Sufficient and reliable information is a pre-requisite for proper decision making, be it domestic business or international marketing.
Viewed in a broad sense, the general subject of international marketing intelligence includes the collection, processing, analysis and interpretation of all types of information, from all available sources, to aid business management in making international marketing decision.
Proper business intelligence is essential to make all the series of strategic decisions in international marketing viz., international marketing decision, market selection decision, entry and operating decision, marketing mix decision and organization decision.
The broad areas of information requirement for international marketing are the following.
Different types of information are needed to take the critical decision as to whether to go international or not. These include information about the prospects of the foreign markets, competition, other characteristics o the foreign market, domestic market prospects etc.
Information on a large number of factors is needed for evaluation and selection of the markets. There are many general factors like political and economic stability, currency stability, government policy and regulations, etc about which information is required. Market selection also requires specific information about the product or industry concerned like the demand trends, government policy and regulations, competitive situation etc.
The includes consumer tastes and preference about the product like unit size/ quantity, shape, color, product form, packaging etc; mode, time, frequencies and rates of consumption; purpose of use/uses etc; regulatory aspects and so on.
Price related information needed include prevailing price ranges, price trends, margins, pricing practices, government policies and regulations, price elasticity of demand, role of price as a strategic marketing variable etc.
For formulating the promotion strategy data on many aspects like media availability and effectiveness, Government regulations, customs/practices of promotion in the market concerned, competitive behavior etc are required.
This includes information on factors like channel alternatives and characteristics, relative effectiveness of different channels, customs and practices of the trade, power and influence of channel members etc.
A company will also need information about the competitive environment including the extent of competition, major competitors, relative strengths and weaknesses of competitors, strategies and behavior of competitors etc.
There are a number of export promotion organizations in India which are important sources of information pertaining to foreign markets. While some of these are general others are product specific. Most of them have periodic publications which disseminate useful information. Several of them have also brought out publications intended to provide general guidance and education to exporters. They also carry out market potential studies and other relevant studies.
These organizations include India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO), State Trading Corporations, Chambers of Commerce, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) , FIEO, and Export Promotion Councils/Commodity Boards / Export Development Authorities. Organizations like the Indian Institute of Packaging, Export Inspection Council are also important sources for certain types of information. The Exim Bank has carried out a number of market studies. Although the Exim Bank is primarily a financial institution, it is also an important source of guidance for exporters.
The offices of the consulates/embassies in India of foreign governments provide a lot of information about the respective countries. Educational and research organizations like Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Management Schools/Departments of Universities etc, could be useful to exporters. Valuable information can sometimes be obtained from other exporters, export houses and trading houses, banks, ECGC etc. The international Trade Centre, Geneva is a very important source of information and assistance to exporters, particularly from developing countries
Offices of the Indian embassies abroad and concerned departments/organizations of the foreign governments may be approached for certain types of information.
Several governments, like that of Japan, give a lot of importance to import development and they are very much interested in providing the information relevant to importing to these countries. The Japan External Trade organization (JETRO) , for example , has brought out publications entitled Access to Japanâ€™s Import Market pertaining to every important item of Japan. These publications give a lot of information related to the import trade of different products.
There are also certain international organizations related to specific products. Organizations like the World Bank also make studies and reports regarding certain products. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an important source for different types of information.
In many case a lot of information can be obtained from publications like journals and research publications â€“ national, foreign and international. As mentioned earlier, the various export promotion organizations have periodical and other publications. Besides these, there are a number of general and specialized publications carrying useful information for the exporters. Similarly there are a number of foreign and international publications, general and product specific. —