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close this bookSmall Enterprise Development: In-service Mining Manual (Peace Corps, 1986, 231 p.)
close this folderSession 8: Market information gathering
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentMarket assessment form




Market research for host-countries should not be confused with stateside versions, which expend millions of dollars to determine product characteristics and servicing needs. In this session, tools will be developed to plug simple marketing gaps, and participants will understand how to frame questions and issues in culturally acceptable ways.


1. To identify all the potential information sources in a given setting.

2. To have participants practice useful information-gathering techniques.

3. To emphasize that market research is a "quick and dirty" effort aimed at lessening the uncertainty by identifying and assessing the most important risks of production.


1. Familiarize yourself with the Market Assessment form in order to ensure that all the relevant questions are included for use in the host-country.

2. Prepare newsprint for the following items:

- session objectives

- outline of information-gathering skills


1. Newsprint and magic markers; tape

2. Paper and pens


1. Market Assessment Form

2. The Folly and Consequences of Trusting Your Data


(5 min)

Introductory Statement:

1a. Explain to the participants that there is a great deal of information available that can be used to make their products better, cheaper, and more attractive to consumers. If groups are concerned only with production and do not collect important market information, they are not making the most informed decisions about what will make their product sell.

1b. Review the objectives for the session and clarify any questions the participants may have regarding them.

Market Research:

(10 min)

2a. Introduce the concept of market research by asking the participants the following questions:

Why do American firms invest heavily in market research?

What are some of the ways in which American firms gather market information?


Included in the responses to the above questions might be the following:

Heavy investment in market research allows firms to understand the changes in consumer behavior before mass-producing inappropriate products. This reduces the risk faced when introducing new or redesigned products.

Ways of gathering information include telephone surveys, questioning people on the street or at home, test-marketing products, etc.

2b. Ask the participants the following questions regarding the role of market research in the host-country and put their responses on newsprint:

(10 Min)

How do host-country business people appear to get market information?

How has market research been used in your own project?


While market information is spread in different ways in different cultures, there are some fairly universal methods. These include word-of-mouth, handbills, signs, posters, and radio and newspaper advertisements. Of course, the list generated by the trainees should be country-specific.

Individual Task:

(45 Min)

3a. Have the participants complete the following task individually (already on newsprint):
a. Make a list of the questions you would want to have answered before starting or expanding your project.
b. Review the Marketing Flows Chart and determine which of the actors is likely to have the information you need. List any other individuals in the community you would contact before reaching a decision.
c. Indicate what types of information you would expect to obtain from them.
d. Indicate how reliable you would expect the information gathered to be.

Be prepared to make a ten-minute presentation of your information to the large group for comment/critique.

Individual Presentations:

(30 Min)

4. Reconvene the participants and have volunteers make presentations for comments/critique. Be sure the large group focuses on the appropriateness of the questions and the selection of information sources in their review comments.

Large Group Work On Market Assessment:

(20 Min)

5. Pass out the "Market Assessment Form" and have the participants read it individually. Lead a large-group discussion based on the following task:

Develop a comprehensive assessment form, based on the information which you developed for the presentations and which was provided in the was provided in the assessment form.

Role of the Volunteer in Information-Gathering:

(15 Min)

6. Ask the participants the following questions regarding the role of the Volunteer in information-gathering, based on the information in this session and experiences at their sites:

What is the appropriate role for the Volunteer in market research?

How active should the PCV be vis-a-vis the group with whom he/she is working?

What dangers are there when the PCV does all the market research alone?

Who is more likely to know the real centers of influence in a community - the PCV or a member who has lived there all of his/her life?

How can a host-country person be trained to take on this function? What is the appropriate role for the Volunteer in this process?


(5 Min)

7a. Pass out the handout "The Folly and Consequences of Trusting Your Data" for the participants to keep as reference material.