ‘Emergency Accelerator Program’ for companies to expand to the North American market and maximize sales around the world.

The D2C+ Omnichannel Success Formula developed by BDMT Global, headquartered in Boston USA, has proven its effectiveness by winning two Stevie Awards. It is gaining attention as a business strategy that provides opportunities to expand global business during the pandemic by combining a business model that replaces overseas exhibitions with an omnichannel sales development program.

Companies around the world, including Korea, Singapore, and Canada, can participate in the Emergency Accelerator Program and receive training opportunities to acquire industry-specific knowledge.

What the BDMT Global team observed from last week’s global webinar that was presented to company executives in 10 countries, is that many companies still rely on the old process. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, business-to-business (B2B) and business-consumer (B2C) global companies such as Intel and Nike have been using direct-to-consumer (D2C) strategies to interact with their targets.

However, many companies still solely rely on middlemen, distributors, or mass marketplaces such as Amazon in the process of expanding to overseas markets. There may be differences in the process of companies adopting the ‘D2C+ omnichannel formula’, a customer-centric business model, but by resetting target audiences, tools, and business processes through analysis of the changing environment, crises can be turned into opportunities.

If companies use the Emergency Accelerator Program based on the success factors of D2C+ omnichannel, they can gain the advantage of securing more freedom than existing business models, while implementing better sales tactics that successfully replace international trade shows that have been placed on hold due to the pandemic.

Breaking away from the method that has been dependent on Amazon (B2C) or distribution channels (B2B), it facilitates communication with end users that companies were previously unable to reach, as well as securing larger buyers by showcasing consumer demand to maximize the brand’s appeal. Companies can secure more sales without trade shows. By operating the platform directly, it is possible for companies to collect and analyze more detailed data on end-users, which can be used to create a sales strategy with enhanced creativity.

By establishing a self-service platform for selling products or services, there are no geographical restrictions. Self-service is also one of the necessary platforms needed to establish a strong process that can attract leads through the omnichannel approach.

However, through the use of an owned platform, it is possible to freely reorganize new targets, tactics, and processes to expand the market significantly. It is important to make optimal use of automation and technology to enable a seamless online self-service process that takes users from researching information to the final purchase.

This direct sales method is more actively used among B2B businesses. Although most B2B companies are still limited to product promotion, there is a need for a consumer-centric method that highlights the importance of personal relationships, like Intel or General Electric, have been focusing on.

Overall, the Emergency Accelerator Program provides a new business foundation and creative environment to companies targeting the North American market. Are you still relying on old processes in a rapidly changing environment? It is time to review your target audiences in the changing environment, and urgently reset the process to meet new needs.


#26 US Market Expansion Plan – Where We Are Now And Where We Will Go In 2021

Did any of your 2020 predictions and sales plans turn out as expected? No, I didn’t think so. 2020 was the most disruptive year since the global financial crisis of 2008. Curiously, it primarily affected major Western economies where I live and work.  Dysfunctional governments, an undisciplined, uneducated and jaded population, pandemic risks being played down in political games, all resulted in repeated shutdowns, small businesses closing their doors, the highest unemployment rates in decades, and death counts rising out of control.

The Korean economy, where I come from, along with an economy of nearby countries run by pragmatic science-centric leaders, has immediately used the knowledge developed under SARS to clamp down on the virus, avoid mass death and economic destruction, and is in relatively good shape heading into 2021 in comparison to the US, EU, UK, and Brazil. 

This is a one-time opportunity for Korean companies to enter and win on large consumption-centric western markets like the US. Why now? And How? 

Why Now. Local US businesses beyond ecommerce and logistics have been significantly crippled by remote work, there are revenue disruptions, dropped business purchases, and breakdowns of traditional channels such as tradeshows and in-person sales. Schools are failing to teach, even at low levels, which is creating “a lost generation” unable to compete on global labor markets. 

Uneducated US adults cannot compete in the global labor markets of engineers and can’t produce the innovation needed for the next generation of technology. Chinese engineers who have powered the high-tech boom of the 1990s have left for China and founded their own companies that successfully compete with the US. In the tech industry, US brands are relying on Asian centers of production and engineering more and more. 

What Korean makers will soon find is that they are competing against global brands that shifted to Asia and China, when they used to compete against the US-based enterprises. 

What Korean advanced robotics, telecom, and manufacturing innovators are finding is that US-owned manufacturing is behind the technology curve and will be lagging more and more, turning the US into even more of a consumption centric, not production, society.

How. The US, that lost the race for technological leadership, is now leading the world in the most massive market for health and wellness-related products and services. If your business sells solutions for some relatively well-performing industries, or makes CPGs that fit the home-locked lifestyle of the US, the first part of 2021 will be very lucrative. If you are producing high-tech manufacturing solutions, the US manufacturing industry is getting smaller, more local, and is focused on cutting costs with less attention to technical innovation. There is no appetite here for the latest technology.

Korean brands who are willing to make it in the US must walk into 2021 by putting aside their pride in their amazing technology and sell their products on buyer-impact merits. We see time and time again that Korean makers of cutting-edge solutions are trying to sell it to ignorant buyers who will never appreciate how advanced its technology is. Korean brands must sell and partner based on the benefit to the buyer, provide case studies, localize their brand voice and develop a relevant local presence.

Technology solutions for health and wellness: start with home-based product lines. Biotech and life sciences: look for partnerships. Home-based electronics and leisure equipment: sell directly to consumers, this demand is far exceeding the supply. Crafting solutions for manufacturing, businesses, or retail? Reinvent the segments you target. Where else can your core technology be used? How can it help to reopen businesses safely and lower risks of infection? Whatever your industry is – it’s time to transform and fit the new markets. They have needs – just not the same needs as in Korea.