You are here: Home University Marketing & Branding Is global marketing research a myth or reality?

Is global marketing research a myth or reality?

Edited by Victoria Stowe

There are numerous instances of companies that have failed or ignored the proper implementation of global marketing research resulting in their inability to successfully launch a product or service into the global market.

Prior to introducing a new product globally, customer market satisfaction research is required to be conducted by any company in order to set itself apart from the existing competitors by offering to its customers the service that has not yet been offered (Tinsley & Ormsby, 2010).

A case of the Ford Motor Company demonstrates the underlying function and importance of implementing such a global marketing research. The results of consumer surveys of a Brazilian unit of the Ford Motor Company had directed the management to develop a smaller and more sufficient car model that would better suit the poor Brazilian roads and their low-income communities, which compose the prevailing segment of the automobile market in Brazil (Tinsley & Ormsby, 2010).

Another success story of savvy marketing research implementation can be attributed to Hewlett-Packard. When their marketing research revealed that consumers preferred laptops over desktops because of the ease with which they could express and accommodate their needs and wants on the run, HP started promoting in their campaigns the laptop features that were responsive specifically to their emotional expression, such as a touch screen and its design (Tinsley & Ormsby, 2010).

A visible market responsiveness usually occurs when the market research is needed the most. For example, prior to entering a new foreign market, the world's largest fashion retailer ZARA (a division of the Spanish Inditex Group) routinely conducts extensive market research to determine if its intended target market possesses sufficient buying capabilities (Ferdows, Lewis, & Machuca, 2003).

In the early 2000s, a luxury fashion company Coach Inc. implemented extensive marketing research to find out how their consumer preferences have changed over years. They conducted numerous consumer surveys resulting in making a decision to start producing more fashionable and trendy styles for under $300, which rapidly increased the overall sales numbers (Tinsley & Ormsby, 2010).

In his 1989 research, Mr. Kamran Kashani, professor of marketing at the International Management Development Institute (IMEDE) in Lausanne, Switzerland, successfully demonstrated how companies that routinely conduct a formal research often gain sufficient information on commonalities and differences of subsidiary markets. To illustrate this concept, Kashani provided an example of a Danish toy company LEGO showing how after successfully utilizing the policy of promotional “bonus” packages and gifts in the U.S. they later failed in Japan due to lack of any marketing research and implementation of the same marketing tactics. The company erroneously assumed that global transferability of sales promotions would fully penetrate the Japanese market, and as a result had failed to appeal to the Japanese toy consumer.

Thus, the above-mentioned cases vividly depict how fundamentally important it is to integrate the global market orientation research into all functions of the company, including product development, marketing and manufacturing in order to assure its high-performance in the global market and the high satisfaction rating with the global customers (Tinsley and Ormsby, 2010).



Ferdows, K., Lewis, M., & Machuca, J. A. D. (2003). Zara BEM Bordeaux Management School. 

Kashani, K. (1989). Beware the pitfalls of global marketing. Harvard Business Review, 67(5), 91-98. 

Tinsley, D., & Ormsby, J. G. (2010). How coach, H-P, zara, and ford profited from a comprehensive application of market orientation. Graziadio Business Report, 13(1), 1-5.