9 Things to Research Before You Enter a New Market

Published on 06 Sep, 2017

Market Entry Strategy

One man’s ignorance is another man’s opportunity.

In a world where external forces are impacting business’ success like never before, conventional wisdom and experience can no longer guide future strategies. To gain a strategic advantage, companies must learn about the what, where, and why of the market environment they plan to enter.

They need a good Competitive Intelligence (CI) strategy.

In the 1970s, it was hard for anyone to believe that the American domestic automobile market, protected by tariff walls and dominated by Chevrolets, Buicks and Cadillacs, could face any competition from Japanese auto makers.

However, after studying the U.S. automobile market, the effects of increasing gas prices, as well as the advent of smaller family units, Japanese automakers could identify an opportunity in the form of smaller, fuel-efficient cars. By analyzing and borrowing the best practices for manufacturing, design, and marketing from various countries, Japan was not only able to position itself as a serious contender, but was also able to beat the American auto majors on their home turf.

In a world where external forces are impacting business’ success like never before, conventional wisdom and experience can no longer guide future strategies. This is especially important when it comes to planning New Market Entry. What one company ignores becomes an opportunity for another. To gain a strategic advantage, companies must learn about the what, where, and why of the market environment they plan to enter.

Many companies collect information on an informal basis about the marketplace and their competitors, but that is often undertaken in an unstructured manner by someone who does not know much about Competitive Intelligence (CI) or its methodologies. Such ad-hoc intelligence often falls short when it comes to assessing the opportunities and risks of a new market. Such ad-hoc CI exposes you to the risk of wrong business decision making, which can be catastrophic to your business. 

What’s important when it comes to a more structured CI approach is defining goals for the market entry investigation.

Here are some goals that your market entry investigation must have:

  • Study the industry as it exists in the present, and identify the direction where it is headed.
  • Identify any dynamics that may affect your business, especially those beyond direct competitors and the industry. Study market shifts and disruptions that may impact your business.
  • Identify the questions that need to be asked or the issues that need to be monitored. Identify opportunities and potential threats.
  • Create a baseline for future strategy. 

These goals can also help you gain an objective view of your industry in current times and identify the changing trends.

Well, once you are done with the goal setting, it’s time to move on to gathering intelligence that will help you plan your new market entry better.

See Also: Why Technology Watch Should Be a Part of Your Competitive Intelligence Strategy 

Whether you’re a B2C or B2B organization in the business of selling products and/or services, here are the nine things that your CI research should deep-dive into for new market entry study: 

  1. Market/industry Assessment
    1. Identify exactly what the product or service is (e.g., beverage versus soda, regular versus diet versus caffeine-free).
    2. Size/sales/revenues, in currency and/or units (National versus regional versus state versus global); past, current, and growth trends or forecast.
    3. Market drivers like consumer demand and government policy.
    4. Keys to success.
    5. Barriers to entry.
    6. Disruptions (changes in use, societal shifts, changes in consumer behavior).
  2. Major Competitors
    1. Sales/revenues.
    2. Who’s gaining or losing, and why.
    3. Market ranking (first, second, third; top five; top ten).
    4. Emerging competitors (niche, target customer, value proposition).
    5. Joint ventures and alliances.
    6. SWOT analysis.
    7. Strategy, as related to targeted customers or industries.
    8. How do competitors position themselves against other competitors.
    9. Organizational structure.
  3. Products or Services
    1. Segmented by industry or competitors.
    2. Best-selling products.
    3. Fastest growing or shrinking products.
    4. Patterns and discontinuities.
    5. Emerging or anticipated innovations.
    6. Alternative uses.
  4. Target customers (primary, secondary, under consideration).
  5. Distribution channels
  6. Pricing
  7. Packaging
  8. Advertising
  9. External factors affecting the industry and other additional information that appears relevant even though not specifically identified (for example legal, political, environment, and so on).


CI often springs surprising insights - it can identify erroneous assumptions that exist in every industry and also raise issues not previously considered. For example; one of the most common assumptions is that companies aren’t doing as well as expected because of the price point. The reality can be quite different. Competitive Intelligence can help you uncover the truth stemming from issues related to quality, reliability, delivery, customer service, innovation, and other factors. 

It was with the help of Competitive Intelligence that the Japanese auto makers were able to replace Britain’s unreliable electrical systems with well-engineered products, install Germany’s superb mechanical designs in affordable cars, and lower production costs by restricting color choices. All these strategic insights helped the Japanese automakers target their desired market intelligently with a well-executed entry strategy. A carefully crafted market entry investigation can help you succeed too!



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