The importance of market research before expanding Internationally

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Guest article by Mattia Orsi, founder - Orsim Consulting

Among the things you need to be doing in order to expand your business successfully, market research is one of those things that should not be half-assed. Several companies have been successful for a long time because their owners have conducted complete and thorough market research in order to properly understand their target market and what they need. 

Market research is also a great way for entrepreneurs to keep up with market trends and maintain the competitive edge by sizing up your business opportunity. 

Market research can be carried out at different stages of your business life cycle, from pre-launch and beyond, and having a greater understanding of your marketplace from the very start will enable you to create a sound business strategy to establish and grow your brand into one that’s superior than your competitors’. 

 

Primary & Second Market: 

The scope of the market research is generally influenced by your overall objectives, mainly what you want to learn about your market as well as the external factors influencing it?

Your objectives will also determine the kind of market research you will need to undertake in order to be successful:

 

Primary market research covers:

●     Assess the active competition within the market

●     Sales effectiveness monitoring 

●     Understanding the channels of communication used by competitors

●     Figuring out the quality of services provided by competitors

 

Secondary market research covers:

●     Existing surveys and studies

●     Published company reports data

●     Government data

●     Newspaper reports

While primary market research is a kind of market research which can be carried out individually and with the aim of collecting unique data that can be used to improve products, secondary market research is a different type of market research since it relies on information that has already been available from different sources. 

 

The four steps of successful market research:

●     Look out for whether or not the research or something similar has been done before

●     If so, analyse the existing relevant data that meets your objectives, assuming that it meets your budget

●     Figure out how said data will be used, and by whom. 

●     Figure out whether or not you need to conduct your own primary research and with who 

 

 

Understanding your different customers: 

Generally, new businesses will encounter three different types of customer, and market research gives you the ability to understand how your target customers think and adapt to their needs in order to turn them into regular customers and brand advocates.

 

The ‘savvy’ purchaser: 

Someone that’s not necessarily concerned with the quality or effectiveness of a product or service, but who is rather is determined to get the best possible value. A ‘savvy’ customer is someone that’s likely to be aware of all the prices offered by your major competitors, secondary market research to understand whether your products or services will be priced competitively will therefore need to be done in order to understand these customers properly.

If it you know that your products or services will not be the cheapest it’s best to know now in order to provide compelling evidence to potential purchasers why they should continue to buy through you; based on quality and reliability for instance.

 

The industry influencer: 

Someone not only highly knowledgeable about your target market but also able to influence other prospective customers that trust their opinion.

The industry expert will not be fixated on the price of a product or service, rather, they are often more concerned with the value and quality. They make perfect candidates to use for primary market research, allowing them to use your products or services, garnering their opinion on them and the market as a whole.

 

 

The end-user: 

A customer that will actually use your products or services daily. They  make for excellent candidates for primary market research as well, allowing you to understand their frustrations and limitations which is ideal if you’re still in the process of developing and designing new products. Listening to their feedback is going to be very important because it will provide you with some critical information about how they think your product should work, which will then give you a competitive advantage over the rest of the market. 

 

The value of market research reports

Besides talking to target customers, published market reports seem to have a significant value. While several of these are freely available in libraries, business groups and trade associations, 

you can get access to more than £5m worth of current market reports from leading publishers such as Mintel, Frost & Sullivan, Passport and many, many more at the Business & IP Centre. They’re all very useful for keeping up with the changing trends and investigating new markets.

However, it is very important to understand these market research reports in isolated ways. While some generalised industry research may not be totally applicable to your target market; nor is it a guarantee of consumer demand in your area, you will still need to be sure to take note of the date of publication as well. Indeed,  in fast-paced industries much like technology, a report that’s even a year or two old could already be outdated.

If you think you have  a great business idea, it’s very important and even primordial that you test it against what’s already available on the market. 

Conducting a market research is therefore a very important part of the process and something that could even determine whether or not your business will be successful in the future. If you would like some more advice regarding what to do in order to properly conduct a market research, do not hesitate to talk to experts in the field to gain more understanding on what you will need to do in order to expand successfully.