Companies competing in the 21st century are seeking to increase revenues, growth and broaden geographic scope by entering new markets. Companies have to respond to the increasing pace of conducting business in these global markets. This in turn leads to the first step in the marketing process which is to conduct market research in order to receive timely, accurate and correct information that is required to deal with these challenges in this increasingly rapid paced competitive environment.
“One member of the audience asked Duan how companies obtain market research about Chinese consumers. Not easily as it turns out” (7)
Market research is traditionally defined as “the systematic gathering, recording and analysing of data to provide information useful in marketing decision making ((5) Cateora and Graham, 2007, pg 214). However, when conducting research in other markets the international market researcher faces many potential problems and challenges that they would not face in their own country, and it becomes quite complex to “systematically gather, record and analyse data to provide useful information”. Below I will outline the many problems/challenges that the international market researcher is likely to encounter.
Defining the problem and establishing research objectives. (5) The research process starts with defining the research problem and creating detailed research objectives. (3) This can only be achieved if the researcher is able to translate vague research objectives into specific, measureable and attainable objectives. In known and familiar markets the researcher frequently begins with unclear and undefined clarity of the actual problem and this is further exacerbated when dealing in unknown and unfamiliar markets. (5)
With sociocultural and economic markets differing so much from country to country, international market researchers must be able to adapt research questions and research instruments to varied markets. (6)
One of the main considerations that researchers fail to recognise or include as part of their research is the inclusion of local culture and the failure to also include self-referencing criterion. So now what occurs is that the researcher deals with the problem/objective in exactly the same way they would if they were dealing with it in their own domestic market. This is one of the most important aspects when conducting research in a foreign market and that is to understand the local market and recognise the SRC.
For e.g. in Slavic countries (e.g. Slovakia), the national drink, Slivovica is often drank first thing in the morning to give one an adrenalin boost for the day whereas in South Africa if one were to drink a very high alcoholic drink so early in the day, one would be considered to be an alcoholic.
If the researcher considers the SRC and is not blurred by the SRC and they ask the correct questions in the beginning phase of the process, they will be able to satisfactorily define the specific challenge and will be able to establish specific, measureable and attainable objectives.
Problems of availability and use of secondary data. (5)
Many first world and developed countries have masses of secondary data available. However in less developed and emerging countries there is very limited availability of secondary data. Even if there is data available, questions must be asked about the reliability, accuracy, comparability and validity of the data.
If we consider the availability of data, some countries just don’t have any data available. For e.g. If we in South Africa wanted to conduct research in Burkina Faso about “living standards measurement” there is no data or research that has been composed. The researcher would struggle to find such information.
If we consider reliability of data we would have to take the following into account: is the data collected reliable? For e.g. if a foreign country...
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