How to expand your market research globally in 2021

Graham Idehen, director, customer success - EMEA, Lucid, discusses the key considerations for running multimarket surveys like a pro.

a globe map

It’s that time of year again. As 2020 comes to an end, many of us are reflecting on the past year and looking forward to  what the new year will bring. Of course, this year has been unlike any other and as such, predicting trends and setting expectations for 2021 has been much more complicated, particularly as consumer habits have shifted so dramatically in light of the global pandemic.

It’s no surprise that we have seen global research grow in importance, helping businesses to better plan for and understand core objectives in a way that can set them up for stability and success as we move into the brave new world – whatever that may look like. 

Global market research provides a wealth of information that is invaluable for strategic planning within any business. It helps to identify corporate strengths and brand reputation, new opportunities, threats and trends on a global scale, and gives an all-encompassing and transparent representation of the business as a whole. And never has this been more business critical than today.

But, the sheer scale of the work associated with running multimarket surveys can be overwhelming with questions like where do you start, what is the best way to do it? 

With the right strategy, processes and approach in place, it doesn’t need to be as complicated as you may think – let me run you through some of the key considerations we see for running global market research effectively.

Target audience

Defining an effectual target audience might seem like a straightforward task, but it is important to consider the nuances of the subject matter in a global landscape. Asking 18-24 year olds about alcohol consumption for example, is a perfect fit for a UK market but it may not  be appropriate in the US and certainly not in the Middle East.

Similarly generating opinion on luxury car driver experience may not elicit the desired response if distributed in more developing countries.

Be aware of local languages

In our experience most clients request English-only responses, which might seem sensible given how widespread the English language is spoken. Statistics suggest that 92% of UK residents speak English (or Welsh in Wales)  but this isn’t an accurate representation of the level of understanding of the written language for the purpose of online research. The UK’s most highly spoken other languages include Scots, Polish, Punjabi and Urdu and in order to more accurately represent the minority communities it is wise to conduct surveys in multiple languages. This is especially the case for truly global research where the number of non-English languages would increase exponentially.

Set multi language expectations

If running research studies in multiple languages is not an option it is essential to set the right expectations with your client. If your research contains many open-ended questions and is run in English only, it is likely that either the response level will be low or answers will be in other languages and a translation may be needed.

Pitching the research questions right for multi-language responses can be tricky and it may be worth considering primarily questions that require a yes/no answer or a scale of responses.

Staggering market launches

It’s no secret that truly accurate global research is hard to do, especially considering the  element of project and time management. As a result it makes sense to apply critical path analysis to the situation by staggering the studies you launch in different markets. 

I suggest that you undertake the challenging markets first in order to fully maximise progress within fieldwork timeframes across all markets. Once the more difficult studies begin to field, you can launch studies in the less challenging markets. 

Account for local time zones

According to SurveyMonkey, response rates are highest for survey invitations sent out on Monday, and lowest for invitations sent on Friday. On average, surveys sent out on Mondays received 10% more responses than average, and surveys sent out on Fridays received 13% fewer responses than average. This is easy enough to coordinate for single market research but for multi-market global research, fieldwork start and end times should be staggered accordingly to account for local timezones in order to maximise the response rate. 

Time is of the essence

Even taking into account all of the above considerations, groundbreaking market research is a challenge to achieve. Speed and accuracy are necessary to get ahead of the curve. Finding and working with the right market research partner is more important in today’s landscape than ever before. Gaining control over the speed of your data collection has become more critical, ensuring you have a simple set-up, and a dynamic marketplace with a multitude of integrated suppliers ready to respond at the touch of a button facilitates more analysis time for you to deliver the statistics that hit the headlines.

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