In the previous post, we discussed the fundamentals and key strategies of developing more effective market evaluations. Once B2B companies are equipped with this wealth of information and data, they should be ready to implement it into their strategic planning. In our concluding blog, we will be presenting systematic ways to develop a strategic market entry plan.

To take market evaluations to a more comprehensive level, there are additional methodologies to consider executing. When B2B companies are looking to determine the path or mode to market, it is important to consider market entry or partnership evaluations, competitive intelligence reports, and industry monitoring and trend analyses. These components can be incorporated into the basic evaluation to increase the level of understanding of the new market entry being considered.

Channel to Market: Market Entry and Partnership Evaluations
How will you sell your product into the new market? Export? Manufacture within it? Form a joint venture? There are a variety of market entry strategies, and in order to find the most appropriate solution, you’ll need to examine the new market’s infrastructure and the channel to market. Understanding how you will get your product in the hands of your target customers will help you to assess whether your existing structure – manufacturing, sales and marketing, logistics – is transferable to a new market, or if you need to devise an alternative market entry strategy.

Many companies learn from doing – by benchmarking or creating case studies that speak to other market participants’ experiences – but these case studies can offer valuable lessons in what not to do, or highlight strategic openings for your own company. Identifying potential customers allows you to understand their needs and plan your approach to the market.

Mode to Market: Competitive Intelligence

Competitive intelligence, as an extension of a market evaluation, is most important when your business expects the need to capture a large amount of market share to validate the investment, or when upstream or downstream players command the value chain. There is no one definitive way to perform competitive intelligence in an international market. Variable reporting structures and cultures, differences in government enforcement, and poor record keeping make it exceptionally difficult to create comparable due diligence.
Recommended assessments and techniques:
    • Leading competitors and their company background, ownership structure, revenues (by geography, market, and product line, as available), major products, locations, mode to market, and any recent developments.
    • Interviews with industry participants, including current or former customers, suppliers, and partners can also add unique perspective regarding your competitor’s method of operation. Intelligence gathered through these means can be compared against market data or industry trends to get a read on whether evaluated competitors are moving ahead of or behind the market, testing a new strategy, or refocusing its investments.

Competitive intelligence functions better as a system than as a single project; As such, the best outcomes come from aggregating and monitoring sources over a long period of time, with repeat, structured activities designed to refresh your data, such as quarterly revenue updates, soliciting monthly distributor or end-user price quotes, or weekly competitor news monitoring.

Market Timing and Ongoing Monitoring: Industry Monitoring and Trend Analysis

Many elements that make emerging markets attractive are inherently instable. While a market evaluation may indicate that the overall opportunity is worth exploring, the timing may not be optimal. Industry monitoring informs companies that it may be the most advantageous to delay the opportunity and wait to see how trends play out before moving forward. Depending on the nature of the industry and your company’s flexibility, you may choose to refresh trends on a monthly or quarterly basis. Significant shifts in trends or drivers may signal that it is time to revisit your original market evaluation to adjust your strategy or expected outcomes.

How Hanover Research Executes International Market Evaluations

Several basic techniques that Hanover uses in international market evaluations include:

  • Top-down demand and market-segmentation modeling
  • Bottom-up estimation (which is best performed when the market is small or well-defined)
  • Macroeconomic forecasting
  • Value-chain mapping
  • Technology-adoption lifecycle and penetration mapping
  • Benchmarking and case studies
  • Industry surveys of, or in-depth interviews with, industry participants
Several of the resources we use in developing comprehensive international market evaluations are:
  • Off-the-shelf reports with broad breakdowns of industry size and growth by market including Freedonia, Frost & Sullivan, Euromonitor, and IBISWorld
  • International production and trade data including Government statistics, UNComtrade, and PIERS
  • US Government reports from the Department of Commerce and International Trade Commission, for example, and country monitoring services such as Business Monitor International and the Economist Intelligence Unit
  • Industry and trade publications
  • Data and inputs provided by market participants including earnings reports, patent records, and industry surveys/in-depth interviews

Incorporating An International Market Evaluation Into Your Strategic Plan

In the past two weeks, we have discussed the fundamentals and key strategies of developing more effective market evaluations. Once B2B companies are equipped with this wealth of information and data, it becomes time to strategically implement it into their strategic planning. In our concluding blog, we will be presenting systematic ways of doing this, as well as revealing the live polling results during the webinar.

Out of the three research components – assessing the channel to market, getting competitive intelligence, and monitoring the industry- which have you found most challenging to execute and why?