So, you finally have a seemingly exportable product; it meets the trade statutory requirements of the importing country, and it can easily be modified to meet the needs of your potential new market. A third consideration, however, is missing. That consideration is the product-market relationship, in other words, the sales potential of your products in your prospective international marketing environments. Venturing into exports without evaluating this potential can have costly consequences. To avoid these, you need to gather a great deal of knowledge about the new market, ranging from customer buying habits to the activities of competitors. In this article, we explore how and where you can find this information.
How to Evaluate the International Environment
Finding this information entails having to conduct research – marketing research to be exact. Marketing research will uncover vital information that will help you to prepare your product for the new market. If you are planning to sell a range of women’s accessories to companies in the United Kingdom, for example, through marketing research, you could discover valuable information on customer perceptions of product quality and pricing, the effectiveness of various promotional and distribution channels, as well as competitor tactics.
The Types of International Marketing Research
The two types of marketing research are secondary research and primary research.
Secondary research, also referred to as desk research, is the type with which we are all probably familiar. It involves collecting data which already exists. Sources of secondary research include industry journals; company reports and other internet tools.
Primary research, on the other hand, requires a more hands-on approach because it involves visiting the market concerned and talking to potential buyers, agents and distributors. In-market research (as primary research is generally known) is usually the only way to gauge customer perceptions of the value of your product, as well as information on competitor activities.
Where to Find International Environment Information
Sources of information for secondary research include trade statistics sourced from embassies as well as trade offices in the foreign market you are targeting. International organisations issue surveys and reports which can provide insight into the foreign trade activities, economic performance, and the growth prospects of countries. Individual company websites can also prove to be secondary sources of potential buyer and distribution channel information.
When evaluating your products’ export potential, understanding the market you are entering is of paramount importance. One way to gather this information is through marketing research which answers the questions, “How much can I charge for my product?” and “Do I need to adapt my product in any way for the new market?”. Trade Forward Southern Africa, in collaboration with the International Trade Institute of Southern Africa has developed a comprehensive online training course, of which Module 3, ‘An Introduction to International Marketing’ covers ways to evaluate your export potential and compete in the international environment. Click the link below to sign up for free and get started!
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