At Marketing Sciences Unlimited, we do a lot international market research. Here are 10 Tips For Conducting International Market Research. Enjoy!
1. REMEMBER THE TIME DIFFERENCE
An obvious one to start with, but crucial to bear in mind and can be used to the advantage of the project. For example, send those all-important emails for contacts in Asia first thing to maximise chances of a same-day response
2. CONSUMER LANGUAGE DIFFERS
Staying with the more obvious for now, but again, a crucial point to be mindful of at all stages of the research project. Has the true meaning of a question been carried through to the translation? Are there specific words or phrases which are used in one market which don’t exist in another, which are useful for the client to be aware of?
3. THE IMPORTANCE OF CLEAR RFQs (REQUEST FOR QUOTES)
Include clear but concise instructions for fieldwork agencies, using language which is not open to interpretation. However, harness their local knowledge and guidance to ensure you get the most out of the research
4. TRAVEL PRACTICALITIES TAKE TIME
If travelling to attend fieldwork, ensure plenty of time for forward planning. Are there things which need organising in advance, such as foreign currency? A visa? Travel adapters?
5. THINK ABOUT CUSTOMS AND DISPATCH TIMES
If there are materials to dispatch, how likely is a hold-up at customs, and how would such a delay impact overall timings? Research the typical lead time for sending materials and their arrival in relevant markets
6. RECRUITING FOR INTERNATIONAL RESEARCH
How many recruiters will be working at any one time and how will this impact overall timings? 2-3 interviewers is typical of USA & Germany, vs. 6-7 in the UK for example. Other things to consider include: whether same-gender recruiters need to be factored in in certain markets, or if local privacy laws will restrict the type of data you can collect
7. FIELDWORK SETTINGS
Different markets often conduct interviews in different ways, and/or in different places. Interviews are often conducted in-home in the Middle East vs. central locations in Western Europe. Consider whether the structure of the interview and materials needed accommodates both scenarios, as well as the impact this could have on results
8. CHECK FIELDWORK MATERIALS ARE RELEVANT ACROSS MARKETS
Aim to get a view on whether a concept, or even specific questions, are appropriate or relevant to use or ask in the markets of interest. A concept which is perfectly acceptable in one market may cause offence in another, or worse…
9. BE CLEAR ABOUT YOUR DATA REQUIREMENTS
As a starting point, consider producing a datamap for quantitative jobs to ensure consistency in provision of data from different fieldwork agencies. Requesting interim data can also be a useful way of making sure different markets are aligned in their data collection, and save time later down the line
10. COMPARE AND CONTRAST YOUR RESULTS ACROSS MARKETS
Comparing results – different markets typically respond in different ways; Brazilian consumers often rate things more positively than UK counterparts for example, so exercise caution when comparing results across markets
We hope you have found these tips useful, we’ve certainly put them all into practice over the years. To find out how we can help you at a global level please feel free to get in touch!
Frances Lyon is a Research Manager working in the product, sensory and packaging teams. She handles international research projects for a number of global clients.Subscribe