Due to global financial issues in the recent months, consumer confidence is low in the more developed markets such as Japan, the US and Europe (AFP, 2012). Therefore developing markets, such as the Australian market, are looking towards emerging markets where the markets have remained dynamic and rich in growth opportunities. This is because emerging markets “have reached a minimum level of GDP and are in the growth phase of the development cycle” (Pearson Education, 2012), however due to this growth phase these markets are still vulnerable to both internal and external forces. With many companies world-wide seeking global growth opportunities, it has never been more important for international marketing research to be conducted in order to fully understand the consumers of these markets (Greenland, 2011). This growth of emerging markets has presented a number of challenges for international marketing researchers including differences in research costs and also environmental differences such as differences in culture and even difficulties in communication and technology.
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CHALLENGE 1 – RESEARCH COST VARIATIONS
Conducting research in a different country, especially one that is classified as an emerging market, can create many issues for international market researchers. For example, Greenland (2011) talked about how the expense of conducting research in emerging markets, such as Africa, is usually much higher than when compared to projects conducted in developed countries. Even though some of these issues may be catered for at the planning stage, many of these issues are unpredictable and can occur at any stage throughout the research project, creating a high chance of the project going over budget. Many factors including travel costs, currency fluctuation and availability of technology can affect the price of market research. However due to the fact that creative research approaches are needed in emerging markets, these higher prices may not be able to be overcome without a lot of research and understanding of the cultural and economic norms of the emerging market country (Craig and Douglas 2005). As well as culture and economics being a factor in the high cost variations associated with research on emerging markets, the fact that infrastructure and technology is significantly limited also creating many issues to market researchers. This is because limited technology significantly limits the number of options the international market researchers have access to in order to conduct their research. No or limited technology means that most market research will need to be conducted face-to-face. Having to conduct research face-to-face in emerging markets can introduce extra expenses in the form of travel and extra staff when compared to virtual interactions such as online surveys. This is because in many of these emerging markets, for example Africa, “poor road networks, lack of direct flights, and the vast distances involved” (Greenland 2011) make it extremely difficult to reach these rural areas. As well as being time consuming, this is also a costly process with both transportation and accommodation needed to be taken into account. With these face-to-face interactions comes the problem of being able to communicate with participants who are likely to speak a different language. On suggestion to overcoming this problem is to train local people within the emerging market to conduct the research on behalf of the international market researchers. However, this approach is only a viable option if there are no time constraints due to the fact that it is likely to take a lot of time to train these new people and make them understand what the researcher is trying to find out. International market research can cost a lot more than when conducting research in a developed market, however businesses that are wanting to invest in emerging...