Observational Research

Observation is especially useful for those who are completely unfamiliar with a region because this method provides a first-hand opportunity to watch and learn. Trade missions to other nations are excellent opportunities for experiential information through observation in new markets. Observation can also help with the details of product refinements for specific regions. Knowing this, Toyota once dispatched a team of engineers and designers to the U.S., where they discreetly observed as women got into and operated their cars. Key observations– such as how women with long fingernails had trouble opening doors– led to subtle design changes. But, be aware of regional regulations regarding observation. In Europe, for example, researchers and marketers much schedule retail store checks with store managers in advance.

 

This is an excerpt from Dr. Czinkota’s book Global Business: Positioning Ventures Ahead, co-authored by Dr. Ilkka Ronkainen.

Michael R Czinkota and Ilkka A Ronkainen, Global Business: Positioning Ventures Ahead (New York: Routledge, 2011), pg. 46.

Click HERE to acquire the full book.

Effective Research Techniques in an International Environment

The culture of the region being researched will have an impact on how marketers conduct the research, what is asked, and the length or form of the information received. The willingness and ability of respondents to spend time on the process and provide a free-form response are influenced by factors that include culture and education, the market conditions, and the segments being studied. Cultural and individual preferences, which vary from country to country, also have an impact on research techniques While U.S. businesses often like to generate research that gathers numbers they can sort and manipulate, companies in other nations might use other approaches. In Japan, for example, researchers might gather hard data about details such as shipments, inventory levels, and retail sales and combine them with soft data from interviews, conversations, and personal experience that come from site visits.

Traditional qualitative data tools –interviews, focus groups, and observation– are used in international research but researchers might need to use or evaluate the results differently. Interviews work best when the company needs in-depth answers to specific, narrow questions. Focus groups are effective in helping researchers learn more about attitudes, perceptions, and opinions. Technology also makes it possible for focus groups in different regions to interact with each other. When using focus groups internationally, though, it helps to understand that some cultures are uncomfortable with the frank and open discussions that might happen freely elsewhere. In addition, some cultures believe that disagreeing with another– a hallmark of focus group discussions– is rude, while others consider certain topics taboo.

 

 

 

This is an excerpt from Dr. Czinkota’s book Global Business: Positioning Ventures Ahead, co-authored by Dr. Ilkka Ronkainen.

Michael R Czinkota and Ilkka A Ronkainen, Global Business: Positioning Ventures Ahead (New York: Routledge, 2011), pg. 45-46.

Click HERE to acquire the full book.

Values and Freedom: Part 2

A second and even more crucial issue is the value system we use in making choices. There are major differences among what people value around the world. Contrasts include togetherness compared to individuality, cooperation versus competition, modesty next to assertiveness, and self-effacement compared to self-actualization. Often, global differences in value systems keep us apart and result in spectacularly destructive dissimilarities. How we value a life, for example, can be crucial in terms of how we treat individuals. What value we place on family, work, leisure time, or progress has a substantial effect on how we see and evaluate each other.

Cultural studies tell us that there are major differences between and even within nations. Global marketing, through its linkages via goods, services, ideas, and communications, can achieve important assimilation of value systems. On the consumer side, new products offer international appeal and encourage similar activities around the world. It has been claimed that local product offerings help define people and provide identity and that it is the local idiosyncrasies that make people beautiful. Some even offer the persistence of the specific breakfast habits of the English and French as evidence of local immutability in the face of globalization.

Yet, we should remember that values are learned, not genetically implanted. As life’s experience grow more international and more similar, so do values. Therefore, every time international marketing forges a new linkage in thinking, new progress is made in shaping a greater global commonality in values which makes it easier for countries, companies, and individuals to build bridges between them, may eventually become the field’s greatest gift to the world.

 

This is an excerpt from Dr. Czinkota’s book Global Business: Positioning Ventures Ahead, co-authored by Dr. Ilkka Ronkainen.

Michael R Czinkota and Ilkka A Ronkainen, Global Business: Positioning Ventures Ahead (New York: Routledge, 2011), pg. 236-237.

Click HERE to acquire the full book.