A new month starts and in Circa Lingua, we welcome June with a new series of blog posts. Every Monday of this month, we are going to talk about: How to close a deal with international client?
The topic was inspired by a colleague that, like me, is living outside her native country. When you are running your own business in a different country, you realise that things aren’t the same. Different elements such as the culture, the language, the way of doing business or a new marketplace will have an influence in your business model reshaping it for this new reality.
Whereas focusing on international clients is a long process that requires patience and a lot of work, it can open a lot of doors for your business. That is why I decided to split this series into four blog posts. Each of them will be published every Monday of this month.
Today, I am going to talk about international market research. In order words, how to research clients on an international scale.
Complexity of international market research
We have already talked about market research before in this blog. However, I considered interesting to focus on market research when we want to target an international audience. In my opinion, international market research is more complex given that we have to analyse operations that take place on a broader scale and scope. In addition, the broader these operations are, more information we will need to gather to conduct a reliable international market research.
Also, the international panorama changes very quickly and we will have to face the diversity of the international environment.
All this results in a need for information. However, we need to define this information to our needs; otherwise, we will waste time and money diving into a huge ocean of information. The definition that we need to look for can be divided in two main phases.
Phase 1: Information for international marketing entry.
In this phase, we will focus on researching the general business environment in a specific geographical segment. For example, the political and financial situation, its currency or the current market size within a specific industry.
In addition, we will have to research the specific market for our products or services. For example, the sales potential of our products and services, the rate of market growth and the product market.
Phase 2: Research your business.
We need to get to know if our businesses are ready for expanding abroad. We have to define our assets to enter an international market. What can we offer to this new audience? How are you going to do it? What resources can you use to do so? What are your strengths and weaknesses during this process?
Designing an international market research
Before starting working on an international market research, we need to know how much money (if any) and time we want to spend. Otherwise, we will immerse in a never ending research. You should also consider hiring a specialist in the marketplace that you want to research if you feel that you aren’t able to do it by yourself. However, if you really want to expand your business abroad, consider surrounding yourself by specialist in this new market.
International market research plan
What do you want to research? Don’t even try to start without having answered this question. You need to know the core of your research to gather relevant data. What I do, and it works for me, is to write 5 main question down. For example:
- What’s the economic and politic situation of the country?
- Why this new audience can be interested in my services?
- What can I offer that is not being offering yet?
- What are the needs of the people in X?
- What types of resources can I find in X? Etc.
Focus on you main questions and start looking for information. As you gather information, you will realise that more questions will pop up in your mind. Write them down and keep researching. However, take always into consideration the money and time that your established beforehand.
You also need to know what types of researches you want to conduct:
- Descriptive: it’s normally used when you have little knowledge of the geographical segment that you want to research.
- Comparative: Through a comparative market research, you can analyse the differences and similarities that exist between your current marketplace and the want you want to target at. It’s very useful when you want to know, for example, the way that your clients are going to behave in this new market place in relation to your existing clients.
- Theoretical: Through a theoretical market research, you can analyse which theories and business models are going to work in your new targeted marketplace and what aspects you will have to change to reshape these business models.
Unit of analysis
You need to know the extension of your market research. In other words, what you want to cover with it.
- The world: conducting a market research worldwide is very time and money consuming; only worth it for certain world markets such as the pharmaceutical or the aerospace industry. Big multinational companies can benefit enormously from this type of market research, but it’s not worth it for smaller companies that want to focus on a smaller segments.
- Region or country grouping: it also implies a big market research and the use of a wide range of resources to conduct this type of market research. However, it’s more specialised than the last one and you can find more information related to certain country grouping such as the European Union.
- Country: this can be the best choice if you want to focus on a specific region; that’s why it’s one of the most commonly use market researches. Each country has its own government, which is a good source of specialised information to start a market research with.
- Cities: for certain types of business, such as chain of restaurants, research specific cities with their specific characteristics can be very interesting.
Selecting information sources
Information in a market research can be divided in three different groups:
- Prior research: this type of information will help you to understand the new market place, and provide a deeper knowledge of the geographical area. It will also help you to elaborate a plan for the market research itself.
- Secondary data: this type of data is commonly extracted from institutions related to an specific market places. For example, these could be interesting sources of information:
- Primary data: this is the type of data collected from a primary source, for example, clients and potential clients. It can be difficult to conduct this type of research we you haven’t entered the market place yet, but it can be very interested to analyse aspects such as their behaviours and the potentiality of your products and services in a new marketplace.
As you can see, there are a lot of factors that can influence a market research. If you are researching a country in which a different language is spoken, most of the information will be in that specific language. That is why it is so important to have specialists in languages and marketing on board.
Consider investing in a quality market research if you want to expand your business abroad.
Next week, we will talk about how to contact and approach international clients. How does that sound?