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Business Horizons (2007) 50, 113–122

www.elsevier.com/locate/bushor

International marketing research: A global project
management perspective
Robert B. Young a,⁎, Rajshekhar G. Javalgi b
a

Business Division, Lorain County Community College, 1005 North Abbe Road, Elyria, OH 44035, USA Nance College of Business Administration, Cleveland State University, 2121 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115-2214, USA

b

KEYWORDS
International marketing;
Global marketing
strategies;
Marketing research;
Competitive advantage

Abstract As organizations continue to pursue more global strategies, the need to be able to understand consumers in far away places is increasing. Marketing research is the primary mechanism through which companies understand their current, as well as potential, customers. As companies contemplate the global marketplace, they must consider how domestic market research differs when conducted in international markets. In an effort to help internal client side marketing research managers design and implement improved international research studies, we briefly discuss the context for international market research and provide a framework for conducting international market research projects. Additionally, we present several factors that should be considered by marketers who engage in global market research studies. These factors represent the variety of challenges that must be addressed in order to conduct research across national borders. Particular attention is paid to the nuances related to primary data collection and questionnaire construction.

© 2006 Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. All rights reserved.

1. Marketing research goes global
Changes in the global environment are presenting
organizations with both new opportunities and
challenges. Rapid advances in technology, increasing international trade and investment, growing wealth and affluence across the globe, and a
convergence of consumer tastes and preferences
are compelling businesses to expand their globalization strategies and tactics (Javalgi & White, 2002). In ⁎ Corresponding author.
E-mail address: ryoung@lorainccc.edu (R.B. Young).

essence, the global economy is forcing organizations
to adapt to a new international order (Czinkota &
Ronkainen, 2002; Rugman, 2001; Yaprak, 2002).
The process of international marketing research
shares many commonalities with its domestic
counterpart, namely the familiar steps of problem
definition, methodology design, fieldwork, and
final report and recommendations. The major
differences between the two involve disparities
that spring from political, legal, economic, social,
and cultural differences across countries, and the
problem of comparability of research results (Kumar,
2000).

0007-6813/$ - see front matter © 2006 Kelley School of Business, Indiana University. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.bushor.2006.08.003

114
As organizations become more global in their
operations, how will these companies continue to
be able to carry on a meaningful dialog with their
customers as they become ever more dispersed
around the globe? Which countries represent the
best opportunities for the organization's products
and services? How will these firms design consumerbased strategies that are customized for distant international market segments? Market research is
the functional link between marketing management
and an organization's ultimate customer-base.
Baker and Mouncey (2003) argue persuasively that
continual change and uncertainty in the global
market is causing seismic shifts in the role of
marketing research. Clearly, as globalization
increases, firms will need to know how to better
utilize market research approaches that enable
them to stay close to these worldwide and diverse
customer segments.
After briefly discussing the context for international market research, we provide a framework for conducting international market research...
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