6 Winning Strategies for Market Penetration and International Success

Read time: 3 min


February 12, 2024


Every company wants to grow. After all, conquering new markets is necessary to achieve sustained growth. But growing locally and growing internationally are two completely different species of success. To enter new markets requires a lot of effort, strategic planning, and inner structural changes. So, does that mean market penetration is impossible for businesses that aren’t multi-million dollar companies? Of course not. However, those smaller companies should keep asking themselves one important question:

What do successful businesses do to put themselves into a position of sustained growth?

What is Market Penetration?

Simply put, market penetration is a measure of how much customers are using a product or service compared to the total estimated market for that product or service.

Let’s imagine a new smartphone released on the market. How many people know about this smartphone, and how many actually use it? Now, compare that number to the number of people who use smartphones. That’s what market penetration is all about. 

It measures how much a product or service is recognized and used by customers in a particular area. Think of it as a way to see how popular and successful a company’s product is in a market.

Market penetration rate helps companies (aside from measuring their sales) figure out if their products are hitting the mark or if they need to try harder to get people’s attention and trust. 

For a company aiming to grow globally, knowing their market penetration in different regions helps them make smart decisions about where to focus their efforts and how to adapt their products for new markets.

How To Calculate Market Penetration Rate

Calculating your market penetration rate is fairly easy. Here’s the formula:

(Number of Customers / Target Market Size)×100 = Market Penetration Rate

Let’s break it down. First, a company needs to know the number of customers who are using its product or service. Then, it compares this number to the total number of potential customers – that’s the target market size

For example, if a company sells bicycles, the target market size could be everyone in a city interested in buying bicycles. The business gets a percentage by dividing the number of customers by the total target market and multiplying by 100. 

This percentage is the market penetration rate. It shows the portion of the market the company has reached with its product.

Ansoff Matrix

We cannot have a conversation about market penetration and international growth without the Ansoff Matrix. It’s a fundamental tool in business strategy, developed by H. Igor Ansoff and it was introduced in 1957. 

This two-by-two framework management teams and analysts use to plan and assess growth initiatives. Basically, the Ansoff Matrix helps them visualize and evaluate the risks that come with different expansion strategies.


The Ansoff Matrix simplifies strategic decision-making by featuring Products on the X-axis and Markets on the Y-axis. The result is four quadrants that represent different growth strategies

These quadrants help businesses assess the relative attractiveness of expanding with existing products in current markets, introducing new products, exploring new markets, or diversifying.

And when the graph says “markets”, it means geographical regions as well as customer-specific segments or demographics. In a nutshell, it’s meant to help businesses adapt their strategies to their specific market conditions and objectives.

The Ansoff Matrix is often used in conjunction with other business and industry analysis tools (such as PESTEL, SWOT, and Porter’s 5 Forces) to improve their assessment. This helps businesses make better decisions and understand their growth strategies within the context of broader drivers and dynamics of the industry.

This matrix has been used for over 50 years, and it’s still one of the most important tools to plan and implement growth strategies.

Strategies For Market Penetration

You now have almost all the tools your company will need to set a plan for conquering new markets. It’s time to discuss specific strategies to utilize:

1. Change Your Pricing

Pricing is the factor that will decide if your expansion ambitions will be fruitful. 

Setting up competitive pricing will attract new customers and help you gain ground in the market share. 

2. Revamp Your Marketing Efforts

Creating an innovative marketing campaign that resonates with the local culture will significantly boost your brand in the new market.

But you’ll have to understand cultural nuances and local customer behavior to do this successfully.

3. Identify the Need for a New Product and Launch It

If you can identify and meet a market need, you have already done half of the work. Do detailed market research to understand customer preferences, behaviors, and emerging trends. 

Then, do a competitor research. This will allow you to identify what they offer and where they fall short. In other words, you’ll discover a gap. Once a gap is identified, you can finally develop a product that addresses that specific need.

If you can address a need that has been left unmet, you will set your business apart from competitors and get a chance to establish a strong market presence.

4. Update or Change Your Product

Sometimes, you won’t have to develop a new product from the ground up. Minor tweaks might just do the trick.

Minor adjustments might involve updating certain features, improving quality, or tweaking the design based on customer feedback and market trends. 

For example, a technology company may improve its smartphone’s camera features or battery life to meet user demands for higher functionality.

In cases where markets are very different in terms of culture and consumer behavior, more extensive changes to the product may be necessary. This could mean altering the fundamental aspects of a product to suit different tastes and preferences, such as modifying the ingredients of a food item to cater to regional palates. 

5. Offer Franchise Opportunities

In this model, a company (the franchisor) grants the rights to use its brand and operate under its business model to an individual or entity (the franchisee). This approach is particularly effective because it allows for expansion without the massive costs and risks of opening new locations.

Franchisees, often locals, bring invaluable insights into regional market dynamics, consumer behavior, and cultural preferences, which are the main ingredients for success in international markets.

The franchise model offers several advantages. Firstly, it leverages local expertise, as franchisees understand their region’s specific market needs and can adapt the business accordingly. 

Secondly, it facilitates growth with less financial strain on the franchisor, as franchisees usually bear the costs of setting up and operating new locations.

Lastly, franchising fosters a network of dedicated business owners directly investing in your brand’s success. This often leads to higher operational standards and customer service levels, as franchisees are committed to maintaining the brand’s reputation and their profitability.

6. Offer a Promotional Program To Boost Loyalty

A fresh promotional program is an excellent strategic move to spark interest and entice buyers to choose your product or service. These programs aim to create repeat customers and incentivize them to keep choosing you over the competition.

Offer exclusive deals, discounts, or rewards, and you’ll create a sense of value and appreciation in your customers. Which, in time, will turn them into a loyal customer base.

Moreover, loyalty programs and promotional offers are an opportunity to gather valuable customer data. This data can then be used to tailor your marketing efforts and product development to meet customer’s needs better. 

Despite sounding simple, promotional programs are complex strategies that boost your market penetration rate and build the foundation for growing a loyal customer base.



Conquering foreign markets is complex work. It demands adaptability, continuous learning, and a lot of foresight. And above all, it requires the will and resources to fail and try again.

But penetrating the market, creating a product that resonates with diverse groups, and establishing a stable presence in a foreign culture – if you succeed at these, you can proudly say that your company has achieved success. 

Helping companies conquer foreign markets is one of Assisto’s hallmark services. If this is your mission, we’d be more than happy to help.

So contact us, and let’s grow your business beyond your wildest imagination!


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