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International market research.

C. Samuel Craig & Susan P. Douglas

John Wiley, 2nd edition, 1999

425 pp. soft cover, [pound]22.50

ISBN 0 471 98322 5

At one time there were very few texts dedicated specifically to international marketing research, and when Craig and Douglas' original book (published by Prentice Hall) was launched in 1983, it had virtually no effective competition. Since that date, their text has deservedly won the approval of academics, students and practitioners for its systematic and thorough approach to this specialised aspect of marketing research. This success is likely to continue with the second edition, now published by John Wiley, which is a significantly updated and extended version of the 1983 book by these two American professor of marketing and international business at New York University.

The first eight chapters have been brought up-to-date and augmented by new material. Overall, the book has been extended from ten to fourteen chapters, with the number of pages increased from 337 to 425. As the authors comment: 'In the past two decades there has been an explosion of interest and activity in international marketing research.' Their text certainly confirms this dynamic state of affairs. Marketing research in overseas markets is now more widely practised, and its contributions to the overall success of foreign business ventures is increasingly recognised. With this wider acceptability, marketing research itself has become more confident and improved its methodologies. Qualitative research in particular -- as the authors point out -- has been adopted more widely in identifying, expressly, the sociocultural differences between (and within) countries which influence patterns of consumption.

The declared aims of this book are to provide some direction in conducting commercial research so that better decisions can be made concerning international business ventures, and to help academic researchers develop effective research designs related to international or cross-national research. To attempt to serve two masters is well recognised to be a difficult, if not dangerous, task; to write a book to satisfy the distinctive needs of two sectors of professional readers is ambitious, some might say inadvisable. But these authors have the confidence and ability to write a book that spans successfully these two specific sectors of international marketing professionalism. In fact, the authors describe in more detail the 'three main types of audience' for whom their text should be of particular benefit:

(1) Specialised courses in international marketing research, for which it provides comprehensive knowledge;

(2) Supplementary text for use in marketing research courses;

(3) It 'may prove useful' to research practitioners, especially in the areas of research instrument design and scale development.

It should also give significant help to those practitioners who are embarking on research 'in multiple centres for their clients'.

International Marketing Research does not skip over the basic, essential steps in building an effective research approach in both academic and commercial sectors, which, in any case, frequently overlap. Secondary data sources, for example (discussed in Chapter 3), are noted to be 'often more important in international market research' than primary data, due to the high costs of collecting the latter. In the first edition all the secondary data sources were 'hard copy and available in libraries', but the new edition notes the radical changes in research practice which have resulted from virtually all these data being now accessible on CD-ROM, online or on the internet. Virtually instant information across world markets can be accessed with unparalleled speed, relative ease, and compact storage. With appropriate software packages, relevant data are conveniently available and can be used with online formats in terms of access and recency, although evaluation of the costs involved should not be neglected. Chapte r 3 lists 'global data locators' and other sources of international business information, such as the World Bank, the OECD, the European Commission, JETRO, and commercial sources like the EIU and Euromonitor. Clearly there is no scarcity of secondary data: the problem is one of selection, which, of course, applies to all market research activities.

In Chapter 8, dealing with data collection procedures, the growth of the internet is noted to have opened up certain kinds of opportunities for collecting primary data, while e-mail research may offer a more economic method than telephone or personal interviewing in international surveys, particularly where respondents are widely scattered. Similarly, the web may be a flexible method of administering questionnaires. However, drawbacks of electronic-based surveys include problems of securing representative samples, and non-response bias because of technical issues in some overseas markets.

Chapter 13, 'Challenges facing International Marketing Research', offers a digest of the concepts and themes of the text and gives insights into the challenges facing those who undertake international market research following the marked growth in global activities by businesses in the manufacturing and service industries. Increasing amounts of research will be concerned with evaluating the emerging market economies. The world is shrinking in terms of travel, but it is growing in terms of the complexity of its trading activities. Researchers need to be able to produce research designs and procedures that will stand up to increasing dynamic market behaviour across the world. Ethical constraints related to market research may differ according to cultural norms, with which researchers should familiarise themselves during the process of developing their research strategies and tactics. ESOMAR's guidelines for the conduct of research overseas, of which the latest edition (1994) is available on the internet, shoul d be consulted; the authors give extended extracts from this code.

In the final chapter, it is recommended that more attention should be paid to the comparability and equivalence of the basic constructs being examined between countries. Hence, researchers should, during the early stages of research design, be sensitive to these issues so that the eventual concepts and methodologies adopted will result in sets of comparable data from the various markets investigated.

To sum up, this new edition of what has long been recognised as a major text on international marketing research brings it up-to-date and greatly enhances its value to professional researchers and their clients, as well as to academics and students seeking to gain insights and expertise in researching overseas markets.
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Title Annotation:Review
Author:Chisnall, Peter M
Publication:International Journal of Market Research
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Dec 22, 2000
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