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3 Common Pitfalls of International Market Research (and How to Avoid Them)

Zach Brooke

The world is smaller and more interconnected than ever before. But don’t mistake that degree of closeness for homogeneity 

There remain stark differences among humanity’s social groups, many of which can pose a problem for researchers seeking to gather data from several distinct cultures. 

No one wants to stereotype any culture, but it is a hard truth that significant differences exist between societies, which will lead to inaccurate and ultimately useless market analysis if left unchecked. To accurately compare brand performance across countries, it’s necessary to understand and incorporate cultural nuances into research methodology. Or, as Michael Czinkota, a professor of marketing and international business strategy at Georgetown, writes on his personal website:

“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.”

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Zach Brooke

Zach Brooke is a former AMA staff writer turned freelance journalist. His work has been featured in Chicago magazine, Milwaukee Magazine, A.V. Club and VICE, among others. Follow him on Twitter @Zach_Brooke.