Global Ebusiness Marketing Term Paper

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Global eBusiness Marketing

Discussion of International Marketing Issues and Difficulties for an Australian Firm undertaking Market Research in Vietnam

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In an increasingly globalized marketplace, it is vitally important for enterprises of all types to have reliable and timely information concerning the markets in which they compete. Moreover, for those companies seeking to expand their operations into foreign countries, obtaining this type of market research data is absolutely essential. Things have changed from years past, though, and many companies may be tempted to use the vast array of market data readily available on the internet or through domestic sources such as university and public libraries or trade journals. Furthermore, many countries seeking additional foreign investment have established trade offices that provide prospective investors with market-related data that is free of charge. Nevertheless, it is reasonable to assume that obtaining real-world and real-time information about a particular country, especially in developing nations where corruption, piracy or other illegal trade practices are rampant but might not be readily discernible from an outsider's perspective, will play a crucial role in an international venture and will assume new levels of importance in the future. To this end, this paper provides a critical review of the peer-reviewed and scholarly literature to determine the best approach to conducting market research in emerging economies such as Vietnam, including whether to use an Australian or locally-based research firm to conduct market research for a given product or service. A summary of the research and salient findings are provided in the conclusion.

Review and Discussion

Background and Overview.

While the authorities may not agree on the specifics, virtually everyone agrees that market research remains an essential ingredient for business success. According to the Oxford University Press's a Dictionary of Business (1996), marketing research can be defined as:

TOPIC: Term Paper on Global Ebusiness Marketing Assignment

The systematic collection and analysis of data to resolve problems concerning marketing, undertaken to reduce the risk of inappropriate marketing activity. Data is almost always collected from a sample of the target market, by such methods as observation, interviews, and audit of shop sales. Interviews are the most common technique, and can be carried out face-to-face, by telephone, or by post. When the results have been analysed (usually by computer), recommendations regarding the original problem can be made. Market research, which is often used synonymously with the preferred term 'marketing research,' is also sometimes used to refer to techniques with the restricted objective of discovering the size of the market for a particular brand or product. (p. 313)

Today, businesses have a number of options available to them when it comes to conducting market research in other countries, but it quickly becomes clear that some approaches are more appropriate than others, depending on what information is needed and what product or service is involved and what in-house resources are available for this purpose. Some authorities suggest that almost every company can benefit from using some level of marketing research for their various products or services. In this regard, Duboff and Spaeth (2000) report that, "What's needed to take companies to the next level before the competition gets there is the ability to strategically anticipate what's coming while continuing to efficiently manage the business on a day-to-day basis. A tall order? Not really. Others have done it, and definable skills, techniques, and even models can help businesses grasp and implement this concept" (p. 16). Indeed, there are an increasing number of market research firms that specialize in international analyses, and many companies are already using these services to good effect. According to Gerbetz and Scalea (2001), "Among corporations who hire professional services firms for strategic planning, the skills of consultants are much more important than the reputation of the firm. The majority of executives interviewed said they would be more likely to hire a professional services firm with people possessing the global business credential" (emphasis added) (p. 65).

The importance of recent trends in international marketing research is also reflected in the development of new research areas that have emerged in the field concerning market globalization and collaborative business arrangements (including in-country strategic alliances) (Brewer & Rugman 2001). According to these authors, "These trends have imparted added importance to research in international marketing, but it is not clear how research in the field has coped with this broadened responsibility in a fast-changing environment. Past reviews of international marketing research highlighted deficiencies of the discipline in two aspects: that international marketing research was fragmentary and exploratory without a strong theoretical framework, and that it lacked the methodological rigor compared to the generic (or domestic) research in marketing" (Brewer & Rugman 2001, p. 458).

While there are proven approaches that can be followed for domestic or international market research purposes, the question of whether to conduct such market research in-house or to outsource this need to a third-party provider in a host country has become another issue that may not have an easy answer because there are a number of factors to be taken into account in making this determination. For example, if a company outsources their market research needs for a given country to an in-country provider, there may be some fundamental communication issues that will adversely affect the ability of the commissioning company to reap the benefits of such research. According to a study by Scipione (1995), a number of descriptive words and phrases can play a crucial role in creating magnitude or value impressions in the minds of persons who read market research reports and then make business decisions based on them. "This finding is made all the more important by the related finding that those persons who only read but do not write) research reports tend to have many different word-value perceptions than those persons who write (and usually also read) research reports" (Scipione 1995, p. 36).

This means that absent a native speaker (and writer) of the commissioning company's language, managers run a real risk of paying for market research data they will not be able to use effectively, or at all. Furthermore, in his essay, "Entrepreneurial Climate and U.S. State Foreign Trade Offices as Predictors of Export Success," Wilkinson (2006) reports that, "The market-based view posits that a market-knowledge gap exists between home country firms, which lack specific resources and capabilities needed in particular overseas markets, and host country firms, which possess those resources and capabilities because of their knowledge about local market conditions" (p. 99).

This paucity of timely information can be overcome by either ensuring that the in-house marketing staff has this linguistic capability (there is a small contingent of Vietnamese expatriates living in Australia today that could be used for this purpose, for example) or by establishing strategic partnerships with entities that are already operating in the host countries of interest. Further, this gap can also decrease over time as the exporter learns more about the host-country market (Wilkinson 2006). Many companies, though, may not have the luxury of learning about a host country "over time," and will need to hit the ground running when it comes to understanding who their potential customers are, what they want and need, and how they routinely go about getting it, and these issues are discussed further below.

General Market Research Considerations.

According to the definition provided by Morey and Nelson (1995), when it is effectively performed and consumed by those who need the information, market research represents an excellent business tool for gaining the insights and data needed to achieve organizational goals: "Market research is a formalized process for collecting and analyzing information," they advise. "It gives the opinions of all persons equal weight and visibility, not just those of the most vocal and persistent. It also prevents the bias of hearing what one wants to hear. The confidentiality of the process enables persons to express their true feelings" (Morey & Nelson 1995, p. 35). In many ways, conducting timely and effective market research is both a science and an art, but some companies are failing to either conduct such research or are not taking advantage of the findings of such investigations when they are conducted (Duboff & Spaeth 2000).

In their book, Market Research Matters: Tools and Techniques for Aligning Your Business, these authors report that market research is an essential first step, but not the end of the line because something must be done with the research findings: "Not only does an enterprise need to embrace the possibility of continual change, but also the marketing researcher has to be able to employ the tools and communicate their results effectively" (Duboff & Spaeth 2000, p. 13). This level of communication will clearly be facilitated when the market research is conducted by the company itself rather than having a third-party provider in a host country do so, but this does not necessarily mean that one approach is superior to another since every situation is unique. Nevertheless, some general market research considerations can help a company's leadership make the determination as to which approach to use in a given setting. For… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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