ECA

Market Research

Market research is critical to successful export marketing. Knowledge of the target market enables you to determine what motivates buying decisions. It helps you choose a location, determine the product or services to offer, establish pricing and plan a selling strategy.

For effective marketing, it is important that you have a good understanding of your target market. This will help you to prepare your marketing strategies and plans. You need to gather information relevant to your product or service, your target market and distribution objectives.

You will usually document general market statistics, such as, population, including demographics relevant to your product or service, for example, women 25–36 years living in metropolitan areas, earning in excess of $US200 per week – 50,000. General market information might also include the geographic spread of population, trends etc. Per capita income, especially disposable income, is also important in general terms and specific to your target market. 

Other topics include:

  • Government: democratic, stability of government, election cycle, important issues relating to how the country is governed
  • Language: most common language, dialects, language of business and user (they can be different)
  • Culture: racial mix, religion/s, gender issues or practices
  • Legal and regulatory issues: tariffs, approval processes, media restrictions, banking regulations etc.

Most importantly you must understand and document the business culture. This is not about the etiquette, but knowing and understanding how business works in the country in which you plan to do business. This includes:

  • Decision making – who really makes the decisions in terms of regulatory requirements, and how this works
  • Who the key drivers are in your market and what influence they have
  • How well your competition is connected to the key decision makers
  • You should set out to answer the following questions:
  • Who makes up the target market?
  • What do they want?
  • When do they need it?
  • Where does it sell best?
  • How can it be best be taken to them?
  • Why do they want/ need your produce?
  • What are your competitors doing?

There are 3 general steps:

  1. Secondary market research: research on your potential market (the internet and Austrade can be your friend as can AUSVEG!)
  2. Market visit: visit potential distributors, talking to other companies in the market, market access agencies etc. Visiting a supermarket!
  3. Primary market research: direct contact with experts, customers or other sources of information. This could invite interviews and consultations.

The ECA runs tailored workshops on marketing and international market growth. 

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Dee-Ann Prather, Down Under Enterprises International
NSW Women in Global Business Award winner
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