February 3, 2021

Insight into international market research

The exponential growth of market research over recent years goes to show how important it has become for businesses. Thanks to international trade, global investment, the evolution of the web and associated tech – global has become the new local. And as organisations look to extend their reach, the demand for international market researchers has never been higher. 
While this opens up exciting new opportunities, it’s not without its challenges. Globalisation has raised some interesting questions that have forced the sector to rethink everything it knows. Here a glimpse of some of the challenges facing international market research.

Staying ahead of the game 
Fast, relevant and insightful results. That’s what brands want from market researchers and they want it in real-time – giving them the power to virtually anticipate what their new and existing customers want before even they do.
It’s an industry that not only sets the pace, but has to stay one step ahead of it the whole time. It’s a reflection of the superfast, super-connected world we live in. From instant messages between friends and contactless payments, to on-demand entertainment and breaking news – ‘instant’ is way of life we’ve all become used to. 
But it’s not the only reason fast market research is the order of the day. Consumers expect things like personalisation and customisation – they expect to be engaged in relevant and meaningful ways. 

One size doesn’t fit all 
There’s quite a lot of overlap between domestic and international market research. Whether it’s identifying the problem, designing methodology to solve it, carrying out research or producing a report, the processes are very similar ‘home or away’.
But things can drastically change when moving from one market to another. A new market needs a new approach, and one that’s tailored to each segment. So when it comes to formulating surveys and hosting focus groups, researchers must account for political, social, economic, legal, economic and cultural differences.
What’s more, with many stakeholders across different time zones and new procedures to follow, international projects can also become convoluted. Domestically, for example, it’s fairly straightforward to carry out questionnaires in a single language. Whereas internationally, surveys have to be translated from the original source into multiple languages – not to mention localised – and then translated back. Without the right technology or specialist support, it can be near impossible.

Getting the most out of data
While big data is a huge asset, it needs to be carefully handled and properly understood. Accessing information isn’t necessarily the issue, it’s what to do with it that poses the challenge. Like finding a needle in a haystack, extracting insight from multiple sources of data in a pressurised environment takes confidence and great skill. 
It’s a case of striking a balance between traditional methodologies and new techniques, and continuing to evolve with the demands of the industry. 

Keeping costs down
Costs are always going to be a priority for stakeholders who want to get the most out of every penny, cent or euro of their investment. In the past, value for money had negative connotations –that quality, somewhere along the line, would be compromised. Today, that’s just not the case. Results have to be delivered swiftly, without extra spend and without compromising the integrity of the project. It’s as simple as that.  
It’s a big ask, especially for international market researchers who have to deal with the logistics of managing large, borderless projects that involve a lot of people. Add to that different time zones and languages and it’s easy to see how demanding and expensive it can be.
Streamlining processes, embracing technology and establishing long-term partnerships can add value to the process while conserving costs. But it can require a lot of strategic planning – which is why the best solutions are often found in technology . At THG Fluently, we do our part in creating cost and time efficiencies through our Translation Memory and Machine Translation technology, as well as coding for open-end and verbatim response translation. 
The demand for market research isn’t slowing down anytime soon. In fact, more is being asked from this sector than ever before. But with the right technology and approaches in place, it’s a sector that’s well positioned to deliver above and beyond. 
At THG Fluently, we’ve been providing translation services to Market Research businesses for more than 20 years. In that time, we’ve learned what it takes to give organisations the linguistic and localisation support they need to break into and thrive in international markets and do it well. So if you’d like to learn more about how we can support your business with our specialist Market Research services, feel free to get in touch.

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