This complimentary excerpt from the new Principles Express course Global Market Research, authored by Nancy Kramarich, covers the complexities of global market research, and teaches you how to navigate that complexity, follow best practices and ensure the success of a global market research project.
10 Tips For Conducting Global Market Research Successfully
Global market research can be one of the most exciting and rewarding types of market research. To successfully run a market research project, a researcher has to have more than excellent market research skills. He or she needs to be a project manager, a diplomat, and a coach—while working across cultures, languages, and time zones. The stakes in global market research can be high:
- Because of the size and complexity involved, a global market research project might be the biggest investment a company makes on one research project in a given year.
- Global market research is often one of the inputs used in models to determine how much to invest in a market, or whether to invest at all.
- Since large-scale global projects are typically done less frequently than domestic research, the research may be used for several years.
- Global research is often high profile, crossing the desks of the most senior people in an organization.
Global research can often be more complex than domestic research, and it gets more complex the more countries are added into the mix. Despite the complexity involved, global research is expected to grow at a faster rate than domestic research, partly driven by many US markets reaching the saturation point, causing US companies to explore less-developed international markets. The increased reach that has been provided by the Internet and mobile technology is also a factor in this growth.
Many countries, many stakeholders, many languages, and many time zones can mean many opportunities for miscommunication or misunderstanding. Here are ten tips that summarize best practices, help navigate that complexity, and ensure the success of a global research project.
- Carefully assemble a “steering committee” for the study. Make sure it includes a mix of global and local country stakeholders, and representation from a range of functions (Marketing, Market Research, and Regulatory, for example). The steering committee should meet a few times throughout the process – the kick-off, a subsequent meeting to share final design, an interim progress meeting, and for the final report.
- Always have a kick-off meeting to share and align on objectives, methodology, and timing.
- Send written materials ahead of conference calls so that team members have the opportunity to review them in advance.
- Speak (and write) simply and clearly. Avoid idiomatic expressions, jargon, and colloquialisms.
- Follow up phone calls with a written summary of key decisions.
- Do not assume non-response means agreement. Follow up with local markets to ensure they can meet any obligations they might have.
- Do not assume the timelines you use in domestic projects will work in global ones. Build in time for feedback and approvals; local countries offices are often resource-strapped and may have to engage others not on the core team (e.g., legal, regulatory.) Just because it is a working day where you are does not mean others are working too. Each country has its own national holidays – make sure you note any at the outset of a project.
- Agree to what is being translated, and by whom. Build in time for translation and assessment of the quality of the translation. The previously accepted method of back-translation is giving way to subject matter expert review as a means of evaluating translated materials.
- If possible, arrange for simultaneous translation from the local language when doing qualitative research. This lets viewers or listeners react to feedback in the moment—and ask probing questions, if applicable.
- Plan for the final report from the outset.
That tenth point is worth developing in detail. Things to keep in mind:
- Are local market reports being created? If so, talk to each local stakeholder to understand their specific needs.
- Show end-users some sample report pages to highlight how information will be displayed and a Table of Contents so they understand what they are getting and can tell you if something is missing.
- Discuss interim reports. If they are needed, they need to be planned for — an impromptu request for results can put strain on the research process.
- Ensure that the client researcher is involved in how the report is structured. Get consensus on whether to include action items and recommendations along with the findings. While most clients want recommendations and a point of view from their research partners, appetite can vary.
- Culture counts! Understand from the outset who will be doing the presentations and how the company that has commissioned it will best receive the research.
While challenging, global market research is a great way to hone research skills as you learn about cultures, and participant attitudes and behaviors around the world. Have fun!
The information described above is just some of what is taught in our affordable online Principles Express course, Global Market Research. Interested in learning more? Principles Express courses are totally self-paced, online and easy to complete in 9 to 14 hours. For only $359, you’ll learn about the value and challenges you might encounter when linking primary and secondary data, and receive a certificate from the University of Georgia and MRII for completing the course. Click here or call +1 706 542 3537 to learn more!
We are grateful for the course to be sponsored by Ipsos Healthcare , a global firm of specialized market research teams and services – dedicated to providing in depth understanding and precise measurement of the data and actioning that drives commercial success in the healthcare industry. Such sponsorships have funded the development of our new line of Principles Express courses, a portfolio of $359 online courses that let you master a research skill at your own pace, with just 9 to 14 hours of study.