Kindly update with the country you are targeting , so that a quality answer could be told .
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I would look at data -- annual and sell-side analyst reports, etc. -- on companies that are operating in the same area. Also, I wouldn't be shy about contacting the Department of Commerce. I don't know in which country you are interested, but the DOC has Foreign Commercial Service Officers attached consulates all over the world, and these people tend to be very knowledgeable about local conditions. Lastly, I would recommend seeing if you can't find a local partner -- there are few better sources of local intel than an actual local.
The first thing you need to know is your buyer persona. Once you know this you can leverage off of other stats sources e.g. a print magazine ad rate card with demographics that is aligned to your audience.
In the absence of good organized data/information, it is first best to research on the net. See magazine ezcerpts, articles in Industry journals, other research publications and record key data that you can get. Finally, talk to some industry folks at senior positions across companies /businesses so you get good insight from their knowledge. There knowledge will be good enough for start.
Take a poll. Put up a market test website with an exit poll. Keep it simple. Ask about what they are looking for, what they need and what they have been unable to find.
You must then go outside the country and it can prove to be a much better advantage because now you can demonstrate what is taking place other places that could greatly benefit the country that you are in.
One way could be by doing quantitative or qualitative research through competitions or give-aways.
(qualitative research) e.g. make an online survey (I like to use google forms, it's free) through a competions, meaning that participant answers a series of questions (you design) and by doing so they compete in a competition for a some kind of a prize.
(Quantitative research) Either before and/or after the qualitative research you can survey induviduals to elaborate on questions og hipotheses you might have.
Typical these are used to segment the market, read here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_segmentation.
I dont know which country you speak of but these resources might be of use to you:
And you can probably also contact the country's embassy to ask them if the know of any resources or companies who could might help you.
Hope this helps?
There is no definitive answer to this question as the best method is dependent upon what you want information, statistics or feedback on. Research is about asking accurate questions that prompt the responses you can use.
Hi, Isabel - thinking in you home country - have you tried the Instituto Boliviano de Comercio Exterior (http://ibce.org.bo/) maybe you can find some stats. In addition, you can access Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) (www.eiu.com) where you can find more info - not so sure if you can access through the public library system in Bolivia
Do a survey by email. Ask 10-20 to the point multiple choice, send them to companies In the area of interest. Gather the information. Allow 10% variance for companies to save face in their answers and get a minimum of 200 replies and the more the better the information will stand. It may take time to build the email list and gather the answers. Give them some kind of incentive for their reply and get your data.