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Thinking of exporting goods or services to offshore markets? But not sure how they’ll be received? ConsumerThink lets you gain valuable insights direct from in-market consumers, without having to step out of the country.

When New Zealand companies first decide to launch products or services into foreign markets, it’s vital they research each market in order to gauge exactly how those products or services will be received. Without adequate research, they are largely flying blind, and the risk of failure is significantly increased.

But now there’s a service available here that fills a gap for companies serious about selling in markets over there, but wish to avoid costly mistakes before investing heavily in areas such as market opportunity validation, final designs of prototypes, as well as packaging and advertising.

That service is ConsumerThink – which offers easy and fast access to local customer feedback for fledgling exporters, before the need to make that final commitment.
Nicole Crump (pictured) is managing director of marketing consultancy Tactix and director of SW & Partners Limited, which is the reseller of ConsumerThink in New Zealand. She knows the huge cost to businesses as they explore international market opportunities, try to understand how to take products and services into those countries and ensure their goods and services meet regulations and, importantly, resonate with consumers.  

“After working with many New Zealand businesses who are looking for growth in offshore markets we observed that a key gap for them was having the ability to get quick feedback from international consumers without actually getting on a plane and heading into the market themselves,” says Crump. “Whilst this approach of going in-market to do research is commendable it is very costly and time consuming.”

With ConsumerThink, Crump says businesses can gather insights very quickly and then use those insights to either confirm that their approach for the market is correct, or make necessary changes based on the feedback.

“Whilst we commend New Zealand businesses doing any form of research to understand their consumer, the strongest approach is being able to link directly to your potential consumer in the market you are considering,” adds Crump. “This consumer by nature of their location, will be surrounded by local conditions, products and services that will, in fact, impact the way they interpret and respond to new goods or services. By taking someone out of their local market you actually change the context in which people will view new products.”    

ConsumerThink uses an online environment to link New Zealand business with more than 20 million highly profiled consumers worldwide, and is operable in more than 30 languages, explains Crump. “So in reality this is an exceptionally powerful and accessible way to hold in-market customer discussions.”

ConsumerThink has already been successfully utilised in European and US markets by overseas companies exporting products and wanting to have a direct discussion with their consumers.  “For one company that used it recently, the target audience was asked to provide feedback on a toy,” says Crump. “The feedback was all positive until the final question, which was ‘What don’t you like about this toy?’ All the consumers were unanimous that they did not like the voice of the toy and would be unlikely to purchase one because of it.  
“As the toy had not yet gone into production this could easily be addressed, saving the company from launching a product that would not be well accepted in the market.”

Real-time viewpoints
Crump says she is looking at all opportunities within New Zealand to build awareness of ConsumerThink and its services. “Importantly, as more local companies use it, we will generate and share case studies to provide real-time viewpoints,” she adds.
The process for using ConsumerThink is streamlined and involvement is not onerous, explains Crump. For any company wishing to investigate ConsumerThink as a way to get direct market insights, there are two key things that must be considered:

  1. 1. What is it that you really want to know from the potential customer?
  2. 2. Who is your target customer?

“Having clarity around these two elements helps us to build a very targeted dialogue with your potential customer and rapidly select the right consumer to talk with.”   
After providing clarity around these two areas, you can sit back while the ConsumerThink team selects customers to talk with and schedule in the discussion sessions.  
“During each session, the online platform enables you to observe your customers and their interactions as the local moderator facilitates. This lets you and your team obtain great knowledge, understanding and insights directly from your markets.”   

Crump says the entire process usually takes just five to seven days.

Article by Glenn Baker, editor of NZBusiness and 

Glenn Baker

Glenn is a professional writer/editor with 50-plus years’ experience across radio, television and magazine publishing.


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