07 Feb Market Research Shortcuts
I’ve seen many business owners attain success without spending time or money on market and competitor research, or at least that’s the way it looks. While these savvy business owners don’t have anything formal written down in terms of market research or a marketing plan, that doesn’t mean they don’t have a keen understanding of their customers and their competition, and what it takes to be profitable. Just by being in business, these sharks are observing, calculating, and responding to market needs, all the while learning about their shortcomings and their opportunities.
So why do formal market research at all?
There are two scenarios when doing formal market research is worth the effort, or even required:
1. When you’re starting up a business.
If you’re asking for a bank loan or approaching investors, they’re going to expect a formalized analysis of the market opportunity, and that requires research.
2. When you’re entering a global market for the first time.
Because foreign markets (even domestic second language markets) can differ greatly from your current business, doing your market research before pulling the trigger can save you lots of time and money.
While Fortune 500 companies can pay tens of thousands of dollars to global research firms like Euromonitor, Datamonitor, and Nielsen for their reports, as a small to medium sized business with few resources to put towards international or second-language expansion, you have other options. You can hire us to do it for you, or you can tackle it on your own.
Here are some free and inexpensive ways to get your research:
1. Download an industry report.
- The International Trade Administration’s TopMarkets Series offers free industry-level reports comparing opportunities across countries.
- Here’s the USDA’s Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook from last September.
- Here are reports on Wine and Grapes from the AgMRC.
2. Attend an industry event
Participate in a conference, expo, etc., where you can talk to others in your market space—including customers, competitors, suppliers, and partners—to obtain real-time information about the market for your product or service. Here are a few events happening soon in our region:
- Food Processing Expo, Feb. 8-9
- NorCal Agriculture, Feb. 16
- Next Gen Energy Storage, Feb. 14-16
- Game Developers Conference, Feb. 27-Mar. 3
- SF Health & Fitness Expo, Mar. 24-25
- Fashion Market Northern California, Apr. 23-25
3. Access Country Commercial Guides (CCGs).
Export.gov offers free CCGs on more than 125 countries, providing insight into market conditions, opportunities, regulations, and business customs. This is a great place to start if you’re considering entering new markets in other countries.
4. Listen to some free webinars.
- You can find webinars on almost any topic you seek, from doing business in Indonesia and building an export strategy, to setting up distribution channels and understanding Incoterms. Here are just a few examples.
- How to Identify Potential International Markets
- Using Export Data to Find Markets and Price Products
- Exporting to Mexico: Common INCOTERM Practices
By Nina Gibbs, Managing Director
Savi Global provides business planning and advising, marketing strategy, and translation and interpretation services to American companies working globally and to internationals starting business in the U.S. For more tips, advice, and resources for your global business, subscribe to Savi Global’s monthly eNewsletter.