Foreign Market Intelligence
Do I need an Export Market Plan, and what should it cover?
An Export Market Plan provides a structure and step-by-step roadmap for your export operations. Without such a plan, you might not realize your full market potential or, worse, make costly mistakes. The biggest mistake is to assume that all markets can be approached in the same way, or the same way you operate in the domestic market. Foreign markets can differ from your own market and each other in many ways -- in income levels, standards, climates, sizes of people and space, language, religion, cultural preferences and taboos, business practices, etc. These differences often dictate whether your products would be allowed into a market; could be afforded; could tolerate the local physical environment; would "fit" or operate efficiently; or would appeal to or offend potential buyers. To succeed in a market, you must understand its characteristics and plan accordingly.
An Export Market Plan should cover three main areas -- Situation Analysis, Market Development and Market Entry. “Situation Analysis” looks at available company resources, capabilities and potentials. “Market Development” looks at overall strategic objectives and approach, including product and market focus and whether to export directly or through a domestic intermediary. “Market Entry” looks at strategy and actions to effectively penetrate specific target markets, including distribution, promotion, pricing, and market adaptation strategies. See the lessons titled Developing an Export Strategy and Developing a Marketing Plan under the Export Tutorials section of this website for greater details.