According to S. Tamer Cavusgil, “Managers need objective information and insights in order to make the best decisions for superior performance in international business.” You should strive to make data-driven decisions as much as possible. In conducting market research, you should aim to achieve the “Knowledge Pyramid.” The pyramid consists of data, information and intelligence, and knowledge and insights.
- Data refer to raw facts, figures, and observations that have not been organized or arranged.
- Information and intelligence refer to facts, figures, and observations that have been organized or arranged around a specific theme.
- Knowledge and insights refer to information and intelligence that have been processed, analyzed, and interpreted, and can lead to action
There are several tools available to help companies achieve the Knowledge Pyramid. Below is a list of some good tools.
- Geert-Hofstede.com (Free)
- Description: National Culture is about the value differences between groups of nations and/or region. Using research data from a multinational company (IBM) with subsidiaries in more than 60 countries, Geert Hofstede identified four largely independent dimensions: Power Distance (large versus small), Uncertainty Avoidance (strong versus weak), Individualism versus Collectivism and Masculinity versus Femininity. The relative positions of 40 countries on these four dimensions were expressed in a score on a 0-100 point scale
- Example: At a score of 20 on the Individualism dimension, China is a highly collectivist culture where people act in the interests of the group and not necessarily of themselves. This might be helpful during your negotiations with Chinese business associates.
This is a great tool when you’re trying to assess national culture values and how you might tailor your marketing strategies to be successful in a new market or how you might approach foreign business associates.
- export.gov (Free)
- Description: An introduction on where to find current sources for market research. This information is part of “A Basic Guide to Exporting” provided by the U.S. Commercial Service to assist companies in exporting
- Example: If you’re thinking of exporting products to Australia, you can use the Country Commercial Guide on the site, which will provide you with information such as: market challenges/opportunities, entry strategies, political and economic environment, trade regulations, etc.
- countrywatch.com (Paid)
- Description: Provides detailed information about a county, including: political environment, social environment, economic environment, investment overview, etc.
- Euromonitor.com (Paid)
- Description: Provides detailed information industries, economies, consumers, and companies.
This database is comprehensive; however, it can be very costly to access certain reports.