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Selling abroad: market research in 2024

Selling abroad: market research in 2024

For those who want sell abroad, it is essential to carry out accurate market research. This process allows you to collect information on the needs and preferences of the relevant public in international markets, made up of potential consumers of your products.

By understanding the perception and behavior of foreign consumers, it is possible to take the necessary measures to meet their needs, reducing the risks of a gap between consumer expectations and the company's offering. Furthermore, the market research they help to keep up with the offerings of international competitors, better intercepting customer expectations.

This activity involves all aspects of a company operating in theexport, including brand, products, customer service, marketing and sales.

market research typologies


Market research for those who intend sell abroad: types and procedures 

Export market research allows companies to make informed decisions, thus promoting growth and innovation in international markets.

To achieve lasting and tangible success in foreign markets, companies need to understand what foreign audiences value and don't value, their needs and the messages they will respond to. They must also analyze international competitors to identify opportunities that allow them to distinguish their products and services from global competition.

It is essential to consider factors such as pricing, promotions, distribution channels, product features and benefits offered, as these elements are fundamental to acquiring relevant data on which to base your strategies.

What does effective market research consist of?

Types of market research

To lead a market research aimed at sell abroad, the first step is to carefully select the target country. This process involves evaluating factors such as market size, economic growth, purchasing power, and political and cultural stability.

Once you have identified your target country, you can perform market research, which can fall into one of two main categories: primary research and secondary research.

Primary market research

Primary market research for sell abroad involve the direct collection of specific data for international markets. This raw data is acquired through methods such as surveys, focus groups, observations and interviews, offering new and original information. These methods provide a current view of the market and allow hypotheses to be validated with greater certainty, responding to specific company needs. This type of research is extremely valuable for understanding trade dynamics across national borders, and for developing targeted internationalization strategies for Italian companies.

In the past, companies were often discouraged from conducting primary market research due to the difficulty of collecting and processing the data itself. However, recent technological developments have made powerful available software that help overcome these difficulties. These tools simplify data analysis, optimizing time and resources. 

Secondary market research

Secondary market research is based on the use of data that has already been collected, analyzed and published. Typically, this is non-proprietary data or research not conducted specifically for the company, although there are forms of internally sourced secondary data, such as old reports. Secondary research can complement primary research, strengthening knowledge of the target audience.

They are advantageous for small businesses, as they use data that is easier to obtain, often provided by companies specializing in research. Although the development of primary research tools is making these searches more accessible and at lower cost, secondary searches remain a more immediate solution. 

However, they may be less relevant and you need to check their suitability for your research objective. Furthermore, the data may not be owned by the company, which means that even the competitor they can access it.

How to carry out primary market research

Primary market research can be qualitative or quantitative, extensive or specific. As mentioned above, they use various data collection tools. The most widespread are surveys, discussion groups, observation of consumer behavior and interviews.

These are the steps to follow, always keeping in mind that the type of communication can change the basis target country

Identify the objective of the research

First of all, it is necessary to identify the purpose of the research, to organize and manage it as best as possible. Some possible objectives may include:

  • The launch of a new product or service
  • Understanding a new target audience or updating an existing segment
  • The specific characteristics of a product
  • The perception of brand identity
  • Tips for targeted marketing campaigns
  • Deepen the customer experience


Establish the most appropriate research methods

For those who export, the choice of primary research methods depends on the budget, the time available and the specific questions you want to ask to penetrate international markets. It is possible to use different methods, even combined with each other, such as:

  • Surveys: useful for collecting quantitative data from a large sample of people. They can be administered online, via email or via telephone interviews, allowing you to obtain an overview of consumer preferences, purchasing habits and brand perceptions.
  • Interviews: In-depth conversations with individuals or industry experts. Interviews allow you to obtain detailed and personalized information, exploring in depth the motivations, expectations and needs of consumers.
  • Focus group: guided discussion meetings with a small group of participants. This method offers qualitative insights into consumer opinions and attitudes toward a product or service, providing valuable details that surveys may not reveal.
  • Observations: the collection of data through direct observation of consumer behavior. This method is particularly useful for understanding how customers interact with products in a real context, identifying any problems or opportunities for improvement.
  • Experimental market research: Implement controlled tests to evaluate consumer reaction to various aspects of a product or service, such as price, packaging or promotion.


How to Conduct Secondary Market Research

Data for secondary research can come from various sources, some free and some paid. These sources are divided into three main categories:

  • Internal sources: data already present within the company, such as old analyzes and reports.
  • Public sources: data accessible to all, such as censuses, market statistics and library catalogues.
  • Commercial sources: Data purchased from private companies specializing in market research.

To retrieve this information, you can contact specific research companies. 

However, it is more advisable to obtain the information directly from the source to reduce the risk of interpretation errors.

market research


The advantages of conducting market research aimed at exports

Market research is essential for companies that aim to sell abroad, optimizing their business efforts and increasing ROI. 

They allow us to understand the international target audience, gathering information on needs, expectations and purchasing habits, thus outlining buyer personas.

In fact, they are essential for identifying industry trends, analyzing emerging technologies and consumer preferences, and providing effective methods for obtaining feedback.

They then allow you to find valuable information on the competition, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of competitors, while at the same time improving not only pricing strategies but also customer service. 

Finally, they help develop marketing campaigns effective, using tools such as SEO, PPC and email marketing to connect with potential and existing customers.

Octagona, thanks to its deep knowledge of global markets and its consolidated experience in internationalization, can offer essential support in conducting targeted market research.

Contact us for any information. 


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