Trade Forum Features

A platform for market intelligence

14 January 2013
ITC News
Accessing the European Union market is similar to walking into a labyrinth, but market intelligence from CBI, the Centre for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries, an agency of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, offers a roadmap to keep developing country exporters on course.

CBI has been upgrading its products from market information products to market intelligence products over the past two years, with a view to offering better service to exporters, business support organizations and other stakeholders in export trade from developing countries. During the upgrade process, CBI consulted its target group of exporters in developing countries and European partner organizations, such as ITC and the Swiss Import Promotion Programme, a mandate of Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, to secure and ensure the quality of the market intelligence platform and products.

Consulting statistics and reports is not enough to gain a thorough overview of future developments in the European market. Valuable, practical, qualitative and future-focused knowledge about the market is to be found in the minds of people who are active in the market on a daily basis. This distinction led CBI to transfer its focus from desk research to the co-creation of market intelligence. To create intelligence-based products, CBI initiated and organized sector-specific peer group working sessions. Each of these provided a fertile learning environment for representatives from European trade and industry, including importers, retailers, trade associations, trend watchers and knowledge institutions, and delivered outcomes including outlines of influences and trends in the representatives’ respective sectors.

Group members addressed key challenges faced by exporters from developing countries and analysed and interpreted market information prepared by CBI market researchers and sector experts to translate it into opportunities and practical considerations for exporters. The output of the sessions provides exporters with the latest insights into key European market dynamics, making them better equipped to tailor products and propositions to meet the market’s specific requirements.

The market intelligence products are a step forward for exporters. They are based on in-depth analysis interpreted for the specific needs of business support organizations and exporters in developing countries and have been written specifically to meet the needs of small- and medium-sized enterprises. They are accessible, usable and easy to implement, as well as being well packaged, marketed and disseminated to the right target group through CBI’s network of partner organizations and business support organizations.

CBI has also developed an interactive market intelligence platform that exporters and business support organizations can use to access market intelligence. In collaboration with ITC, an online helpdesk for the platform has been created on LinkedIn. It is called ASQ – Answers and Solutions to your market intelligence Questions – and its objective is to answer market intelligence-related questions asked by CBI LinkedIn members and connect them so that they can share knowledge and experience. Using LinkedIn to connect to clients creates opportunities for CBI to stay linked with its target group and enables more dynamic interaction with and within the group.