Global Connections: Damon Simms on Bridging Business Between New Zealand and Southeast Asia

Episode 102 December 21, 2023 00:41:58
Global Connections: Damon Simms on Bridging Business Between New Zealand and Southeast Asia
The Agency Hour
Global Connections: Damon Simms on Bridging Business Between New Zealand and Southeast Asia

Dec 21 2023 | 00:41:58


Hosted By

Troy Dean Johnny Flash

Show Notes

Join us on The Agency Hour Podcast as we welcome Damon Simms, the Co-Founder of Aseanz, straight from New Zealand. In this episode, we dive into the art of building powerful connections between New Zealand and Southeast Asia.

Discover how Damon's leap from traditional employment led him to master the art of strategic networking and cultural integration in the global business arena. We'll delve into the nuances of fostering strong relationships between companies across these regions, explore the potential in import and export markets, and discuss the importance of tailoring marketing strategies to diverse cultural landscapes. 

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Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] Speaker A: You can say that recessions are bloodbaths and all the rest of it. But recessions also generally make people rich and businesses still need to sell their products. That doesn't change because as a business, if you suddenly no longer have that need, then you very quickly cease to exist. [00:00:17] Speaker B: Welcome to the agency hour podcast where we help web design and digital agency owners create abundance for themselves, their teams and their communities. This week we have a slight departure in the type of guests that we normally have. On the agency hour. This week we're joined by Damon Sims from across the Dutch in New Zealand, as they say. Damon is the co founder of Aseans. Not to be confused with Asean, which is the association of Southeast Asian nations. This is the Aseans with a Z on the end. What these guys do is build relationships between New Zealand companies wanting to export product into southeast asian markets. They do that by building connections between institutes, business entrepreneurs and helping New Zealand businesses navigate all the compliance of getting their products into those markets. In this episode, Damon shares why he quit the workforce and why he quit employment. The reasons behind him quitting employment, which honestly were very similar to mine. And we have that connection there. And also we dive into the process of building those connections between what it takes to build connections between New Zealand companies and southeast asian companies, which products are ripe for importing and exporting. And the cultural differences between marketing in New Zealand and marketing in Southeast Asia. Now, the reason Damon is on the podcast is because I found him on LinkedIn. I did cold outreach on LinkedIn and I read what he does. And the week prior, I had had a conversation with someone in one of our coaching programs who are a New Zealand marketing agency who are focused on helping New Zealand companies get themselves ready to export into foreign markets. And so I thought this would be an interesting, slightly different conversation, but an interesting conversation nonetheless. And what I want you to think about while listening to this episode is if you're a marketing agency, what else do your clients need that you don't provide? And how can you get your clients connected with people in your network that can also help them? Because I believe your job is to become the most helpful person in your client's network. That's how you reduce, churn and keep clients happy over the long term. And so that's why I wanted Damon to come in and share his experiences. To give us a little bit of insight into some of the other providers that your clients might need in the future. I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I did. I'm Troy Dean. Stay with us. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the agency hour podcast, Damon Sims from Aseans. Hey, Damon. How are you, my friend? [00:02:50] Speaker A: I'm good, Troy. How are you? [00:02:51] Speaker B: I'm very well, thank you. Now, I will let people know you're a slightly different guest than those that we usually have on the agency hour. And I do want to tell the story about how we connected. But before I do that, just give people the family barbecue version of who you are and what you do. [00:03:09] Speaker A: I came up through high end hotel management and then moved into business development in it worked across Australia and New Zealand. In 2012 or 2013, I decided that having a job was no longer something I was interested in. And I wanted to create an opportunity for myself. A couple of requirements. Number one, it had to be lucrative. Number two, it had to be location independent. And number three, I wasn't interested in answering to anyone but myself. So that took me out to the Philippines. [00:03:43] Speaker B: They're pretty good criteria. I think they're the same criteria that I have, actually. [00:03:46] Speaker A: Exactly. So that took me out to the Philippines, where I formed a marketing agency. I was there for six years providing outsourced marketing solutions to mainly clients in Australia and a couple in New Zealand. [00:04:02] Speaker B: Wow. This in 2012. [00:04:05] Speaker A: Yeah, I got there. No, by the time I got to the Philippines, it was about 2015. [00:04:10] Speaker B: Right. Okay. So, still pretty early on and ahead of the curve in terms of. Because that's not to hijack your story, but that's a big thing now, is like, a lot of our clients, particularly agencies, have staff in the Philippines, but we're talking 2023. This is something that's happened, really over sort of the last six or seven years. And Covid really accelerated that. So you're a bit of an early adopter in that respect. So. Sorry, go on. I digress. [00:04:33] Speaker A: No, that's okay. And I ran that for six years. Had a great time. Loved the Philippines, loved the people. On a side note, I also had a three bedroom house and a couple of vacation apartments by the beach. So I sort of sat there by the beach directing traffic, and I really enjoyed that lifestyle. [00:04:50] Speaker B: Wow. [00:04:52] Speaker A: After that, I headed up to Hong Kong for a while, which is actually where I grew up. So I grew up in Hong Kong in the 80s, which was a pretty wild sort of an experience. And we got up to Hong Kong and started working on a few other projects. My time in the Philippines had come to an end. And then eventually Covid reared its head and I left Hong Kong on the 15 February 2020. Wow. It was an eerie experience. The airport was completely empty because they'd also just had the riots that they had six months of riots and protests going on again, a wild time to be there. And flew to Sydney on an almost empty plane and then connected over to Wellington. I thought I'd be here for a couple of months. The rest is history. We all know what happened after that. [00:05:46] Speaker B: Yeah. Because I was in the States in Feb 2020, and I was sitting on a plane. I was flying from La to Phoenix to speak at an event, and I was sitting on a plane next to two people who were wearing masks. And I was like, what's going on? And they were teachers. They were teaching English as a second language in China. They'd both just got out of China and come back to the states. And they were both saying the reason they got out is because if they didn't get out now, they'd be stuck there and they didn't know for how long. And I'm like, what the hell is going on with this Covid thing? What is Covid? I came back to Australia. We moved house on Friday the 13 March 2020, and literally three days later, when we moved out of an apartment into a house with a big backyard, and three days later, we went into lockdown, and we were pregnant at the time. We had one kid and pregnant with another. We dodged, and it was a complete fluke that we moved into a house two days, three days before lockdown. We dodged a massive bullet. And I remember coming back from the States going, I think this Covid thing is going to really take off because we were pretty lucky in Australia. It happened here later. So I imagine Feb 2020, it would have been in full swing in Hong Kong. [00:06:58] Speaker A: The thing that encouraged me to make the decision to leave was that they were starting to lock down specific apartment buildings in Moncock, which was the district I was living in. And those lockdowns were quite brutal. You were literally trapped in your flat, and I was living in a tiny studio flat in an old industrial building. And I just thought, I don't want to spend a week locked in here, let alone any longer than that. So I made the call. [00:07:23] Speaker B: What's the business? You leave the Philippines, you leave the marketing agency. What are you doing in Hong Kong at this point? [00:07:30] Speaker A: I was working actually in marketing, but I was working with a corporate intelligence agency, so risk mitigations, due diligence and stuff like that. And I was also operationally involved with that. So that was a lot of fun. [00:07:44] Speaker B: Okay, got it. What do you do now? What is Aseans? What do you do? [00:07:50] Speaker A: Well, the sticker on the tin says that we build strong bilateral relationships between southeast asian companies and New Zealand companies. What that actually means is a completely different thing for every project and every client. It's about understanding the story behind the product or the business that we're working with, translating that both linguistically and culturally into new markets. I say I'm basically a storyteller. Conversations are my currency, and that's what I do. I talk to people all day, and as a part of that, I help them grow their businesses. [00:08:33] Speaker B: And so the mechanics of that, the reason that you and I connected is I reached out, I think, on LinkedIn, and I kind of saw what you do. We have a client that I've been working with who's an agency based in New Zealand. And what they do is, from a digital marketing point of view and an online presence point of view, for want of a better, less generic term, they kind of help companies, New Zealand companies who want to export and expand into other markets, either Australia or Southeast Asia. So, for example, wine companies or food companies or manufacturers, they help them kind of get their digital landscape ready to make that leap. And I actually connected them with a bunch of contacts I have here in Australia through oztrade. And then when I found you, I'm like, oh, hang on. This kind of feels like this would be a good combination for them to have contact with you. And then you and I connected. And I thought, you know what? This is an interesting conversation on the podcast, because I think what happens with marketing agencies is you can kind of get lost in the marketing bubble, right? So you can kind of think, well, what we do is the most important stuff for clients. But you forget that your clients, marketing agencies, your clients have other suppliers and other consultants and other relationships with other companies that you should be aware of. And so what I wanted to sort of unpack today was, if I'm a marketing agency and I'm helping a New Zealand company get ready to start exporting, I believe, my belief is that your job, whether you're a marketing agency or whether you're doing what you're doing is your job really, is to become the most helpful person in your client's world. Right? So that doesn't mean you have to do everything for them. I think it's a combination of, this is what we do with in terms of our services, but I can also get you connected with people who do all this other stuff that you're going to need, and that's why you're here. That's kind of why I wanted to have this conversation so just walk me through the process. If I'm a New Zealand winemaker, and I do have a friend of mine in Perth, Simon Bowen, who actually helped Margaret. He helped the Margaret river wine region, who were suffering big time, largely because New Zealand winemakers were exporting so much beautiful wine into Australia that it squeezed our margins. And so Simon helped the Margaret river wine region export into China, came up with a great strategy, worked really well. What is the process? If I'm a New Zealand company and I've got a product and I want to start exporting into Southeast Asia, what are some of the things I need to think about? And what do you guys typically help clients with? [00:11:21] Speaker A: Depending on which market you're going into, you might have to obtain local registration for your product in food products. Depending again, whether it's Vietnam or Cambodia or places like that, they've all got slightly different rules. You're going to need someone to clear the product through there. You're going to need someone up there to go on sales calls and take samples out for you and actually get the product introduced. So we set up those relationships. So we're sort of a step before the marketing comes in, almost. We open the market for them. We use our extensive network all throughout Asia to enable businesses in New Zealand to have trusted contacts on the ground up there, to navigate regulatory stuff, to navigate getting collateral translated into local languages. An example in Cambodia, we've got a really great local marketing agency that does amazing work, and we absolutely love them and they will help prepare the marketing side of things. But what we do first is we establish the relationships with the suppliers here and then get them over those hurdles. Because it's actually like, there's little things like we've got an FTA with Vietnam, but honey is a prohibited sorts of. There's all sorts of nuances to it that you don't really think about and that you're not going to be able to deal with unless you know what you're doing in. [00:12:49] Speaker B: And look, I've spent a little bit of time in Southeast Asia, not a lot, but I've spent a little bit of time in Thailand and Indonesia. Thailand more so. And I would say that Thailand is probably, in my experience, and through hearsay, Thailand is probably one of the more well regulated economies there that kind of looks and feels a little bit similar to what we might experience here in Australia and New Zealand. I would argue that, know, for want of a better word, feels a little bit like the Wild west. It kind of feels a little bit more chaotic. I imagine that each of those parts of Southeast Asia would have its own level of regulation, especially English, is, you know, if English is your first language and you are used to very well documented, very well systemized government departments. Right. That going into somewhere like Cambodia. Yeah. [00:13:49] Speaker A: It's a whole new ballgame, right? [00:13:52] Speaker B: Yeah. Okay. So you spend a bit of time there and then you're back in New Zealand. We go into Covid. We spend most of our life living in our lounge rooms for a couple of years. How did this opportunity rear its head? Like, when did you go, hang on a second. I have some value here that I can add by forming these relationships. How did that come about? [00:14:19] Speaker A: What happened was the guy who I formed the company with, David Pearson, he was chased back here in a very similar way to the way that I was. What's interesting about that, we actually met when we were both living in Vientian, in Laos about five years ago. And we ended up back in New Zealand, about an hour away from each other. And both of us were sort of displaced from our traveling days and trying to get used to the new normal, as they called it. And we just started having conversations about what can we do to remain involved in Asia and what opportunities exist here and what value can we bring to New Zealand businesses, but also to asian businesses that are interested in New Zealand. So we just had a series of conversations and, I mean, the business was. Probably had its genesis maybe four years ago. We officially incorporated a couple of years ago. He and I both found ourselves displaced. And effectively, he'd been gone for 13 years. I'd been gone for longer than that, effectively in a foreign country, even though we're both New Zealand citizens. It was just a whole new. I'd never seen a self checkout before, for example, because they don't exist up. So we figured that we could add some value to some New Zealand businesses. So we started identifying some targets and reaching out to them. And the reception has been fantastic. [00:15:58] Speaker B: So I want to unpack that a little bit too, because there's something in this. Marketing agencies are typically very bad at doing their own marketing. And they pretty much live off referrals and word of mouth and a professional network. What was the strategy for reaching out to new. First of all, what was the strategy for identifying? I mean, I have this conversation every day. I've got agencies in messenger right now. I won't, but I could show you a conversation going, we just need clients. I'm like, great. Who's your ideal client? How can I refer someone to you? Anyone with a pulse and a credit card. I'm like, no, hang on a second. If I'm going to refer someone to you, I need to know what you do and who you do it for. And a lot of people just haven't thought through that exercise. Right. So how did you identify who the companies are that are most likely wanting to export and where you could add value and have the most success? Yeah. [00:16:48] Speaker A: So it was really a case of looking at what is being exported into China, first off, because that's our biggest export market, and it's quite a similar market to parts of Southeast Asia as far as what products people want. We started there and then we sort of arrived at. At the moment it's beef, honey and wine. And we started looking at some of the lesser served markets in Southeast Asia and saying, right, ok, you're already exporting here. We know you're an exporter. We know you can produce it. Can we open a new market for you? And the mechanics of the outreach were very simple. Exactly the same way you connected with Metro LinkedIn. It's a monster. It's an absolute beast. And whenever I find myself needing to talk to someone, I find it really effective just to reach out and ask the question. [00:17:43] Speaker B: And it's interesting because in the space that I'm in, every Facebook group I'm in, or Slack channel I'm in, everyone bags LinkedIn as being a spam playground. Right? I love LinkedIn. I actually think LinkedIn is great. I think there's two factors. One, you've got to know who you want to talk to, and I want to talk to anyone who's the reason that you and I connected is not because you're a marketing agency, but just because I think you're doing something interesting that is supplemental to what marketing agencies do. And also, I just had a conversation recently with the New Zealand marketing agency about this very topic. So I'm like, well, that's super interesting. Maybe I could just get you guys connected. Then when you and I connected and had a quick Zoom call, I'm like, you know what? Let's just get on the podcast. Because we were halfway through a conversation, I'm like, we should be recording this because I know my audience would find it valuable. Let's get on the podcast. Which is, I think, one of the good things about having a podcast, so you got to know who you want to talk to. But second of all, you have to know what you want them to do next. Right? And so with you, it was, I want to get you on the podcast so that made sense for me to reach out to you with a marketing agency. I just want to get on a call with them and see where they're stuck and if we can help them. So I think a lot of the reason that people have a bad experience on LinkedIn is because a lot of service providers will just have a scattergun approach and will just blast everyone and then your inbox kind of gets full of, did you, how did you identify beef, wine and honey? It's not like, I mean, I don't think, can I go to Google and say, hey, tell me what products are currently being exported from New Zealand into China, but aren't being exported into mean that. Was it Chad GPT that gave you that? [00:19:23] Speaker A: No, no. That process is trial and error like anything. Just keep talking to people and eventually you'll find the right fit. And that's why I sort of say my life is all about having conversations with people as far as what's not being exported into Vietnam and Cambodia, et cetera. Both myself and my business partner have got quite a bit of local knowledge in markets like that. That helps. We've also got an organization here called NZTE New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, which is our Oz trade. So connecting with them and talking to the people who are in country about what products they'd like to support to get into the country. So it's liaising with government here, it's liaising with distributors there. And the secret sauce is just between David and I. We've got nearly three decades of experience operating in the region, so we've got a fairly good idea of what's going to work. [00:20:25] Speaker B: How do you get attention of someone like NZ to you? I imagine they're quite busy and they probably have a lot know incoming spam that they're trying to arbitrage and triage. How do you get on a call with them? How do you get past the gatekeeper? [00:20:40] Speaker A: David did a lot of that work. He's a very good networker. And the thing about organizations like NZTE and also Education New Zealand, which is another one that we work with, they exist to support the industry. So if you're coming to them and you're saying, look, we've got a supplier, we've got a product, we've got a market, help us, they're really helpful. That's their. And it's just about not being afraid to ask the question. And also, most of these guys, they're really accessible. Again, you can connect with government people by cold outreach on LinkedIn. You just have to make sure that that 300 characters or whatever you've got to catch them has a hook that's going to interest them. [00:21:26] Speaker B: Yeah, Australia has Oz trade, which is the version. And again they're very willing. They're not great at picking up the phone, I must say, but they're very willing to help. They've been a great support to us over the last four or five years. They have a couple of grant schemes that we've benefited from. One is the export distribution marketing grant. So if you're an australian company making an australian product and you export it, which we are, we have a suite of products that they're digital products and services that we export to an american market predominantly they will offset some of your marketing costs to promote that product internationally. They also have an r and D grant, a research and development which actually it's not a grant, it's a tax offset. So essentially you can claim, I don't know what the amount is, but you can claim up to a certain amount per year which comes off the tax that the company has to pay. That is if you are genuinely doing research and development and trying to develop a new product to export into foreign markets. And during COVID one of the things that the australian government did was they accelerated those grants and those tax offsets and they paid them upfront in advance. It was a channel for helping businesses who otherwise may have been struggling to keep their staff employed and keep paying the bills was just to accelerate. So they've been an incredible support to us over the last few years. And again, they are all about wanting to support companies like yours and mine who are doing things to export australian products internationally. So, beef, wine and honey, what are some of the things that. Just walk me through some of the cultural changes that you need to make when you're marketing a New Zealand product to a southeast asian market? [00:23:20] Speaker A: Yeah, well, I mean, I think you mentioned you spent time in Thailand and Indonesia. I think you would have recognized that the collateral that's used in those markets, that appeals to the people in those markets is very different from what would appeal to a New Zealand or an Australian. Yep, and that's why we use local agencies, because they're the experts at that. And the one thing about brand New Zealand, it's got a really good reputation in many asian markets, like China, for instance. A lot of people don't necessarily trust locally produced products, but New Zealand has a reputation of high quality, high standards. So it's about telling that story, but it's about telling it in a way that is going to appeal to the eyeballs of a Southeast Asian. And that's a completely different situation to what you'd be doing if you were doing the same thing here. So a lot of the marketing that is done here doesn't really translate. So we start from scratch, really. [00:24:18] Speaker B: And in terms of not just the aesthetic of the product, but the positioning of it in our world, it's all about, do you position it as a premium product? What are the benefits? Not so much the features. How do we do? If you're dealing with high ticket services, it might be price anchoring or value proposition. So it's not just the aesthetic and the design of the collateral, but is the positioning of it and the way that it's communicated. [00:24:47] Speaker A: How is that mean? New Zealand products are always positioned as premium products. They come at a far higher cost than locally produced stuff, but they don't really compete on the shelf with local products. They're sitting there next to. Maybe in the case of beef in Cambodia, you might have it next to american beef and australian beef, but there are no local competitors that come close. So it's always a premium positioning. [00:25:18] Speaker B: And does that mean that the target market is smaller, but the margins are higher? [00:25:30] Speaker A: I'll use Cambodia as an example. It's, I think, forecasting 7% growth this year. It's the fastest growing economy in Southeast Asia. It's got a middle class that's just booming and they're really interested as they've got more and more money available to them. They're starting to explore a lot of these other products. So, I mean, that's just one example, but it's rapidly growing. And yet exports from New Zealand, they're lagging a bit behind. The Aussies are in there, of course, and the Americans are in there. And the opportunity in that burgeoning middle class is really where we fit in. So it might be a smaller market if you're looking at the entire population, but it's a very wealthy and highly motivated. [00:26:19] Speaker B: I mean, we've seen this happen in India and China, where the middle class has risen up and they have money and they want this lifestyle that they've seen for so long and they want access to these premium products. I don't know if you handle this, but I imagine that supply chain into those countries is a logistical nightmare. Is that something you help your clients navigate? [00:26:50] Speaker A: All of the people that we work with are experienced exporters, so they're good with getting a product on a plane and getting it to an airport or onto a boat where the supply chain becomes a nightmare is that you have no idea what sort of facilities your local agents and distributors have. And when you're dealing with products such as beef and honey, obviously there's spoilage. If honey is above 20 od degrees for an extended period of time, it crystallizes and it's worthless. That's where our relationships with people on the ground who we know have the capabilities to do that really come into play. [00:27:24] Speaker B: Right. I mean, there was a big story in Australia a few years ago about live export, the live export industry of exporting cattle into Indonesia and the way that those cattle were treated when they arrived in Indonesia, there was a massive backlash and that I am ignorant in terms of where that story is now, but I do remember it was national news for a week. There were strikes, there was talk about banning live cattle export from Australia, and there was a whole industry that was going to fall over if that happened. And it was big news. I also want to talk about, you mentioned Education New Zealand, and I remember we spoke about this when we first connected. So this is interesting because you're. Well, you tell us, I mean, you're exporting education, but you're importing international students, right? [00:28:10] Speaker A: Correct. Yep. So we have now run three large events in Cambodia, working with a total of seven New Zealand high schools. We've actually just formed a joint venture with a company in Cambodia to provide a complete agency service. So onboarding the students visas, all the rest of. So we're recruiting international students from Cambodia and hoping to add Lao to that this year as well. Next year. [00:28:35] Speaker B: Wow. And there's secondary students or university students? [00:28:39] Speaker A: Secondary students, actually. We're getting a lot of interest in universities, so we're working on expanding into universities in the new year. It's a huge market. And actually it was our first major deal was getting the education thing started. [00:28:57] Speaker B: After we incorporated, because international students into Australia is big business. I mean this respectfully, but how do you compete with that? How do you kind of go, well, hey, here's the value proposition. Here's why you should come to New Zealand. Yeah. [00:29:14] Speaker A: And I think that's a really good question because it's something that we. It's probably a big USP for the schools. Our agency arrangement only works for New Zealand educators. If they go into a market like Cambodia and attend like affair, they're going to find themselves standing next to australian institutions, american institutions and institutions from all over the world. And the New Zealand education system is every bit as good as any of the international competitors, but it gets lost in the noise so what we do is we make sure that the events are New Zealand only and all of our marketing and all of our support is focused on driving New Zealand. And that's really how we separate. [00:30:03] Speaker B: So, you know, selling in a vacuum, so to speak, where you're not up against the competition. That's smart. And what are international students coming to New Zealand to? [00:30:19] Speaker A: It's the schools here. Different schools specialize in different things, obviously, but some of them will come out here and complete their entire high school education here. There isn't a particular area that people fall into it, much like the australian market. [00:30:39] Speaker B: Good segue. And just a moment here to talk about our partner here at the podcast e two M solutions. When I first started out in, I don't know, 2008, I had a team working with me in India doing some web development and SEO. What I realized is sure there were some economic benefits of having staff in an emerging economy where the cost of labor was cheaper than hiring australian staff. So yes, there were some economic benefits, but what I didn't know at the time and what I learned is that the talent pool is also just way bigger. So I've had team over the years in India, in the Philippines. I've hired freelancers in Sri Lanka, in Bangladesh, in Pakistan, in Vietnam, in Indonesia. And not only are there economic benefits, but there is just a much bigger talent pool than little old Australia here. Right? And I would argue that even if you're in the states or the UK, that the talent pool of people who specialize in the type of tasks that you might need help with, web development, SEO, marketing tasks, the talent pool is really big in those emerging economies because they've seen an opportunity to skill up and serve australian, canadian, New Zealand, UK, american companies. The problem is that when you start doing this, there's a whole bunch of infrastructure, training, stable Internet, good stable electricity, reliable Internet, all that kind of stuff that you need to factor in processes, sops, people turning up on time, all that kind of stuff. So one of the things that you might want to consider is just instead of building your own team is just working with a company like e two M solutions who have 180 staff in their own head office in India. And literally it's a plug and play system. You plug into their system, they have a project manager that work with you in your tool of choice. So if you're in base camp three or ClickUp three or Asana or whatever you're using, they'll communicate with you in your slack channels, in your project management tool to make sure that they get the job done. And typically what they are really good at, their sweet spot is web development, WordPress web development and SEO and content completely white labeled so you can just manage the relationship with your client and leverage the systems, the process, the culture and the team that Manish and the guys at e two m have already built so that you can increase the capacity of what you can do for your clients and you can just get on with serving your clients, knowing that you've got e two m in your back pocket helping deliver all the stuff. So big plug for them, big shout out. Love the work that they're doing and we'll continue to work with them in the future. Check them out at e twomsolutions comagency Mavericks. I think the link is, we'll pop that link in the show notes here. And I think if you follow that link, you get a discount off your first month so you can take them for a spin. All right, back to the show. What are you most excited about? 2024. I mean, we're kind of teetering on the edge of a global recession. I see that inflation rates have come down in the states over the last 60 days. In Australia, they're starting to turn the RBA just put interest rates up again here in Australia. Are we going to see more interest rate rises next year? We're not sure. A lot of people are saying 2024 is going to be a bloodbath and it's going to be worse than 2023. Who knows? What are you most excited about for 2024 particular business? [00:34:11] Speaker A: I think we've got a number of new products that are going to be going into market early in the new year. We're really excited about that. And you can say that recessions are bloodbaths and all the rest of it, but recessions also generally make people rich, and businesses still need to sell their products. That doesn't change because as a business, if you suddenly no longer have that need, then you very quickly cease to exist. So I'm not overly concerned about all the doom and gloom. I try and ignore most of it. The planet has been through these cycles before and I'm sure it'll happen again. And it's about just putting your head down and carrying on. [00:34:51] Speaker B: Yeah, totally. I agree 100%. It's just interesting. And I think it's a mindset. I mean, you need to be aware of what's happening, but I think it's a mindset thing that you can. And it's funny because the episode of the podcast we just shot this morning was with a psychologist and she talked about the fact that what fires together, wires together. Right. So what you focus on is what you attract, what you think about is what you manifest. And again, in the heat of battle, when you're getting shot at, you can run away and retreat and put your head under the covers, or you can dodge the bullets and just keep moving forward, which I think is the mindset that you should adopt. [00:35:25] Speaker A: I mean, problems are going to happen. It's how you respond to them that defines you. And I think that's a core value of mine, that you, grace under fire, keep coming, carry on, and try not to catastrophize. Be mindful, be present. That thing that's going through your mind, that is the absolute worst possible outcome, 99.9% of the time is not going to happen. Right. [00:35:55] Speaker B: I had a phone call with my brother last night about this, and I said, he taught me something years ago. He said, when you're trying to go to sleep at night or you wake up in the middle of the night or you wake up first thing in the morning, any of those moments, don't pay any attention to what's going on, the voices in your head, right? The thoughts in your head, because they are just there to sabotage you and bring you. And he said, it's your subconscious. The filing cabinet is open and it's got all the paperwork out and it's trying to sort it all out and it's trying to problem solve. So just don't pay any attention to it. Because if you listen to that, you just pull your head over the covers, right? Get out of bed, have a shower, make a coffee, walk out of the sun in the cold light of day. Then think about the problems that you've got and you'll be far better equipped to solve them. Good advice, I think, for anyone. So I'm going to ask one question, and I need to ask this because I'm thinking specifically of this New Zealand marketing agency. If I'm a marketing agency, I'm dealing with a client they're wanting to export. I spoke about this at an event a couple of years ago. I think the marketing agency of the future is a combination of done for you services and information around other of things that we don't do, but we can get you connected with. I call them playbooks. So if there are marketing agency dealing with a company who wants to start exporting and all of a sudden the marketing agency is like, well, we don't know how to do that. What are the sort of the first couple of things that an exporter should be thinking about when they're kind of getting ready to package themselves up to go after an international market that aren't marketing related. [00:37:28] Speaker A: I think it's about making sure that your product can actually get into the market. Understanding ftas, understanding regulations, coming to terms with all sorts of fun stuff like tariffs and customs duties and what workarounds, learning about how different ftas interact with each other so that you know exactly what you're going to be dealing with and then really understanding local regulations around what products need to be registered. So in Vietnam, there's a cost where you have to register every SKU with the government, and that comes at a fee of a few hundred us dollars that has to be renewed every three years. You need to know that. You need to be prepared for that because that could come as an unexpected cost. Especially if you're sending in, you want to send 30 different skus into market and suddenly you find yourself with a bill for $4,000, which you weren't expecting. So it's about that. Those are the first steps for me. [00:38:24] Speaker B: And there's a lot to navigate there. So what's the best way for people to get in touch with you and to get some advice from you guys and to maybe engage you guys? [00:38:35] Speaker A: Yes, they can just go to aseans. Net or feel free to email me. [email protected] and also, I absolutely accept any requests that come through LinkedIn. So feel free to put a link to my LinkedIn profile and people can connect that way. [00:38:50] Speaker B: We will do all of those things. We'll definitely put links in the show notes to the website and your LinkedIn profile so people can reach out. And I will personally send this episode of the podcast to the marketing agency in New Zealand to make that introduction. [00:39:02] Speaker A: Fantastic. I look forward to talking with them. [00:39:04] Speaker B: And just finally, before I let you go, what other products, apart from food and wine, do you think are ripe for exporting, know, from Australia or New Zealand, what other products are there apart from food and wine that are good opportunities for export into international markets? [00:39:22] Speaker A: We sort of focus on food and wine because I don't want to say it's easier, but it's continuing and there's a big market for it. But I think there's art, there's all sorts of stuff, and particularly in New Zealand's case, there's a lot of really talented sculptors, jewelry makers like Greenstone. You would have seen the sort of maori style greenstone carved stuff. And I think there's a market for all of that. But I think we started with food and wine because there's a lot of suppliers that are interested in the market, and there's a lot of people in the market that are interested in that. And seafood was another one, actually, that we did some work on last year. So seafood is a big one, but obviously that's food as well. [00:40:16] Speaker B: Yeah, really. Where there's a lot of demand, there's a lot of supply, but there's this big problem in the middle of navigating the stuff to get the supply into the demand, and that's where you guys fit in. [00:40:27] Speaker A: Absolutely. And one big thing that we're finding also is that the chinese market is softening. So there's a lot of excess supply. Stuff that would have gone to China is now available where previously all of that supply was fully committed to the chinese market. So suppliers, so producers here are actually more interested in diversifying. [00:40:46] Speaker B: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for hanging out with us on the agency hour podcast. I really appreciate your time. I know this is your first podcast. I thank you so much for doing this, and I hope you go on to do many more. I think it's a very interesting topic. And as I said, I think it's something that marketing agencies don't often think about, but they should be across, because we are an international playground these days. And if there are opportunities where marketing agencies can connect their clients with other people and just become really valuable in their network, I think that's a win win for everyone. [00:41:16] Speaker A: Absolutely. All right, well, thank you, Troy. I appreciate it. [00:41:19] Speaker B: Pleasure, Damon. Thanks for joining us on the agency hour podcast. We'll keep in touch. [00:41:23] Speaker A: Cheers, mate. [00:41:25] Speaker B: Hey, thanks for listening to the agency hour podcast. And a massive thanks to Damon for joining us on his first ever podcast. I hope he goes on and does more of them. Okay, folks, please don't forget to subscribe. And please share this with anyone you think think may need to hear it. I'm Troy Dean, and remember, Jupiter is twice as large as all of the other planets combined.

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