International marketing research - Marketing Management

There are added complexities when marketing across international frontiers. These include the process of marketing research. Differences in the availability and quality of secondary data are important considerations, so care should be taken to verify the accuracy of such data. Social and marketing practices differ widely between countries, as can political and commercial institutions and of course, language.

In researching export markets, it is important to note that conditions may vary from country to country so each has to be investigated individually. It is important not to assume that because a product or service is a commercial success in one country, it will automatically be so in another. This is true even of countries that share similar customs, lifestyles and languages. There are examples where, because some basic but small difference has been overlooked, a great deal of money and effort on the part of the exporter has been wasted. For example, German male customers usually want their trousers to be fully lined to the knee. In the UK this is unusual. In China the colour for mourning is white; in most other parts of the world it is black. Similarly, in certain parts of Africa the colour red is considered unlucky. Quite simply, it is easy for the marketer to miss subtle differences between cultures when marketing their products.

Even within a country, regional variations may be sufficient to require a different marketing strategy. These variations add to the complexity of research in international markets, and should beconsidered at a very early stage in research design. As a simple example we can define potential export markets:

  • geographically;
  • administratively (by divisions imposed by the company);
  • by economic zones or trading blocs;
  • politically.

These extra dimensions add complexity and more uncertainty to the international marketing research situation.

Before we complete our discussion of the MkIS, we are going to examine the stages in the conduct of a marketing research exercise.


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