Selecting a market: an introduction

Selecting a market for export
Julie Macken, a DIT trainer and owner of marketing consultancy Glowworm Marketing, provides guidelines to budding small business exporters on how to select the right country for expansion and gives tips on creating a market entry strategy. 

How do I choose which market to sell to?

So, you’ve made the decision to expand into a new overseas territory – but which is the right one for you?

It’s unlikely you will have the resources to sell everywhere or determine what works best through trial and error, so you need a model to help you decide the likeliest location to bear fruit.

To access the true potential of new markets, I recommend to begin by picking a limited list (perhaps 5 – 10) countries where you’ve had sales enquiries, know that your key competitors operate in, or where you think there is potential.

If you’re already an exporter then adding countries that are culturally or geographically close to your existing markets should also make the shortlist.

Determine the demand for your product

From this point, it’s a good idea to determine both demand for your product or service and ease of doing business in those regions. This will help you narrow down your selection. Check out these tips on how to assess demand for your product.

Once you’ve determined what constitutes demand and ease of doing business, you can compare the different markets by using a market selection comparison matrix. Read our article Comparing markets: using a market weighting table for guidance on how to do this.

The importance of market research

Finally, market research is a key consideration in this process. If you don’t research your market, you could come upon a who wide array of issues and pitfalls.

This section has articles how to get started with market research and other helpful services that offer support for planning and executing your research.

Following this process should put you on the right track to finding the right export market for you.

Best of luck!

Julie Macken has extensive first-hand experience of working with SMEs as a trainer, coach and market researcher. Over the last eight years, Julie has developed her own marketing consultancy company and her international experience stems from roles as New Product Development Manager at Unilever, then as an OTC brand manager for a pharmaceutical company.

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