How to find Buyers (Part II) : Trade Associations - Great Source for Information and Marketing Support

Last week we discussed categories of buyers and their brief profiles. This week, we shall systematically look for sources of information in each category of buyers in your target countries. The objective is to compile a list of likely organizations that might buy your products.

Preliminary Market Research

Traditionally, this has been accomplished through trade delegation, participation in trade fairs, using trade directories etc. With the advent of Internet - exporters now have a wonderful opportunity to do preliminary market research in a much more focussed and inexpensive way.

Once you make a list of likely buyers in your target countries, next steps are pretty traditional involving time consuming promotion and follow-up work like:

- contact every one of the prospects through e-mail/tel/fax etc
- ascertain their degree of interest in your product, price
- Through gradual elimination, zero-in to a select group who show interest in doing business with you
- Develop more intimate relationship, send samples, travel to the country for personal meeting or invite them here.

Contribution of Trade Associations in Overseas Marketing

One primary source of valuable information for every category of buyers is trade associations. The associations are formed by businessmen in an industry segment primarily to lobby with Government regarding legislative and regulatory matters. In addition, they also undertake tasks that help their members in training and skill development, sales, quality control etc. Almost every association publishes books and journals - members' directory, business guide, Newsletters etc. which could be low-cost yet very effective advertisement medium for your products. Directory of members may provide list of prospective buyers.

The Internet is an excellent medium to identify useful Trade Associations in your target country. I have made a small compilation below - with the help of any good search engine you may discover many more. The list shows that trade associations can be very valuable source for every category of buyers - retailer, wholesaler, end-user etc.

Wholesalers' Associations

American Wholesale Marketers Association  
International Wholesale Furniture Association 
Sanitary Supply Wholesalers Association
New England Wholesalers Association Incorporated  
Southern Association of Wholesale Distributors  
Wholesale Florist and Florist Supplier Association

Retailers' Associations

Alabama Retail Association  
American Specialty Toy Retailing Association  
Canadian Retail Hardware Association (hardware and building materials)
Central Ohio Retail Grocers Association Inc.
Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America
Illinois Retail Merchants Association 
International Mass Retail Association Foundation 
Kentucky Retail Federation Incorporated 
Michigan Retailers Association  
Jewelers of America  
National Shoe Retailers Association  
National Retail Federation

Industry Specific Trade Associations

American Spice Trade Association, Inc
Horticultural Trades Association (UK)
Builders Merchants Federation (UK)
American Seed Trade Association
Embroidery Trade Association

International Trade Associations

International Pepper Community (IPC) (Brazil) (Spanish)

International Tire and Rubber Association

World Trade Centers Association (The World Trade Centers Association is an organization of over 300 World Trade Centers in almost 100 countries, connected to expand your global business).

International Reciprocal Trade Association - offers information about barter industry

World Federation of Trading House Associations - promotes the interests of international trading house associations

Related Links:

Source: FAIDA - Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad Vol: 2, Issue 32 January 17' 2002

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 )

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