Challenges of Conducting Global Market Research

Dani Garan
Aug 19, 2019

world map and research icons known per city

There has been a prominent increase in the number of companies around the globe seeking international growth opportunities which makes the administration of global market research projects even more important. Studies show that the global revenue of the market research industry exceeded $45.8 billion in 2017 and only continues to grow.

It is because organizations hope to understand what other options they have outside of the local market and domestic consumers making market research an indispensable part of the business. But while this milestone opens up possibilities for a lot of organizations, it also introduces more challenges not usually found in dealing with the local market. It also increases the demand for market researchers who are well-versed in catering to a global audience.

Global market researchers will come across difficulties from prominent differences across various countries such as diverse cultures and customs, differing levels of economic development, and varying buying patterns.

It is vital to learn about these difficulties in advance and prepare so you can work your way around more effectively and avoid committing highly precarious mistakes.

Main Challenges of Global Market Research:

Costs and Technological capabilities 

Cost is a pressing matter for stakeholders and organizations who want to maximize every dollar spent on their research investment. Global market researchers are usually faced with challenges stemming from factors such as differences in currencies, logistics issues, and limited technological capabilities. These are typically encountered in emerging markets in countries that have insufficient infrastructures such as lack of telecommunication devices, shortage in electricity, poor transportation, and road systems, and sometimes low levels of literacy. Because of these factors, some companies are hesitant to finance global research studies.

Possible solution:

Find a market research services provider that has solid experience in facilitating market research in areas of your concern because they know the limitations better and you wouldn't have to physically fly over to where your respondents are.

Government Bureaucracy

There are countries that have laws requiring research permits. Some government bodies often require researchers to provide them a copy of the survey questions before giving them the approval to conduct in their city or country. These permits can take several days, even weeks, before it is released which slows down the progress of your study.                      

Possible solution:

As soon as your team is able to identify the scope of your study, make sure to check on the cities or countries that will be involved and see if there’s a need for any kind of government permit. Prepare and send out the requests ahead of time so that there will be no delays in your project schedule.

Cultural and language barriers

One of the most distinct challenges to global market studies is often translating research questions into the language of its subjects. After surveys and questionnaires have been answered, responses must then be translated back into the original language for interpretation and analysis. Confusion also arises from words, phrases, or idioms that mean different things in different cultures. There are instances where it will be hard for researchers to communicate complex ideas and must rely on visual cues such as photographs to help the respondents obtain a better understanding of what you are trying to convey. You are required to understand how each of these cultures will respond to your brand. Basically, there is a need to modify the market research process in such a way that it does not conflict with any of the countries’ cultural values.

Possible solution:

The best solution is to hire a local researcher to help you ask, convert, and translate data. This local researcher can also enlighten you on local regulations and norms that you should be aware of from the beginning.

Any researcher wanting to gather data across cultures should really evaluate these factors before conducting their questionnaires to ensure the responses are representative of actual consumer sentiment and at the same time predictive of future brand performance. Seek third-party help from a global market research services provider that can provide assistance with all of these challenges to ease your way into the completion of your project.  Although the challenges and expenses associated with international research may be high, the costs of not doing it – in terms of missed opportunities and mistakes – might be even higher.

Civicom® Marketing Research Services Provides Quality Solutions for Your Global Market Research

Civicom® Marketing Research Services is the global leader in providing web-enabled solutions for your project success. Our comprehensive range of services includes online IDI and focus group facilitation, a mobile insights app, an online community platform, multimedia curation, plus other useful tools designed specifically for your market research needs. Get in touch with us to learn more.

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