International Marketing Research

What is International Marketing Research?

International Marketing Research can be defined as research that crosses national boundaries and involves the respondents and researchers from various countries and cultures. It may be conducted simultaneously in multiple countries or sequentially over a period to time.

The major objectives of International Marketing Research are:

  • To carry out country screening and selection.

  • To evaluate a country’s market potential.

  • To identify problems that would not require a country’s listing for further consideration.

  • To identify aspects of country’s environment that needs further study.

  • To evaluate the components of marketing mix for possible adoptions.

  • To facilitate in developing strategic marketing plan.

Scope of International Marketing Research

The following activities are included in international market research:

  • Analysis of the market size according to the age, gender, income, profession and standard of living of customers.

  • Estimating the regional or territorial demand of different markets.

  • Understanding the diverse consumer demands and consumer, behavior and then translates their behaviors into the markets strategies and collecting information about the existing and prospective customers.

  • Information needs for international market entry, which includes micro issues (for instance product and services sales potential, market growth rate and completive intensity) and macro issues e.g. (Political, legal and regulatory environment of each international country).

  • Analyzing the working of various channels of distribution and their role in creating market demand of the product.

  • Forecasting the profitability of different markets and marketing segments.

Factors Influencing International Marketing Research

Cultural differences

Culture refers to widely shared norms or patterns of behavior of a large group of people. Culture comprises of the values, attitudes, beliefs, artifacts and the other symbols represented in the pattern of life adopted by people that help them interpret, evaluate and communicate as members of a society.

A country which is operating in the International market is in need of cross cultural awareness. Cross cultural differences such as different forms of values, norms, rituals, non-verbal communication and language are to be carefully viewed and incorporated in the strategic decisions. A few examples of the cultural blunders in the marketing mix are:

Example: When a soft drink was launched in Arabian countries, it had label with six pointed stars. The sale of the product was very low as the stars were associated with Israel.

Climatic Differences

These are the meteorological or climatic conditions such as temperature range or degree of rain etc.

Example: Bosch-Siemens adapted their washing machines to the markets they sell. In Scandinavia, where there are very few sunny days, they sell washing machines with a minimum spin cycle of 1,000 rpm and a maximum of 1,600 rpm, whereas in Italy and Spain a spin cycle of 500 rpm is enough.

Economic Differences

Economic development and economic conditions of various countries is different and when a company introduces a new product it adapts it to that new market. There are factors which show the difference in the level of economic development

  • As in the case of the developed nations, the buying power and revenue of the market with higher income of revenue people prefer complicated product with advanced functions, while in poor countries simple product are more preferred.

Religious Differences

Religion too affects the product greatly and makes companies adapt their product to religious norms.

Example: If a company exports grocery products to Islamic countries it must have a special certificate indicating that the animal was slaughtered according to ‘Halal’ methods.

Historical Differences

Historical differences affect the consumer behavior. For instance, Scotch whiskey is considered fashionable in Italy and not very trendy in Scotland.

Language Differences

The correct translation and language adaptation is very important. Example: when Proctor & Gamble entered the Polish markets it translated properly its labels but failed. Later they found out that imperfect language must have been used in order to show that the company fits in.

Besides the differences mentioned above, there may be differences in the way that products or services are used, differences in the criteria for assessing products or services across various markets and differences in market research facilities and capabilities which influence the strategic decisions.


Leave a Reply