How to Sell your Product in International Market - Part 1 Identifying Potential Markets

How can I sell my product in the international market ? How to find potential markets ? Will my product sell there ? Are there specific standards my product must meet in order to be sold ? What distribution channels should I consider ?

Answers to these and other questions are key success factors in your international marketing plan. Your marketing drive must be based on a carefully prepared marketing strategy or plan that answers these questions as also show a clear roadmap.

In this series - we shall discuss how to develop a successful marketing strategy for your product based on mostly free resources available in the Internet or any good library.

The First Step

Successful companies concentrate on one foreign market at a time, moving on to the next only after succeeding in the last. You can not sell everything under the sun to all parts of the globe.

Your first step in developing marketing plan is to identify key products and potential markets. You may have several product lines - decide which one has most potential. Next step will be to identify suitable markets for selected product line.

Foreign Trade Statistics for Market Identification

Leaving product selection to you - we move on to market research based on trade statistics.

Analysis of foreign trade statistics is extremely important for identification of suitable markets for your products. For best result, one should analyze data for last few years as historical analysis help you identify local or seasonal bias as also display marketing trend, if there is any.

For example - analysis of spice export data for last few years may show increasing sale of curry-type mixed powder spices and modest or decreasing sale of whole seeds.

Another example - increased rice export to Bangladesh may be traced to floods in that country rather than any long term change in demand profile. Such spurt in demand is unlikely to sustain for long and should be considered a temporary phenomenon.

In both cases - historical analysis of foreign trade statistics can help you identify seasonal bias or shift in demand.

How to Find Foreign Trade Statistics

Almost every country publishes statistics relating to its foreign trade. United Nations publishes comparative trade statistics for most countries in the world. We shall discuss these universal sources after checking Indian resources.

In India - there are mainly two sources for reliable trade statistics - DGCIS and Customs.

Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCIS) publishes 'Monthly Statistics of Foreign Trade of India' Its March issue contains cumulative data for whole financial year (April to March). After publishing extremely voluminous books for years - DGCIS has started publishing this data in CD-ROM from 2004.

DGCIS statistics is extremely important for macro level data analysis. One can find out product and country wise (as also country and product wise) statistics for whole year from DGCIS publications.

DGCIS statistics is extremely useful for identifying potential markets for your product. However, it provides a macro level picture without revealing who is exporting what, to which port, when, at what price etc. For such micro level data - one should check shipment records from seaports and airports.

We shall discuss these sources in detail with example in next issue.

Happy and Productive Surfing

Dr. Amit K Chatterjee

Related Links:


Source: FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad Vol: 5, Issue 14 ; December 10' 2004

Author : Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development, MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of his own. He may be reached at )

� All Rights Reserved. Limited permission is granted to publish this article in a web-site or printed in a journal/ newspaper/ magazine provided the publisher takes prior permission from author, do not make any change in the article (i.e. keep it exactly same as displayed above) and cite the Source of this article as The Great Indian Bazaar with a link to this page.