The objectives of this chapter are:
• To give an understanding of the way a global information system can help reduce uncertainty in decision making • To describe the process of global marketing research
• To show the problems associated with conducting global marketing research. Structure Of The Chapter
The chapter starts with identifying the types and categories of information which are useful in marketing decision making on a global scale and discusses the two main ways of getting information by surveillance or by research. Details are given on some of the sources of information available to marketers. The chapter then describes in some detail the process of global marketing research and highlights the dangers and pitfalls in the process. Uncertainty
In international marketing, the marketer is faced with a dilemma of having too much data and too little information. There is plenty of global data from sources like the World Bank, but often a lack of specific information on countries and markets. In helping to reduce uncertainty around decision making, precise information is the key, getting it is quite another thing. Whilst searching for opportunities globally, uncertainties will arise due to four main factors: lack of knowledge of the existence of possible new market alternatives, the conditions internal and external to the firm which will determine the consequences of a new alternative, what consequences these conditions when known may have for the firm, and how these consequences may be expressed in relevant terms of goal fulfilment. Uncertainty arises due to the time lapse between the decision and the outcome of the action decided on. Carlson (1975)1 also believes that uncertainty increases with the degree of "foreignness" of the place of outcome, the cost of information and the learning effect, that is, when entering a foreign market knowledge of it builds slowly, usually by experience and its attendant uncertainty. When marketing domestically the system is fairly easy to learn. When crossing global boundaries the whole process is exaggerated by necessary paperwork, exchange rates, cash flows and transportation problems to name but a few. This uncertainty gives rise to the need for information. Table 5.1 Specific information
Marketing decisionMarketing intelligence
Go international or remain domesticAssessment of global market and firm's potential share in it, in view of local and international competition, compared to domestic opportunities. Which markets to enterA ranking of world markets according to market potential, local competition and the political situation. How to enter target marketsSize of markets, international trade...