Strategic Planning

Strategic planning and performance management are part of a framework – a virtuous circle in which plans are developed and implemented, and lessons from the performance management process are fed into the next planning round.


Asha’s Market Insights Make a Difference

It was time for the annual planning round. Each office abroad sent an annual plan and a proposed budget. The total bids always exceeded the budget available, and difficult choices had to be made at head office.

Asha was determined to get a budget increase, and deliver on exciting new trade promotion activities. She was confident that enough exporters from her home country were now ready and keen to build sales in her host country – but she also had to demonstrate that demand was strong and growing.

Asha started by using ITC market analysis tools, including the export potential map, to match supply and demand, as well as growth potential. She tested these statistics with calls to her network of sector associations and chambers in her host country, to find out more about relevant trends in sub-sectors.

She compiled the results in a mix of graphics and market insight interviews, and included it in her funding bid, hoping to set it apart from the others and justify the budget increase.

Key Points

Trade representatives have a key role in organizational planning, and benefit from clearly defined objectives.

To prioritize areas of opportunity within key markets requires insights from local experts.

A good planning round can also result in a strong programme of missions, trade fairs and other activities for the trade representative, with the necessary resources allocated.

Setting both volume and value targets helps to achieve a balanced result.

The trade representative’s role in planning processes:



Finding attractive market sector opportunities


Finding competitive suppliers

Checklist: Finding attractive market sector opportunities

Total market size
Import volume and proportion
Import growth rate
Import barriers and regulations (tariff and non-tariff)
Ease of doing business
Competition (domestic and foreign)
Quality and packaging issues
Market trends

Checklist: Finding competitive suppliers

Knowledge of current exports by exporters from home country
Branding and appeal within host market
Relative pricing


Diversify Markets and Products to Reduce Risk


Strategic Choices


Strategic Choices