Could your business succeed abroad?
Making guesswork of your product’s potential in a new market is never an option. With proper research you’ll learn how it’s likely to be received, before you invest.
Gut instinct or a rush of orders from overseas – just a couple of reasons why you may be considering a new market for your product. While these indicators shouldn’t be ignored, it pays to gauge demand properly before investing time and money in exporting to somewhere new.
Remember the need or desire for products can differ dramatically from place to place. So just because your product has done well in one market doesn’t mean it will automatically succeed in another.
Research your intended market to find out which sectors are thriving
Look at your intended market. Find out which sectors are thriving and where further growth is expected. Is your product in a growth sector? Don’t worry if it isn’t, it could still benefit if it’s got strong links to a thriving sector.
Economic and legal considerations
Look at your target market economy and its forecasts
How’s the economy doing in your proposed market? You need to look at size of the economy and forecasts for it. What’s the make up of the population, their level of income, and purchasing power?
Compliance differs from country to country. Have you checked that your product meets the latest in-country standards and regulations? It may need to be put through special testing, safety, quality, and technical conformity measures. Check with your intended country’s department of trade.
Find out if your competitors have a presence in your target market
Find out if any of your competitors export to your target market. If they’re doing well, don’t let that deter you. A trend may be emerging for the type of products you make indicating there’s room for you too.
Meanwhile, products with unique features tend to have a competitive edge and do well overseas. Think about how distinctive your product is from the competition in terms of its patent, quality, or technology. If its features are hard to replicate abroad, then it’s likely your product could be in demand.
Social and cultural factors
Make sure your brand or product name works in your target market
Everyone’s heard about product names that were changed for export so as not to cause offence. Ensure your product’s name works in your target market before exporting or consider re-naming it.
Similarly, familiarise yourself with all relevant religious, social and aesthetic values in your intended market. They’ll play an important part in whether your product will be well received. You may need to alter colours, sizes, and packaging to satisfy local consumer preferences.
Commission a report from a reputable market research company
One of the easiest ways to look into all these critical factors and assess your product’s potential is to commission an in-depth report from a reputable market research company. It will be able to assess local motivations and buying behaviour.
An alternative and potentially more economical approach is to look online for reports by professional services companies that cover your market. Alternatively you’ll find specialist market research journals in business libraries. Use these, along with information from a country’s statistics office, to build up a picture of a place and potential customers.
Learn more about your target market market by spending time there
Other good sources of information are in-country Chambers of Commerce. Not only can they give you direct market insights, they can also put you in contact with relevant businesses in your intended market. You’ll be able to ask the right questions yourself. It’s also worth going to overseas events, trade fairs or trade missions. They’re a useful way to learn face to face about your target market.
Make a checklist
Use your current market learnings to predict your potential for success
Finally, make a list of all the reasons why your product has been a success in its existing markets. Rate on a scale of 1-10 how critical they are to its success. If the high-scoring factors also exist in your target market, demand for your product could be strong.
- Global Marketing Strategy – an Executive Digest, Schlegelmilch B
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