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You are here: Step 7: Selecting and researching potential countries/markets abroad > Implementing the research brief > Evaluate the shortlisted countries in detail > In-market research  
In-market research

It is not easy to define the precise point at which desk research ceases to yield results and where it becomes necessary to turn to in-market research. In some cases, you may find it possible to get all the information you need about a market without ever leaving South Africa. In other instances, there may be no information available other than some vague statistics.

While desk research can often answer general questions such as: "How much...?" or "How many...?', in-market research is often necessary to answer more specific questions such as "What kind...?", "What size.?", "What colour...?", and especially "What price.?"

Preparing for in-market research

Before commencing in-market research, you should make thorough preparations in South Africa. Besides making the usual preparations for a business trip, you should:

  • Determine the goals of the in-market research
  • Decide on the people to be interviewed and establish where they are situated
  • Arrange interviews in advance, where possible
  • Prepare the necessary documentation, such as questionnaires

Duration and timing of research

Arriving at an estimate of the duration of the in-market research assignment is an important element in planning in-market research. The total length of time required to conduct field research will depend on the total number of interviews, visits, and observations needed to obtain a reasonably representative sample of the market segments under consideration.

Another important aspect is the actual timing of the research. For example, you should schedule the visit so that you do not arrive in a country when the targeted respondents have gone on holiday! If a specialised trade fair is being held, it may be a good idea for the visit to coincide with it (trade fairs provide a concentrated view of the market and offer excellent opportunities for making business contacts).

Your schedule should also not be too rigid. Once in the field, you will undoubtedly discover new leads and should allow room in the schedule for following these up.

  • Sources of information for in-market research
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    Step 7: more information

    Step 7: Selecting and researching potential countries/markets abroad
          Preparing a research brief
          Implementing the research brief
                Compile a shortlist of countries
                Evaluate the shortlisted countries in more detail
                           Focusing on the customer – Undertaking marketing research in your
                           foreign target market
                           Circumstances favouring in-house research
                           Circumstances favouring agency research
                           Commissioning an external market research agency
                           Checklist for selecting a marketing research agency
                           Desk research
                                 .Techniques for formal in-market research
                                 . Problems with in-market research
          Preparing a research report


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    More information on Step 7
    Learning to export... The export process in 21 easy steps
    Step 1: Considering exporting
    Step 2:Current business viability
    Step 3:Export readiness
    Step 4:Broad mission statement and initial budget
    Step 5:Confirming management's commitment to exports
    Step 6: Undertaking an initial SWOT analysis of the firm
    Step 7:Selecting and researching potential countries abroad
    Step 8: Preparing and implementing your export plan
    Step 9: Obtaining financing for your exports
    Step 10: Managing your export risk
    Step 11: Promoting the firm and its products abroad
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    Step 14: Obtaining the export order
    Step 15: Producing the goods
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