We were asked recently by the British-Slovenian Chamber of Commerce to run a b2b focused session for their members on the practical, first steps they could do to research the UK market and we thought we’d share some of our thoughts.
Not normally top of any one’s list in terms of research, but definitely top of ours, is to get to know your local trade media as these are an invaluable source of information on your market, key trends, news and your competition. The UK is well-served with lots of trade publications. Depending on the sector you operate in, there are typically one or two primary trade titles and a number of more specialist media that you can engage with as well.
By finding these relevant publications you will find yourself armed with a more in-depth knowledge of your UK market; you will find what your key competitors are doing and saying, even what clients or contracts they have won. Trade media will also help you find the key events in your sector many of which, in the current climate, have moved online making them even more accessible to founders here and abroad. With some more regular, ongoing reading, you will begin to work out who are the key opinion formers in your industry, the trends and key topics. All of the above should be incredibly useful in helping you finetune your messaging and offering for the UK market and make you much more knowledgeable when you start speaking to your first key customers. Many trade publications offer you the chance to subscribe to their newsletters and we’d recommend you register for these as another way of keeping up to date with UK news and activity.
Closely linked to our point about the trade media, trade associations can be another great source of practical information about the UK market. Sometimes the publisher of a trade magazine, trade associations can bring you up to speed very quickly with your industry sector in the UK and can be a great source of resources and training. Again, they may be very specific in their expertise so you might have more than one that you want to follow or engage with. We certainly know of at least one client who managed to recruit his UK team having met them at various industry events held by the trade association linked to his market.
Perhaps one of the most common mistakes companies make is not getting to know their competition well enough before launching themselves in the UK. So, the third and final point we would extract from our thoughts presented at this event was about just how much you can, and should, find out about your competitors. There’s the obvious starting point of a competitor’s website, but also start following them on social media (we are quite often surprised that Twitter does not feature as highly in companies’ b2b social media channels as it tends to here in the UK so, as always, don’t stick to what you know, learn what works best in a new market) and watch what they say and do in their trade media.
And, if this all sounds like a lot of work, it is. That’s why we often undertake this sort of practical research for clients eyeing up the UK opportunity, delivering a monthly report to help inform next steps on the market entry journey!