Paul Dibbayawan: Well, not all markets are the same, so hence why market research is important because of the fact that it gives you an insight into something that you may not have been thinking about if you were back at home in New Zealand. The key benefits of doing research, and doing the right level of research, is first of all it allows you to understand the market that you’re going into, and then it makes you focus on “Well, what differences do you need to do and what adaptations do you need to make to your strategy to go into that market?”
Geraldine Schnauer: The newest market that we’ve entered is Singapore and we went through that process really to narrow down where we should focus our efforts and we started with about 30 markets of interest and we narrowed them down to a top five. And we considered things like ease of entry, language, currencies, political, social, right through, you know what their habits were, and we ended up with a shortlist and Singapore was the market that was top of the list, so we started there. So, once we had narrowed it down to a few markets then we just drilled deeper down into them and just as time went on gut feel was fight about Singapore looking easier, and then, of course, we started doing some initial cold calls with the help of the research company and that just reiterated what we suspected, which was that it was going to be easier.
Paul Dibbayawan: I think the risks that a lot of exporters face could be a double-edged sword when you are looking at research is because sometimes you can ask the wrong questions and get the wrong answers, so you’re going to go down a path that may not necessarily be right. And on the flipside, if you don’t do the right research and you don’t ask the right questions then you’re not going to get the full, you know, knowledge that you need to do when you’re planning how to enter a new market such as Thailand.
Geraldine Schnauer: In terms of the key decisions it helped us narrow down that Singapore was the best market for us, and also the sort of products that would be suitable there based on the tastes, which were quite different from here. They like spicier products, et cetera, different meats are used. And also the distributors that we would need, distributor for food service as well as for retail for grocery, which is quite a different set-up than here where we go direct to market ourselves.
Paul Dibbayawan: The common mistakes I see that, yeah, some exporters would do, is that they either focus too much on too heavy data and they end up paralysing themselves by over-analysing the market, or secondly, they don’t do any and they just come in and expect it to be exactly the same as what they would do back home in New Zealand. So, the key is to get the right balance.
Geraldine Schnauer: The challenges, and they’re ongoing, and I think would most would agree when getting into new markets is working out the amount of time to be in market yourself being, you know, New Zealand is a long way from most markets, and you really need to make the jump-in and you know put the resources behind and go to market. And we’ve certainly seen that the more time you spend in market yourself the more you learn, the more contacts you make.