To successfully export your product, you should examine foreign markets through research. The purpose is to identify marketing opportunities and constraints abroad, as well as to identify prospective buyers and customers.
Market research encompasses all methods that a company can use to determine which foreign markets have the best potential for its products. Results of this research inform the firm of: the largest markets for its product, the fastest growing markets, market trends and outlook, market conditions and practices, and competitive firms and products.
Your firm may begin to export without conducting any market research if it receives unsolicited orders from abroad. Although this type of selling is valuable, the company may discover even more promising markets by conducting a systematic search. If your firm opts to export indirectly (see Chapter 4) by using an intermediary such as an Export Management Company (EMC) or Export Trading Company (ETC), you may wish to select markets to enter before selecting the intermediary. Because many intermediaries such as EMCs and ETCs have strengths in certain markets, it is valuable to select the intermediary after deciding on markets to enter. You may also want to do market research if you export indirectly.
When conducting secondar
y market research, a company collects data from various sources, such as trade statistics for a country or a product. Working with secondary sources is less expensive and helps the company focus its marketing efforts. Although secondary data sources are critical to market research, they do have limitations. The most recent statistics for some countries may be more than two years old. Moreover, the data may be too broad to be of much value to a company. Statistics may also be distorted by incomplete data-gathering techniques. Finally, statistics for services are often unavailable. Yet, even with these limitations, secondary research is a valuable and relatively easy first step for a company to take. It may be the only step needed if the company decides to export indirectly, since the intermediary firm may have advanced research capabilities.
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