So many countries, so little time
Parafricta produces medical garments and bedding. Based in London, the business was established in 2007 and began selling in earnest in 2012. Parafricta’s products are classified as Class 1 Medical Devices, are CE marked in the EU and have FDA approval.
“We’d always known our products would be suitable for export”, explained Dr Nick Garner, Parafricta’s Commercial Director, “And with so many potential countries to target, the sooner we created our export strategy, the better!” With such a wide choice of markets and limited resources, it was obvious that some choices would need to be made. “People would say to me, “You should look at Mexico – that’s a big market!” or “How about Turkey, I hear that’s booming!”” explained Nick. “However, just because they’re a big market, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be lucrative for Parafricta!” Nick wanted a plan for prioritising target countries.
Parafricta had previously connected with UKTI and contacted their International Trade Adviser (ITA), Mitzi Swanson, to enquire about possible support. Mitzi introduced Clive Hogan, UKTI Export Marketing Research Scheme (EMRS) Adviser in the South East. The EMRS provides professional advice and funding to help businesses prioritise potential export markets then understand the dynamics of individual potential overseas market before creating an appropriate launch strategy. There is a nationwide team of professional Research Advisers to support individual companies.
Clive met with Nick. Through an exploratory research technique, they were able to identify the key criteria that differentiated Parafricta’s potential markets. The products are of greatest appeal in markets where healthcare is privately funded, so they needed to find measures to reflect this, deciding upon ‘GDP per capita’ and ‘amount of money spent on Private Healthcare’ as key criteria to determine potential Demand for Parafricta’s products. Criteria which would dictate how easy it would be for Parafricta to support a market were chosen as ‘Accessibility to the healthcare system’ and ‘speaking English’. Pooling resources, Clive and Nick were able to source robust market data for these criteria.
Clive then showed Nick how to access an online software tool to enable these criteria to be charted. Nick found the meeting very useful, “Clive really helped me to prioritise the countries we should target – before I was just going on intuition! Our discussion and the tool we worked through made me look at our process and make some decisions on where we should focus our efforts”.
The findings indicated promising initial markets in Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands with potential in other European markets and longer-term targets in the USA and Hong-Kong. “I was amazed to see the possibilities in markets I’d presumed would be small!” exclaimed Nick.
“The Export Marketing Research Scheme’s Market Selection Service gave us an objective basis to plan where to focus our limited resources to achieve international growth”, said Nick. “It really helped me formalise my thinking and justify this strategy to the rest of the Parafricta board”.
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Topics: Export Planning, Export Process, Getting Started, and Market Research