International marketing research is the formal study of specific situations that a business may encounter, or go through while undertaking a venture to explore foreign markets. Managers often fail in to understand the appropriate issues or the core problems and hence end up making right decisions for wrong problems. Since international markets are often foreign to a marketer, there are even more chances that the marketer misunderstands the concerns. So in order to understand the issues / situation better consider the following:
International marketing research may consist one of the three types of objectives;
It is to gather preliminary information that will help in defining the problem and suggest appropriate hypothesis.
It is to describe things such as market potential for a product, demographics, or attitudes of customers
It is to test the hypothesis about cause and effect relationships
Once research objectives are properly defined, then the researcher should develop the detailed plan for conducting the research. A detailed plan comprises of;
Determining specific information needs
The research objectives must be translated into specific information needs.
Plan for gathering secondary information
Information that already exists somewhere, having been collected for another purpose – relevant, current, impartial (objectively collected and reported)
Primary data collection plan
Information collected for the specific purpose at hand – research approaches: observation, survey, experiment
• Deciding contact method
• Mail, telephone, personal
• Detailing the sampling plan
• Sampling unit, sample size, sampling procedure
Implementing the research plan
Data collection phase is generally the most expensive and most subjective error – wrong implementation, problems in contacting respondents, biased or dishonest answers, problems with interviews etc.
Interpreting the reporting findings
Both researchers and managers must work together at this stage – researchers know methodology better while managers understand problems and the possible management solutions better.
The role of internet in conducting international marketing research is that it provides a wide platform to access different sources of your kind, ranging from personal home pages to the web pages of corporate web sites which provide professional, statistical and informational services. As per the rule of thumb, you are likely to find most accurate, appropriate and top-notch information from the web sites which are run by either government bodies or professional information services. They not only synchronize the information in to a well perceivable format, but also are replete with motivation for profit gaining that drives them to provide you with the best available informational details. Internet has created revolution in this stream as before the advent of internet, you would likely be spending over hundreds of dollars for conducting the international marketing research whereas now you can have access to the databases at a very economical price which is mostly monthly subscription.