CHALLENGES OF MARKETING RESEARCH AND DECISION MAKING

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Challenges of Marketing Research and Decision Making

Information is the key factor considered before major decisions are made within any company, making it a valuable asset in major industries. The method used in data collection, processing, and presenting to the management is referred to as a research method (Kolk & Van Tulder 2010). Utmost consistency and accuracy is practiced while this operation is underway.  However, due to the diversity of the societies, politics, and economic setups in different locations of the world, difficulties are experienced during research. Subsequent management decisions are also affected by information that is either substandard or unavailable (Kolk & Van Tulder 2010). Indonesia is a newly developed nation in Asia and is a pleasant and attractive market for major organizations seeking to invest in the large market present there (Cooper & Pamela 2003). However, due to the challenges present in the market research process, the decisions made by these organizations might be wrongly influenced by the findings. 

Culturally Motivated Barriers

The world, despite being referred to as a global community in the advent of latest technologies like the internet, is still impacted by the differences that are presented in different regions. Some of these differences result in controversial situations that would disallow some forms of intellectual interaction. In such instances, the result is a dull interaction that fails to sufficiently fulfill the purpose intended by a researcher from any discipline (Harzing & Pinnington 2010). In newly developed or industrialized nations, these barriers are more common because enough exposure has not been provided for cultural evolution. Governments in these nations and the community at large focus principally on economic development and neglect other important aspects of the society. These neglected issues later become the cause of major hindrances on the paths of success, further drawing them back. 

Cultural practices, such as how women in some communities are treated unequally by their male counterparts, make it impossible for methods such as interviews to be used (Barr & Serra 2010). Indonesian culture is deep-rooted and has barely been influenced by the evolution of cultures around it. Women etiquette and dressing is dictated by the Islam religious code, which has taken up more than eighty eight percent of the total religious population (Eickelman & Anderson 2003; Smith-Hefner 2007). The understanding and invention of concepts at a local level is also important when research is being conducted. For instance, some communities in Africa value livestock to land ownership and go to the extent of using them as count of property value. The above are social cultural factors that can significantly hinder the progress of market research. Religion can be placed in the same context as cultural practices and can be analyzed in a similar method. Religious festivities as well as rituals can be a major hindrance in the course of a research study (Eickelman & Anderson 2003). For instance the ‘holy month’ practiced in Islam implies that for the entire duration, research work cannot proceed, hence causing a great inconvenience. Indonesia is a nation marred with religious violence, which makes it a very complex cultural society to penetrate. They would not hesitate to stop the research from progressing to attend to their religious practices, for instance, the common tradition of closing early on Fridays to attend to prayers.

Laws and Government Bureaucracy

Market research is especially important for companies seeking to expand into new markets, therefore making the urgency of obtaining this information dire. However, most governments require that certain bodies review a request for a research before giving the go ahead to the researchers. The process is an important one but often takes up time while the scholars wait for their research to be endorsed. It is common for government agencies to delay requests. While this can be attributed to the load of work that they are involved in, sometimes laxity is the main cause (Harzing & Pinnington 2010). If the government classifies the topic and purpose of the research as insignificant or as an issue of low priority, it may take several weeks before the research is allowed to begin. In Indonesia, the process takes a long term to be approved, therefore delaying the research process.

In some instances, correspondents might fear being victimized if they provided accurate information about their activities (Zikmund et al. 2012). A good example is a research by a company like Airbnb, an organization that connects potential tenants to landlords from different parts of the world. In certain newly developed nations, the landlords, as opposed to the majority of countries, do not require owning apartments. Rather, they rent out space or part of the property they live in. In some countries, this is considered conducting of illegal business, robing the country of foreign exchange that would have been earned had the tourist been hosted by a hotel. Additionally, newly developed nations lack accurate statistics for their markets or population. Lack of such information sets the researchers back because they do not have data that they can reference in their findings. 

In this context, government irregularities are a major concern in these newly developed nations. For instance, confiscation of research equipment is a factor of consideration. Such drastic moves are taken because either the government does not wish information concerning a matter of interest to be revealed or the officials want bribes. Indonesia’s government is one of the most highly rated corrupt systems in Asia, and bribing is a common practice (Kuncoro 2004). In the process of acquiring a permit, it is expected that a good number of officials will need a bribe.

Poor Infrastructure and Limited Resources

Financial constraints and lack of advanced technological equipment in newly industrialized countries are major issues that hinder significant research progress. Additionally research companies are skeptical about budgeting research studies in newly industrialized countries. Market trends in these countries do not follow a designated pattern of growth, as do other elements in the entity of their growth. Data collected over a period of a couple of weeks might be termed as obsolete in less than a month, and the resources spent over that time would be wasted. Budgeting research in these countries is a great risk that most of these companies are not willing to take and, therefore, develop tight budgets. The discretion of the head researcher is considered while allotting funds to any operation. Another significant feature in newly developed nations is the lack of proper transportation and communication facilities that can aid the research to run faster. Therefore, even simple methods of data collection might be complicated by the need to conduct face-to-face interviews, incurring additional transport costs. Lack of advanced transport means limits the speed of access to the data required in the field of research. It is, therefore, necessary that the research team acquires a means of transport that is both efficient in transporting them and cheap.

The local staff is poorly trained and, due to lack of proper funding, the data collected is not completely accurate. Due to inadequacy of services rendered by data collection experts, data collected in such temperate situations is inconsistent and might not be reliable. The cost of training the locals to act as data collection agents or respondents is also high and might not meet the budget. Infrastructure is a key point of focus in Indonesian development programs because of the poor state of the transport and communication systems. As such, transportation into the local parts of the country would be difficult and very expensive for the researchers. Venturing into such remote places would cause adverse effects to the research. For instance, communication to the outside world might be hindered; this is important if they require to confirm some information or to connect to another research post. Additionally, financing interpreters and local guides will bring financial difficulty.

Conclusion

Indonesia and the rest of Asia are fast developing nations and the need to invest in them is well founded. However, lack of accurate information from market researchers might lead organizations to make poor or misinformed decisions. These have serious implications on the success of these organizations, because poorly formulated strategies will be implemented, thus dooming them to failure. In this article, the basic challenges faced by the market researchers while preparing information for the organizations have been outlined and discussed briefly. The importance of analyzing these challenges is significant for researchers aiming to conduct such work in similar conditions. Moreover, shareholders in the business markets should review this work in order to understand the source of the information they use and make better informed decisions in future. As it has been shown, management decisions are founded on information that is collected from the field using various techniques. Market research is among the most important sources of information for organizations seeking to venture into new market zones. Therefore, decisions based on market research results should be treated carefully to avoid making wrong decisions led on by poor information. The article has significantly served the purpose of exposing challenges facing the processes and operations of marketing research. 

References

Barr, A, & Serra, D 2010, “Corruption and culture: an experimental analysis”, Journal of Public Economics, vol. 94, no. 11, pp. 862-869.

Cooper, DR & Pamela SS 2003, Business research methods, 12th Ed. pp. 371-406, McGraw-Hill Education.

Eickelman, DF, & Anderson, JW 2003, New media in the Muslim world: the emerging public sphere. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Harzing, AW, & Pinnington, A (Eds.) 2010, International human resource management. New York: Sage.

Kolk, A, & Van Tulder, R 2010, “International business, corporate social responsibility and sustainable development”, International Business Review, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 119-125.

Kuncoro, A 2004, Bribery in Indonesia: some evidence from micro-level data. Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, vol. 40, no. 3, pp. 329-354.

Smith-Hefner, N J 2007, “Javanese women and the veil in post-Soeharto Indonesia”, The Journal of Asian Studies, vol. 66, no. 02, pp. 389-420.

Zikmund, W, Babin, B, Carr, J, & Griffin, M 2012, Business research methods. Cengage Learning.

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