Determining your target export market

Before you go global, identify the foreign markets that are most likely to respond to your offer by researching potential export markets.

Before you go global, identify the foreign markets that are most likely to respond to your offer and determine your target markets. This will require a clear picture of the markets, so you'll need to do export market research.

Market research involves 2 steps:

1. Researching potential markets

  • Check out documentation on exports of products and services identical to yours (government websites, statistics, existing market research). Take the time to find this information. Start your research with multiple potential export markets in mind.
  • Select at least 5 markets and research the transformations they are undergoing (performance, business cycle import growth, market stability). Now is the time to explore, so don't limit yourself to just 1 type of market.
  • Look into different types of markets. Being open to cultural differences and speaking other languages can be helpful when choosing a market.
  • Choose your top 3 markets.

2. Assessing target markets

  • Analyze demand and need changes, potential buyers and socio-economic data.
  • Determine how much national and international competition there is in each target market and what share of the market each competitor has.
  • List the sales and distributions strategies used by the competition and their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Identify potential problems: standards, restrictions, business culture, trade laws.

Determine your target export market

Use a comparative analysis to select your top market. Score each statement on a scale from 0 to 10, where 0 is a statement that is inconsistent with your research findings and 10 is a statement that is fully consistent with your research findings. The market that gets the highest score will be your top market.

If you cannot score each statement, your research is incomplete. Don't be afraid to ask an export specialist for help. Contact Desjardins International Services

Statement Market 1 Market 2 Market 3
Name of market:      
1. You found a market segment (group of customers) interested in your product or service.      
2. Your product meets the needs of buyers in this market (consumers or industrial users).      
3. Customer response to date seems positive in this market.      
4. You know what changes will have to be made to your product to meet local requirements.      
5. You know you will be able to turn a profit with your prices in this market.      
6. You will be able to fill multiple orders with your production capacity in this market.      
7. You know what after-sales service you will have to provide in this market and you considered this when you set your prices.      
8. The intermediaries you will be working with have a good reputation in this market.      
9. The potential of this market justifies the investment in its development.      
10. You have a good grasp of the laws governing this market: agreements, customs duties, tariff barriers (quotas) and local packaging, labeling and shipping standards.      

As the saying goes, you don't get a second chance to make a good first impression, so make sure you're ready before you take the leap into the export business! Do your homework, research everything and get to know your target market and the local customs. Spend time in your export market to develop business relationships that will help get your name out there and strengthen your reputation.

Think you're ready to go global or want to test your knowledge?