Top 5 market research tips straight from the experts


Market research tips and planning on paper


“Market research minimizes the risk of failure because you get to know who your target audience is and establish their needs. It can provide an assessment of the size of the market, its growth prospects, the distribution routes, the market segments, etc.” – Frida A.Owinga

Knowledge is power

“One of the most experienced clients I’ve had, whom I have learnt a lot from, was a sales manager of a food technology company in the U.K. He wouldn’t land in a country without knowing it well, so he subcontracted research for every new market.

Why? He told me he needed knowledge for negotiations, both with his clients and his partners. His partners knew he meant business because he knew his stuff. He wasn’t just parachuting into Latin America, like too many foreign firms do nowadays.

He knew how large his market was, which clients the distributor should be tackling, and what growth to expect. He also knew which projects were coming up and who the industry influencers were.”

When you start off in a country you don’t know, you can’t afford to be seen as lost, disengaged or uninformed. Market research gives you confidence, and power. – Gaby Castro-Fontoura 

Determine if that international market is really the right one for you

“In answering this question you need to evaluate the real market opportunities which require you to undertake detailed market research for your product or service.

You also need to figure out the key factors that will determine your success. These could be increased sales, new partnerships, new suppliers or any host of things. You also must identify who your key competitors are. These are not likely to be the same competitors you face in your own country.

Finally, you have to determine if your 4Ps of marketing (price, place, promotion and product) fit within the business context of the new international market.”– Doug Taylor, CITP|FIBP

Discover your best options by researching identified prospects

When it comes to identiying prospects, you must evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of doing business with them.

“What are the benefits of doing business with the identified prospects? Assess the ability of any prospects to deliver on promises.

Next, analyse the information and market data to evaluate the business risk. Decide if this justifies doing business in the target country and with the identified prospect. If it does, you’ll need to develop an export plan and market strategy.

Once you do, commence negotiation of an international trade agreement with the identified local prospect, and utilize evidence based data. You must also include clearly defined goals that are specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and timely with an evaluation and review (SMARTER) process in place.

With these steps completed, you’ll be well on your way to a successful entry into the lucrative market of your choosing!” – Siddha Param

Confirm the reliability of your data with multiple sources

“Due to time and money constraints, companies often collect information from publicly available secondary sources. In today’s information economy, most industry data can be easily accessed by the general public via the Internet, printed media, periodic publications, yearbooks, etc.

If the main goal is to test the viability of new market entry, it can be acceptable to rely solely on secondary sources. Nevertheless, existing data is often outdated, generic or not able to answer all questions that interest organizations.”

When companies need to make complex business decisions, develop a detailed action plan or launch innovative products in new markets, the cost and time needed to conduct quality primary research is justified, and moreover, required for the success of a venture.  – Antonina Orlova 

5 Great sources to start your research

“When it comes to market research, some sources are of much higher quality than others. Here are five of the best sources to use for your initial market research.” – Bennett O’Brien

  1. BBC News Country Profiles
    This site provides in-depth reports and profiles on every country in the world. These profiles outline the political, economic, geographical, social, and historical aspects of each country. They also provide important information such as population, life expectancy, currency, and the major languages spoken in each nation.
  2. International Trade Center
    The International Trade Center is an organization whose goal is to support the internationalization of small and medium sized businesses. The site for this organization,, is a fantastic resource for international market research, providing a wide variety of incredible research tools.
  3. The CIA World Factbook
    The World Factbook provides detailed reports about countries all around the world. Like the BBC News Country Profiles site, it explains each country’s government, economy, languages, military power, communications, and transnational issues.
  4. The International Trade Administration –
    The International Trade Administration is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and their website is designed to promote competitiveness for American global trade. Fortunately, anyone can access it and benefit from it.
  5. Internet World Stats
    This website provides data about internet usage by country. It can be very helpful for any company that makes electronic equipment designed for internet use, such as computers, smartphones, tablets, wearable electronic devices, and others.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are of those quoted, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Forum for International Trade Training.

About the author

Author: Pamela Hyatt

I am the Content Marketing Specialist for the Forum for International Trade Training (FITT). You can find some of my work on My background is in copywriting, journalism and social media. My passion lies in connecting people to the stories that are most important to them.

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