“Getting Connected” with our Customers

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On Wednesday 9th November, our Export Service Design team packed up our post-its, pens and whiteboards and pitched up for the day at the Get Connected 2016 event at the Radisson Blue Hotel, Glasgow.

282 delegates registered for the free event. In between attending one-to-one sessions with advisers or one of the 9 seminars that took place throughout the day, the footfall to our Export Service Design stand was non-stop and a great opportunity for the team to launch the new ExportSavvy eLearning tool and showcase our latest service developments with new and existing Scottish exporters.

Launching ExportSavvy eLearning

It’s our job as an Export Service Design team to talk to and listen to our customers. Feedback told us that our customers wanted more flexibility to suit different learning styles. Now, more than ever, individuals and companies are turning to eLearning courses and online training events to achieve their personal and professional goals (just look at the explosion and uptake of so-called “MOOC”s – Massive Open Online Courses).

Our customers told us that access to training and development tools is invaluable to their export success. But in this fast-paced business world, time is always precious and we recognised not every business can afford the time away from their core business to attend classroom training and seminars.

What is ExportSavvy?

ExportSavvy is a free online eLearning tool which offers businesses the flexibility to learn the nuts and bolts of exporting, either on their own at their own pace, or as blended learning with a dedicated export adviser – at a time that suits that particular business.

Developed out of the real-life experiences of SME exporters, ExportSavvy offers flexible access to the practical information, advice and learning which, we hope, will help underpin our customer’s Export success.

“It was a breath of fresh air. I really liked the mix of video and reading. The reading really made you think, yet I didn’t have to read reams and reams.” – Mark Sidebottom, World Heat Ltd

Businesses can access a whole range of powerful tips and guidance:

  • Browse specific subject areas to develop thinking;
  • Watch short videos and case studies for inspiration;
  • Read the checklists and guides to keep on track of their export journey;
  • Choose one of the many specific modules to help shape export plans.

Which topics are covered?

Step-by-step modules to help deepen knowledge across a range of topics:

  • Exploring your export potential;
  • Preparing your business for export;
  • Selecting and managing overseas partners;
  • Legal, financial and logistical considerations;
  • Communication and marketing;
  • And coming soon …  e-Commerce.

“What I really liked about the modules was the logical sequence, the planning part – consider this before you take the next step.” Matt Busby, The Name Label Company

Since launching ExportSavvy at Get Connected, a further 20+ companies are now benefitting from the tool and we’ll be catching up with them again in the coming weeks to learn more about their eLearning experience.

Get started

Registration is free, quick and simple at ExportSavvy.

International Market Research Service

There was a real buzz about the event, thankfully not ‘trumped’ by the US presidential election results the night before. If anything, it provided a great conversation starter and seamless segue for selling the benefits of market research and introducing our new International Market Research Service (IMRS).

Our fully-funded International Market Research Service provides businesses with tailored information and expertise; undertaking the research on behalf of the customer; providing a dedicated researcher; and responding to the customer with the information requested within five working days.

“so, I get my market research within 5 days? And it’s free?” – We heard this comment several times throughout the day and these points clearly differentiate the service for businesses.

Since 1st April, we’ve answered 695 research requests from a total of 499 Scottish Businesses and over 39% of customers have returned for more market research support.

We caught up with Jamie Bruski Tetsill of Shapes of Things, a fashion start-up based in Glasgow. Read Jamie’s story about how the support he received through the market research service helped his company successfully enter many overseas countries; including USA, Australia and Japan. Jamie also used a successful application for our Make it to Market grant to help deliver tangible outcomes to his market research support.

If you had the choice of speaking to a good sample of your customers or be left in the dark only with your assumptions, what would you choose?

Read my top 10 benefits of market research below;

Benefits of market research

1. Market research guides your communication with current and potential customers.

Once you have your research results, you should have enough ammunition to formulate the most effective way to communicate to your customers. You should know what they like/don’t like to hear/see/do. Then you can tailor what you say to them to make them take action.

2. Market research helps you identify opportunities in the marketplace.

Research might make it obvious that a new product you have planned may not be what your market wants or needs. You may then decide to make modifications on what you are going to offer to suit your audience.

3. Market research helps you minimise risks.

Through market research, you may find all the information you need to decide whether to take action on a particular subject. For example, you may find that the particular location where you wanted to open a shop already has a saturated market in your line of business, which should make you refrain from making that decision and look for a more appropriate spot.

4. Market research measures your reputation.

It’s always good to know how you measure against your competitors. Market research finds out just where you are and then, according to the results, you can take action to change perception.

5. Market research uncovers and identifies potential problems.

You can get consumers’ reactions to a new product or service when it is still being developed. This should enlighten any further development so it suits its intended market.

6. Market research helps you plan ahead.

Research can estimate the likely sales of a new product/service and also the advertising expenditure required to achieve maximum profits.

7. Market research can help you establish trends.

If you treat your market research as an ongoing exercise that you do periodically, you’ll find that you’ll have a lot of data to be able to analyse your customers and establish any particular trends.

8. Market research helps you establish your market positioning.

It’s important to know the position of your business at particular moments in time. Information from market research helps you benchmark and monitor your progress, which can be useful to make decisions and take action.

9. Market research can determine your USP (unique selling point).

Every brand needs to make a promise. If you think of the most known brands, they all make a promise to you and you usually know what is by just looking at their logo. It can be security, a fast and tasty meal or the assurance of top technology. It needs to be simple and market research can help you define what your brand’s USP is.

10. Market research can find that compromise.

The team involved in the launch of a new product/service all have their individual perceptions and gut feelings.  These certainly should not be ignored, but by going straight to the target audience, you will gain thoughts and opinions from people who may be less biased or less emotionally attached to a new development or service.  It helps gain a new angle, hopefully a compromise in just how you are going to go about a new launch, a new brand or a brand repositioning.

In a nutshell, market research is an invaluable tool that, at first, might seem expensive and slow, but it’s nothing more than an investment.

And remember, the International Market Research Service is free to Scottish Businesses with a swift 5-day turnaround. Simple.

Siobhan is Export Product Owner for our Trade Services.

Getting to know and understand our customers is fundamental to her role as Export Product Owner. It’s her job to represent their voice in all the digital export services we develop.

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