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Step 7: Selecting and researching potential countries/markets abroad

You are here:Step 7: Selecting and researching potential countries/markets abroad > Implementing the research brief > Evaluate the shortlisted countries in more detail > Circumstances favouring agency research



Circumstances favouring agency research


The use of a market research agency is likely to be preferred when:

  • You have little or no experience of a foreign market and/or you are likely to experience communication difficulties (linguistic or cultural). The assistance of a market research agency based in the foreign market could be invaluable, as they should have a thorough knowledge of the language, customs and trading practices of the population concerned, and might also have useful contacts within various market or industry sectors.
  • The anticipated volume of foreign business is small. In such a case, you might employ the services of a market research agency on a one-off basis, as this would be more economical than hiring the staff necessary to perform the task in-house.
  • Your company has limited market research resources, or its resources are already committed elsewhere. Even if there is a need for only limited research, a small company may not be able to spare the necessary work force to carry it out.
  • Your firm has no point of contact in the foreign market - e.g. you are selling to a local trading house, or to an agent or distributor in the foreign marketplace, or perhaps a licensee is undertaking the distribution in the foreign marketplace. In such cases, the amount of market intelligence available to your company will be limited and a market research agency based in the foreign market will provide your firm with regular feedback on the level of consumer acceptance of the product(s) in question, possible also on competition you are likely to encounter.
  • The required research is of a highly specialised nature, e.g. motivational research. There are times when informed marketing decisions can be made only based on in-depth information about the motivation of buyers acquired through interviews with large numbers of people and analysed using sophisticated forecasting techniques. Most exporting companies do not have the expertise or work force to conduct specialised research of this nature.
  • You are exploring markets where competition is particularly fierce. The lead-time to the launch stage could be critical in forestalling competition and your firm might be able to act quicker if it had access to the resources and established contacts which only a specialist agency can provide.
  • There is a clear need for an independent and objective assessment of the market. Research agents are not likely to have any subjective involvement with the project, product(s) or the market(s) under investigation and they would not, therefore, be tempted to distort results to make them more palatable to management.

Although market research agencies are expensive, these costs are often less than that required to cover the time, expenses and travel of an in-house researcher, not forgetting the cost of office space, secretarial facilities, etc. Ultimately the decision to use either an external research agency or in-house facilities must be taken in the light of both the particular circumstances prevailing at the time and practical economic considerations.

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Step 7: more information

Step 7: Selecting and researching potential countries/markets abroad
      Preparing a research brief
      Implementing the research brief
            Compile a shortlist of countries
            Evaluate the shortlisted countries in more detail
                        .Focusing on the customer – Undertaking marketing research
                              in your foreign target market
                        .Circumstances favouring in-house research
                        .Commissioning an external market research agency
                        .Checklist for selecting a marketing research agency
                        .Desk research
                        .In-market research
      Preparing a research report


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More information on Step 7
Learning to export...
The export process in 21 easy steps
Step 1: Considering exporting
Step 2:Current business viability
Step 3:Export readiness
Step 4:Broad mission statement and initial budget
Step 5:Confirming management's commitment to exports
Step 6: Undertaking an initial SWOT analysis of the firm
Step 7:Selecting and researching potential countries abroad
Step 8: Preparing and implementing your export plan
Step 9: Obtaining financing for your exports
Step 10: Managing your export risk
Step 11: Promoting the firm and its products abroad
Step 12: Negotiating and quoting in exports
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Step 14: Obtaining the export order
Step 15: Producing the goods
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Step 19: Getting paid
Step 20: Reviewing and improving the export process
Step 21: Export Management
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