Data acquired through personal contacts

The sales representative of a savoury snacks manufacturer was visiting ANUGA, a major trade fair for the food industry in Cologne. In conversation with a major distributor of grocery products in Germany he was told that there could be an opportunity for the export of his company's unique range of adult-oriented exotic snack products. During the course of the trade fair he explored this idea further with other distributors and retailers and the idea was greeted positively. On return to the UK, he filed his report and met with the international marketing manager. A pan-European research project was commissioned with the support of the DTI. Ten months later the first export orders for the snacks were processed. The company has now carved a profitable European niche for its products._

As this example illustrates, information picked up during the normal course of work by sales representatives, by attendance of executives at conferences and meetings, and by customer suggestions and complaints, made either direct to the firm or via the medium of its retailer and distributor network, can be of value if the organization responds appropriately.

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