Step 1: Identifying your target markets

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Want to sell your products/services abroad? Good decision! Doing this will help to considerably increase your sales and your market share… as long as you sculpt your international business development plan carefully.

Building your business abroad requires a good strategy and a rigorous approach. Before you start, you should prepare fully. One of the key decisions you will need to make is identifying your target markets.

So how do you do you define your target markets?

Un des choix les plus important pour l'internationalisation de votre entreprise est l'identification des marchés à cibler.

 Il est important de connaître les caractéristiques propres à chacun des marchés cibles avant d'exporter son entreprise.

Identifying your target markets is an essential step in the internationalization process. Why?

Because neglecting the need for a target market analysis could cause you major problems! Certain companies, despite being very popular in some regions of the world, have “tripped up” when it comes to expanding their business abroad.

There are many examples. 

Here are just a few:

Carrefour had to sell its Japanese brands because of an error of judgement about the country and the customers there. Unlike Western customers, Japanese consumers buy in small quantities and prefer to shop daily in nearby shops (24-hour convenience stores or mini-marts). On top of this, the Carrefour group struggled to find suppliers because of its aggressive approach. This failure in Japan cost the group 200 to 300 million euros.
At the end of 2016, the Cdiscount group announced the closure of its African subsidiary in Ivory Coast. Why did the brand fail so spectacularly in Africa? Because it had a poor understanding of the culture, its methods were too European, its delivery times were too long, and it was unable forge local connections and partnerships.

This step will not only allow you to precisely identify your target markets, but it will also help you adapt your strategy to your target customers.

What’s more, it will lay the foundations for the next four steps in your internationalization process.

So how do you actually go about identifying your target markets?

  • Draw up a list of possible target markets
  • Analyse the competition (direct and indirect)
  • List the direct forces that influence the market
  • List the indirect forces that influence the market


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