Web-based market research to identify export opportunities


A hands-on course to build a sound foundation for your business strategy. You will learn to use effective methodologies and online tools to identify market opportunities and identify potential business partners. After this course, you are able to assess competitor activity and market access requirements. The focus of this course is on the European market.


A certificate will be awarded after attendance of the webinars and completion of the assignments and tests.


The course ‘Web-based market research to identify export opportunities’ consists of 7 modules. Modules are built up in two blocks: a live, interactive webinar (60-90 minutes) and assignments to be completed afterward. The webinars are recorded and made available for participants who registered but are unable to attend the live webinar.

Have a look at the content of the modules below:

1. Identify most promising markets

You will learn to identify your best export markets. You may know the traditional markets for your product, but there may be fast-growing markets out there which offer more opportunities! During this course, you will learn to conduct a sound analysis in order to prioritize your best export markets.


  • Identification of high potential markets for your product(s)
  • Trade flow analysis
  • White spot markets
  • Competitor performance
  • Introduction to ITC’s TradeMap and Export Potential Map.

After completion of the module, you will be able to define high potential markets for your product. Also, you can do a competitor analysis to learn from other markets. Finally, you are familiar with key functionalities of ITC’s interactive tools such as Trademap and Export Potential Map.

2. What trends offer opportunities?

Once you have prioritized your export markets, you definitely need insight into relevant market trends and developments to identify specific market opportunities. The course provides you with a number of freely accessible online sources, which should be part of any exporter’s research set for solid decision making on marketing strategies.


  • Online freely accessible sector-specific ‘goldmines’ such as databases, portals and other reputable sources
  • High quality yet free market reports, highlighting market trends, segments, and distribution channels
  • Country guides, tips on doing business and promotion instruments

The course familiarizes you with highly valuable online goldmines and you will be coached to use them effectively. These sources will keep you up to date on trends and developments in your key markets. This knowledge allows you to take strategic and operational decisions regarding your exports.

3. Which legal market access requirements to comply with?

Complying with foreign requirements is a must when exporting. The good news is that a number of reliable online sources are available to support you. In this course, we guide you to identify and use these sources effectively.


  • Exploring (EU) legal market requirements for your sector and products through the preferred databases
  • Insights in market rejections and alerts for your market including measures against your competitors
  • Optimizing the use of relevant online sector and HS code specific sources and tools including required documentation, import tariffs, and rules of origin

This course focuses on the EU market but can be extended to cover other geographical scopes. Once completed you are able to identify and prioritize market requirements relevant to your business. You can tell the difference between legal and non-legal requirements. And for sure you can effectively use a set of related online sources, which will keep you up to date. Now and in the future.

4. Identifying voluntary and sustainability standards

On top of the legal requirements, you will come across supplementary demands. Your foreign buyer is likely to ask for additional compliance in the areas of e.g. social, environmental, and quality standards. This course will show you their essentials and will give you tools for self-assessment towards compliance.


  • Voluntary standards and certification schemes e.g. GlobalGap, BRCGS, Fairtrade, BSCI, SA 8000, etc
  • Corporate social responsibility guidelines incl. ISO 26000
  • Searching and comparing the scope of standards (social, environmental, quality, etc)
  • Detailed self-assessment for compliance per standard
  • Key tools and online sources.

After the course, you are able to identify prevailing standards, per product, and target market. Also, you can compare the contents of the standards, as well as their requirements and how they operate. You will receive practical tools and starting points in the area of corporate social responsibility (CSR). Last but not least you will be skilled in conducting self-assessments of the available standards.

5. Finding buyers in the EU

Finding your buyer. For sure this is one of your favorite topics! Like any businessman, you are looking for new buyers and a sustainable match. However, where can you find them? This course empowers you to find your buyers online.


  • Longlisting of potential buyers by browsing databases, portals, trade fair directories
  • Connecting to procurement managers using LinkedIn
  • Effective pitching yourselves and your company to potential buyers (how to impress?)

After this course, you are able to effectively use a number of preselected (free) online sources to find your buyer, by market and product. Also, you have learned to prepare and deliver a commercial pitch in order to connect to potential buyers.

6. Premium sources to compare trade fairs and identify prices

There are many trade fairs across the globe. However, which ones are most relevant for my sector? And when and where are they held? And another hot topic; what are prevailing prices for your product in the foreign market? Those are your topics as part of this course.


  • Online trade fair calendars with international and domestic trade show details up to 10 years ahead
  • Trade show details and statistics; # visitors, #exhibitors, visitor profiles and more
  • Find your trade show by product, sector and/or market
  • Trade fair guides, checklists and tools ‘effective trade fair participation’)
  • Sources to find market prices for your product

These sources allow you to prepare and execute your trade fair participation more effectively. Furthermore, you will be acquainted with up to date online sources and methods providing access to market prices for your product.

7. The research plan

General Eisenhower (1890-1969) spoke the famous words: “The fact that you are planning is more important than the plan itself.” Effective market research requires proper strategy and planning. This course helps you setting research objectives and questions, as well as determining proper research methodologies.


  • Research strategy and planning as key success factors for doing market research
  • Research objectives & questions
  • Research methodologies; desk vs primary research
  • The research action plan
  • Tools, templates, and formats.

After this course, you have learned to define effective research questions & research objectives. You can tell the differences between desk and primary research, as well as those between quantitative and qualitative research.

Furthermore, you are able to develop an effective research plan for your b2b research. All of this will be blended with practical tips and tools.