Economic environmental characteristics include economic size (GDP) , level, source, and distribution of income, growth trends, and sectoral trends. A country’s stage of economic development determines the size, the degree of modernization, and the standardization of its markets. Consumer, industrial, and commercial markets become more standardized and consumers’ work, leisure, and . lifestyles become more homogenized by economic development and advances in technology.
Structural factors relate to transportation, communication, utilities, and infrastructure. For example, mail service is inefficient in many developing countries. Personal contact with respondents is difficult, because city people work during the day and rural residents are inaccessible. Block statistics and maps are not available or can be obtained only with great difficulty. Many dwelling units are unidentified.
Informational and Technological Environment
Elements of the informational and technological environment include information and communication systems, computerization and the use of the Internet, use of electronic equipment, energy, production technology, science, and invention. For example, in India, South Korea, and many Latin American countries, advances in science and technology have not had a proportionate impact on the lifestyle of the common citizens. particularly those living in rural areas. Computers, the Internet, and electronic information transfer have yet to make an impact in rural areas. Information handling and record keeping are performed in the traditional way. This, again, has an impact on the type of information and how it can be solicited from consumers, businesses, and other enterprises.
Sociocultural factors include values, literacy, language, religion, communication patterns, and family and social institutions. Relevant values and attitudes toward time, achievement, work, authority, wealth, scientific method, risk, innovation, change, and the Western world should be considered. The marketing research process should be modified so that it does not conflict with the cultural values.? In some developing countries, as much as 50 percent of the population is illiterate. In tradition-directed, less developed societies, the ability of respondents to formulate opinions of their own seems to be all but absent; consequently, it is difficult to solicit information from these respondents. As a result, the sophisticated rating scales employed in the United States are not useful. Complexities are added by the fact that in a given nation or region there may be several distinct spoken languages and dialects.
A country with a homogeneous family structure is likely to be more culturally homogeneous than a country with multiple family structures. For example, Japan is culturally more homogeneous than either the United States or many African countries, which have many different kinds of family structures. The importance of designing products to be consistent with the sociocultural factors prevailing in a country is brought home by Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios: Less Universal in Japan
When Universal Studios decided to build a Universal Studios in Osaka. Japan. they relied heavily on focus groups. depth interviews, and survey research to understand the sociocultural environment in Japan. The research was done by their business partner The American and Japanese ways of doing business had to be combined.
Universal also found out about sou and merchandise preferences though focus groups and depth interviews. The Japanese more souvenirs for friends and coworkers, Candy. household items. and stationery products are very popular. There is a great teenage girl population in the market who like items with cartoons on them. Clothing is not as important in Japan as it is in oilier countries
Read the Sears project write-ups in each chapter and consider all the analyses that you have done. Suppose Sears Holdings Corp. was interested in further expanding its business on an international level. Choose a country (other than the United States or your own country) and discuss environmental factors that would have to be considered and possible opportunities in light of these environmental factors. How should the research process be modified in conducting research in that country?
The following sections discuss the major interviewing methods in light of the challenges of conducting research in foreign countries, especially Europe and developing countries.P
In-Home Personal Interviews
In-home interviews require a large pool of qualified interviewers. Contractual arrangements with interviewers vary considerably. For example, in France, there are three categories of interviewers: interviewers with an annual guarantee for a specified duration, interviewers with an annual guarantee for an unspecified duration, and freelance interviewers with no salary guarantee. Overheads may also vary. In France, the employer and the interviewer must pay large social security contributions; in Belgium, the interviewers are self-employed and pay their own social security contributions. In the United Kingdom, although both the employer and the interviewer pay national insurance contributions, these tend to be small
Due to high cost, the use of in-home personal interviews has declined in the United States and Canada, but this is the dominant mode of collecting survey data in many parts of Europe and the developing world. In-home personal interviewing is the dominant interviewing method in Switzerland.l” In Portugal, face-to-face interviews are the majority of the total interviews conducted. Most of these surveys are done door to door, whereas some quick sociopolitical polls are carried out in the street using accidental routes. Likewise, in-home interviews are popular in many Latin American countries.
Coke Tops in Americas and Around the World
. In one of the research surveys conducted by the Gallup Organization, the objective was to assess consumers’ recall of different ads they had seen in the past month. In-home personal surveys were conducted by Gallup and its affiliates in the United States, Canada, Uruguay, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Panama. In all 7,498 people were surveyed. Unaided recall was used to get responses. Questions like, “What brands of soft drink advertisements seen in the past month first come to mind?” were asked. Results show that Coca-Cola ads are the choice of a new generation of both North and South Americans. Coca-Cola ads were among the top six ads mentioned in seven of the eight Western Hemisphere nations and were cited the most often in four countrieg. Ads of archrival Pepsi-Cola Co. were named among the top six in four countries. and McDonald’s Corp. appeared in the top six in two countries. However, none of these three made it to the top six in Brazil. In 2008, Inter brand .a brand consulting firm, named Coca-Cola the world’s most valuable brand with a value of $66.667 billion. Whereas Coca-Cola may be the soft drink of choice in both North and South America. according to this firm, Coca-Cola is also the company of choice around the world
Global Scan is a detailed survey conducted annually by Bates Asia, an operating company of the WPP Group . to measure the attitudes and behaviors of 15,()()() respondents in 14 countries. The questionnaire contains 120 attitudinal statements and is customized for each country by insertion of attitudes, lifestyles, and purchases(both product sand brands).
The questionnaire is administered by mail, with local country offices responsible for distribution, meeting sampling requirements,and then transcribing the returned questionnaires to computer tape. Global Scan averages a 50 percent responserate
Mail and Scanner Panels
Mail panels are extensively used in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and The Netherlands. Mail and diary panels are also available in Finland, Sweden, Italy, Spain, and other European countries. Use of panels may increase with the advent of new technology. For example, in Germany, two agencies (Nielsen and GfK-Nurnberg) have installed fully electronic scanner test marlcets, based on the Behavior Scan model from the United Stites. Nielsen will use on-the-air television; GfK, cable. Panels of this kind have not yet been developed in Hong Kong or most of the developing countries. Mail panels are being gradually replaced by Internet,p~ls in many parts of the world
In the United States and Canada, the use of e-mail and. the Internet is growing by leaps and bounds. As such, the use of these methods for conducting surveys is growing not only with business and institutional respondents, but also with_households. Both these methods have become viable for conducting surveys related to a wide range of product.categories and scenarios. The popularity of both e-rnail and Internet surveys is also growing overseas. Both these types of surveys are increasingly being used in western Europe, where access_!o the Internet is freely available.
However, in some parts of eastern Europe and in other developing countries, e-mail access is restricted and Internet availability is even poorer. Hence, these methods are not suitable for surveying the general population in these countries. However. surveys with business and institutional respondents may still be attempted. particularly using e-mail, surveys can be received and responded to by anyone with an. e-mail address. whether or not they have access to the Internet. Multinational firms are using both e-rnail and the Internet to survey their employees worldwide