Plan Your Market Entry Strategy: Research the Global Market PlaceMethods of Market Research
Find Foreign Export Markets
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U.S. Export Market ResearchMarket research is critical to selecting your initial export markets. It helps you identify marketing opportunities and constraints abroad, as well as prospective buyers and customers. Market research encompasses all methods that may determine which foreign markets have the best potential. You may research a market by using either primary or secondary data resources. Results of this research tell you:
- The largest markets and fastest-growing markets for your product.
- Market trends and outlook.
- Market conditions and practices.
- Competing companies and products.
Primary Market Research
- Conducting primary market research involves collecting data directly from the foreign marketplace through interviews, surveys, and other direct contact with representatives and potential buyers.
- Primary market research has the advantage of being tailored to your company’s needs and provides answers to specific questions. However, the collection of such data on your own is time consuming and expensive and may not be comprehensive.
- The U.S. Commercial Service can collect primary data for you and help you analyze it. This service costs, on average, several hundred dollars for each market analyzed and does not require you to travel there. The U.S. Commercial Service can also help you find intermediaries with specific market expertise.
Secondary Market Research
- When conducting secondary market research, your company collects data from various sources, such as trade statistics for a country or a product. Secondary sources are less expensive and helps your company focus its marketing efforts. Secondary data sources are critical to market research, but has limitations. The most recent statistics for some countries may be more than a few years old, or the data may be too broad to be of much value to your company..
- Once you’ve decided that your company is able to export and is committed to it, populate your export plan with data and insights gleaned from available sources. A customized export plan is a valuable strategic and operational tool for growing the export side of your business.
- This last advantage is especially important. Building an international business takes time. It often takes months, sometimes even years, before an exporting company begins to see a return on its investment. By committing to the specifics of a written plan you can help ensure that your company will finish what it begins, and that the hopes that prompted your export efforts will be fulfilled.
Methods of Market Research: Secondary InformationBecause of the expense of primary market research, most companies rely on secondary data sources. The below recommendations will help you obtain useful secondary information:
1. Keep abreast of world events that influence the global marketplace.
Watch for announcements of specific projects, or simply visit potential markets. For example, a thawing of political hostilities often leads to the opening of economic channels between countries. A steep depreciation in the value of the dollar can make your product considerably more competitive. The opposite can happen when the dollar appreciates, making some markets less attractive.
2. Analyze trade and economic statistics.
3. Obtain advice from experts:
- Contact experts at the U.S. Department of Commerce and other government agencies by visiting export.gov, the U.S. government’s export portal.
- Attend seminars, workshops, and international trade shows in your industry.
- Hire an international trade and marketing consultant.
- Contact trade and industry associations.
- Talk with successful exporters of similar products, including members of District Export Councils in your local area.
Export.gov, the U.S. federal government’s export assistance portal, links to many resources, including the following:
- Locate a trade expert and learn about the services of the U.S. Commercial Service’s global office network. .
- Country Commercial Guides provide the latest market intelligence on more than 140 countries from U.S. embassies worldwide.
- Get up-to-date numbers for U.S. export sales to worldwide destinations through trade/industry statistics.
- Gather meaningful intelligence on overseas markets through our webinars.
- A Basic Guide to Exporting is an excellent resource for market research. See Chapter 3: Developing a Marketing Plan.
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