Experts on the ground: canback market visits
While we take a sharply analytical approach to quantify market opportunities for today and tomorrow, this alone is not sufficient to provide our clients with a comprehensive view of what is happening in those markets.
Canback consultants have therefore walked the ground in nearly 80 countries over the past ten years, in order to complement our quantitative expertise with an intimate understanding of the markets we visit.
Market visits allow us to have a close-up look at the markets that we evaluate and derive useful insights on the environment in which our clients are interested in. Naturally, projects that typically involve a market visit require us to have a strong understanding of the market landscape (e.g. M&A Due Diligence, Market Entry Strategy, Market Prioritization, Consumer Segmentation).
The goal of a market visit is to gain as much qualitative and quantitative insight into a market as possible. We achieve this by investigating three components of the market: consumers, the distribution network, and competitors. We then confirm our findings and supplement our knowledge base with an overview of the political and economic landscape.
- Consumers: We observe differing consumption patterns across demographic groups (e.g. gender, age, income level), and measure consumer sentiment for brands or types of marketing
- Distribution network: We visit the full spectrum of outlets* – from the modern hypermarket to the traditional roadside stall – to interview store managers and understand their needs. We also try to gain a perspective of the S&D (Sales and Distribution) infrastructure to get a sense of the supply chain / value chain
- Competition: We look beyond the obvious “Pepsi vs. Coke” competitor view, and further investigate local companies that may not be as visible to a desktop researcher, such as players that operate in adjacent categories and/or players that operate in the informal market
The size of the visiting team varies based on the project type. An average team consists of 6 people (4 Canback consultants and 2 client team members). A typical visit lasts about a week, with variation depending on data availability, scheduling and timing challenges, and impact on the final deliverable. A sample market visit schedule would look like the following:
- Prior to visit: Conduct preliminary analyses to gain a rough perspective of the market, using public data, client data, and EIU data (including C-GIDD)
- Day 1: Arrive at the capital city (or equivalent large urban center) and interface with the local client office or subsidiary (home base). Take a “first look” with consumers at a few outlets to get an initial sense of consumer behavior and preference
- Day 2: Visit modern trade outlets in the morning and traditional trade outlets in the evening, based on their high-traffic times of the day. Also interview wholesalers and distributors
- Days 3-4: Split into teams and visit secondary cities to conduct similar investigation as Day 2. Stop by rural towns and villages along the way if possible
- Day 5: Re-convene in the capital city, conduct further research in suburban areas (if applicable)
- Day 6: Debrief at home base to consolidate and syndicate findings
Market visits have allowed us to collect invaluable insights, unearth otherwise missing data, and ultimately have full confidence in our recommendations to our clients. Our extensive experience in conducting market visits have taught us a few lessons, such as:
- Available data on the internet or through data providers tend to underestimate the relevant market’s true size
- There are more largely-unknown local competitors than one may expect
- It is important to understand the needs of distributors and wholesalers (e.g. terms of trade, pricing agreements) – simply looking at the needs of the end consumer (or end user) does not yield the whole picture
If you would like to learn more about our market visit expertise, click here
* Some types of categories (e.g. food and beverages) are sold in different channels, such as on-premise and off-premise. We cover all channels in order to have a comprehensive perspective on distribution strategy