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Market research : how to study your market when going abroad?

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I was pleased to be invited by Hub.Brussels on 14 June 2019 to give a workshop on how to do a market research for export.
The workshop was part of the export week 2019 that was jointly organized by BECI and Hub.Brussels.

3 essential techniques to carry a market research when going abroad

Based on the B2C guide to market research and B2B guide to market research we published earlier this year, I presented the 3 essential steps of a market research applied to export :

  • PESTEL analysis
  • Competition analysis
  • Demand analysis

PESTEL analysis : why it’s important for export markets

The PESTEL analysis allows you to examine all factors you can’t control and that will impact your market (and hence your projects). When going abroad (especially if you want to export outside the European Union) it’s particularly important that you carefully to your PESTEL analysis. Legal and political aspects in particular can be deadly for a new venture if not carefully checked.
If you want to know everything about the PESTEL analysis, please refer to our online guide to market research as well as to our online course.

Competition analysis

Once your PESTEL analysis is done, the next think to do is to understand the competitive landscape. That’s where competition analysis comes in.
Several frameworks exist to help you structure your analysis. I chose to present the Porter’s 5 Forces canvas.
Whatever the approach for the competition analysis you’ll need to collect information about your competitors. In certain countries it’ll be more difficult than in others.
Here are the various ways to collect that information:

  • desk research
  • field study (mystery shopping can help even in B2B settings)
  • network of economic and commercial attachés
  • embassies and consulates have also a network of economic attachés who can help find local information

Demand analysis

If you have time constraints for your market research we suggest you focus on the most effective approaches :

  • in B2C : online surveys with a representative panel of consumers
  • in B2B : individual qualitative interviews (at least 10, ideally 20)

If you have any market research related question, feel free to get in touch with us.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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