The International Marketing Research

As the concept of a global economy continues to develop, the demand for foreign market research will also increase. This means that the services provided by U.S. market research firms will need to include international research as an option for the two its domestic clients selling products or services into imported markets as well as non-U.S. clients selling into their own or extra markets. In many cases, the marketing research firm will be inquired to deploy a survey instrument in multiple languages with sub-quotas for each country.

DC sought the services of a marketing consulting firm to conduct research and formulate a marketing strategy for their new bar. The first steps involved a significant amount of competitive analysis around what confectionary bars are currently available in the marketplace, both nationally and internationally, and how they were positioned. This included pricing, bar sizes, branding, packaging and product range. Comparing this research against industry sales data allowed the consultants to analyse which manufacturers were doing well and why they were doing well.

Effective international marketing research calls for the use of a software platform that can accommodate strange language characters for the survey itself and the email invitations, survey instructions, and respondent validations. Presently there must also be a reliable method for directing respondents to the correct tongue version of the survey instrument if not known ahead. Vendors can accomplish this using keyboard recognition and/or language selection by the individual respondent. In the competitive analysis it was apparent that the market was segmented between mainstream chocolate bars – Cadbury, Whittaker’s, Lindt, etc; and organic chocolate bars – Green & Blacks, Dagoba, Scarborough Fair, etc. The new recipe was organic but after much analysis the consultants recommended that the bar was not positioned as organic. The organic customer base, although growing, was still very small and competitors consisted of a couple of large and a lot of small manufacturers. The mainstream chocolate bar customer base however was much larger. Going after the mainstream customers would mean that Donovan Brothers would only need to secure a small share of the market to be successful. The consultants recommended calling the bar ‘Donovan Brothers Pure Chocolate’. The word ‘pure’ is very mainstream yet still appealed to people who are concerned about the content of their food. ‘Pure’ would give Donovan Brothers a point of difference in the chocolate bar marketplace as it would highlight that it has no additives or preservatives. Pure had been used successfully by other New Zealand products such as beer, water and most notably in Tourism New Zealand’s international marketing campaign. This tourism link was important as it was planned that the chocolate would be exported and also sold in duty free stores.

It is important to recognize the need for fielding international market research testimonials in the appropriate language for a given country. England and even Canadian versions of a survey instrument may require translation as well as separate fielding from a U.S. version. Certain countries might also have an overabundance of than one dialect, and the survey need to be translated as needed to reach the desired segments. Usually, the language(s) used by the survey panelists will govern this option.

Delivery of survey results where multiple dialect survey instruments are used need not be a complicated undertaking when all of the questions are closed-ended (scales or other non-comment question types). Nevertheless, where open-ended comment questions are used, the final survey report usually requires language translation of the responses into a single reporting terminology, such as English. Sufficient time needs to be expected for this process, particularly if verbatim coding is desired.

September 8, 2013iavalanche Comments Off on The International Marketing Research
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