Thursday, 17 May 2012
Image: Elliot King, Director, MintTwist.
London-Based MintTwist Find Success in the Middle East
MintTwist, a multi-national digital agency with offices in UK, France, Portugal and the UAE, provide high quality web design and development services, mobile websites and multi-lingual online marketing campaigns for businesses that want to grow revenues.
Five years ago the firm began looking at a long-term growth plan and wanted export to be a key component. They saw opportunities with key UK based clients that had international clients and saw those clients as a potential springboard into new markets.
When Director, Elliott King, wanted help to sell into the Middle East he contacted UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) who put him in touch with his local International Trade Adviser (ITA) in London. Elliott said: “UKTI told me they would send over an ITA. From previous experience with trying to sell into the public sector, I had some reservations. However, within minutes, Robert Hurley was very different. He had a considered grasp of our business in general, was relevant and challenging and able to ask us the right questions.”
Elliott continued: “We developed a relationship over the weeks and months and I realised the enthusiasm and passion of the people that worked there. It was tremendous and inspiring to see that. UKTI really helped us push ahead with our export plan and gave us confidence.”
With Robert they worked together to create a plan to enter the United Arab Emirates as a route to the wider Middle East. In 2008 the company accessed UKTI financial assistance to join a market visit to the UAE. Elliott said: “This was an excellent way to get relevant information on the market. We also found that the other British companies who attended were a powerful source of relevant, useful information.”
MintTwist were recommended to commission an OMIS (overseas market introduction service) which would help them to target relevant potential partners, suppliers and contacts for their business. Elliott said: “Through the OMIS we ended up with 10 high quality meetings. We returned to the UK excited and set up a meeting with potential reseller. We went on to set up a registered website and a few months later we were getting enquiries.”
However, it was not all plain sailing and Elliott learnt a valuable lesson in choosing your partners carefully. He said: “We were actually advised not to partner up with the first person you meet and do more research and considered planning. This sounded boring, so we ignored the advice. It went wrong and held us up for 12 months.“
Elliott got back in touch with UKTI was advised to do an EMRS (Export Marketing Research Scheme) a service which assists companies to conduct in-depth marketing research when looking at new markets. Elliott explains: “Through the EMRS scheme we developed a considered and detailed market research plan and half the costs were covered. We ended up with 45 meetings in 20 days. UKTI also helped turn the research into a business plan and it helped us enter the UAE with confidence. Within six months we had set up a local office and employed a regional manager; 12 months later the Middle East represented 10% of our global turnover!”
UKTI Services: Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS)
Today, with continued UKTI support, MintTwist has grown into a full service international digital agency, that services many hundreds of SME's and a growing number of very large multi-national clients across the UK, Europe, the Middle East and the USA. Elliott commented: “We are unapologetic fans of UKTI. Working with UKTI has been the single, biggest, positive influence on our business.”