Leveraging Market Research for International Development
International development (IDEV) practitioners seek to improve the lives of people around the world through programs that reduce poverty, build effective governance, promote economic growth and contribute to a cleaner environment.
Quality data contributes significantly to these and other development objectives by helping to establish baselines, improve program effectiveness, justify funding levels and provide clarity for all stakeholders on what is being implemented. Shrinking aid budgets have magnified the demand for evidence-based programming as funding agencies, recipient countries and implementing partners seek greater impacts with fewer program dollars.
However, as noted in Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 17, there are systemic challenges to gathering and using data effectively in an international development context. Obstacles range from technological hurdles to an insufficient local capacity to collect and analyze data.
Revolutionizing the way data is gathered and used for international development objectives cannot be implemented by national governments and international institutions alone. The private sector, including independent market research providers, must play a central role in the provision and innovative use of data in the IDEV space.
How is market research relevant and how can it contribute to international development?
Quality, comprehensive market research is relevant to all stages of the IDEV project cycle. This includes macro and socioeconomic research as well as industry and sector data. IDEV practitioners can use this “holistic” market research to improve strategy development, program design and project implementation.
Market research also helps to support IDEV with strategy development by providing greater clarity on the local, regional and even global operating environment.
For instance, a multilateral development bank (MDB) wanted to identify growth markets and investment opportunities in the poultry industry. Focusing on 12 emerging market countries on three continents, Euromonitor supplied the MDB global and country-level data and analysis including in-depth company profiles, supply chain analysis, growth drivers, and industry forecasting for each country.
The MDB used the research to inform both specific investment decisions and their overall sector strategy. Leveraging a third party independent provider’s expertise helped deliver a more complete and cost-effective solution.
IDEV professionals can also use market data for program design, facilitating problem identification and recipient targeting.
To illustrate, a small non-governmental organization (NGO) was working on an agriculture export promotion project in Latin America that required custom research and syndicated data to assist with the overall strategy. Euromonitor International was a direct implementing partner from the proposal drafting stage, assisting the NGO with program design and project implementation by identifying the most lucrative agricultural products for the target market, key regulatory and other hurdles. Additionally, they were able to view potential distribution channels all the way down to the grocery/retail level.
In this case, using pre-existing datasets also helped reduce project costs, freeing up limited project funds for more direct development impacts.
Market research can also support project implementation by providing underlying data to help define clear objectives and expectations for all stakeholders.
As an example, a global non-profit wanted to increase women’s access to financial products and services in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America to improve gender equality. It would have been inefficient and cost-prohibitive for the non-profit or even a large development bank to recreate this data, particularly given the challenges of gathering and standardizing this level of information for multiple countries. Instead, by using syndicated market research, the non-profit was able to identify banking and financial services providers, the local micro-/macroeconomic business and regulatory environments, as well as extensive household and demographic data including by gender.
By partnering with relevant stakeholders, third party market providers play a pivotal role in assisting governments to develop their own capacity to gather and analyze data. Quality research benefits all stages of the project cycle – from strategy formulation through program design to project implementation. IDEV practitioners need to use more and better data innovatively to magnify impacts, meet recipient needs faster and be more prudent with taxpayer funds.
IDEV professionals that leverage existing datasets and capabilities rather than spend limited program dollars performing redundant research can access more data and will free up additional funds for programmatic impacts. Finding a research provider that has the experience and capabilities in data-poor environments will also enable teams to access bespoke, cost-effective research. In addition, utilising a market research company that has access to networks of in-country analysts that are fluent culturally and linguistically can provide key insights into the local context and improve data quality.
As a leading global market data provider, Euromonitor International is well-positioned to provide cost-effective data solutions for international development practitioners and recipient countries across multiple sectors and continents. Euromonitor contributes critical data and analysis through two core suites of services:
- Passport Data Platform – Includes internationally cross-comparable data and analysis covering more than 35 sectors and thematic areas – from Health and Agriculture to Economy, Finance & Trade
- Custom Research – Leverages Euromonitor’s global network of over 1,200 staff based in 100 countries, completing over 8,000 custom research projects across 196 countries including extensive work in emerging and frontier markets
Euromonitor data also helps NGOs and other implementing partners submit more competitive proposals by providing the underlying rationale for specific interventions.
Euromonitor works across nearly all IDEV practice areas with IDEV clients primarily using our syndicated and custom research capabilities across the following sectors:
- Economic Growth and Trade
- Gender Equality and Social Inclusion
- Water and Sanitation
- Agriculture and Food Security
- Energy, Natural Resources and Environment
Interested in learning more how Euromonitor International can help support IDEV initiatives? Please contact us and a member of our team will reach out to you shortly.