By Jonathan Price, CEO, Virtual Incentives
Globalization has had a significant impact on nearly every facet of our daily lives – scholars continue to explore and study its effect on diversity, culture, politics and more. From a business standpoint, the economic implications of globalization are immense ranging from increased competition and more efficient markets all the way, some would argue, to wealth equity. One thing is for sure: globalization is changing the way we do business on a fundamental level.
A far cry from the idyllic “It’s Small World” concept of each nation and culture working together in harmony under “just one moon and one golden sun”, today’s global marketplace necessitates a thoughtful and nimble approach to doing business. The number of consumers in developing countries continues to rise rapidly, and the global flow of products, services, money and even information is rising in tandem. (Throw government, labor and risk management in the mix, and you have a complex web of opportunity and challenges that we won’t get into here.) Reaching these audiences means an able wielding of technology (which is driving globalization in the first place) in order to reach them in a space that makes sense, both to the target audience and from a business standpoint.
To narrow this giant concept down to its implications for the market research industry, we need to look at ways to effectively and efficiently embrace the global nature of today’s marketplace. Without doing so, they will quickly be left behind. The essence of doing this lies past simply making products and services available in multiple languages and countries. It means building that connection with respondents to gather actionable data that brands can use on a broad level.
For research projects that have a global scope, or are being conducted beyond the “likely suspects” (e.g. the United States), a respondent reward offering can be important in boosting response rates. Virtual Incentives has always had a global offering, with technology like our real-time API and easy-to-use management portal. But to us, “going global” means more than just technology that works across country lines. One good example is the Global eGiftcard, which goes beyond just taking an existing product and sending it overseas. This solution offers advanced personalization, customization and ordering options with more than 600 brands to choose from in various denominations – all with seamless delivery to more than 43 countries in 16 currencies.
Perhaps the most important point that this solution drives home is its focus on the survey respondent. The instant, flexible delivery of culturally relevant, top in-country brands for more than 40 countries goes beyond simply changing language or currency to make a U.S. product fit across borders. In order to effectively conduct research, partners in the process need to deliver true international solutions.
So if “going global” is part of the plan – and it probably should be – there are several things to keep in mind:
- One size doesn’t fit all when you are crossing geographic and culture boundaries. Customization that goes beyond the “superficial” is key to success.
- Think about the respondent audience and their needs first. Technology can make the world a whole lot smaller, so it needs to resonate with respondents no matter the country where they reside.
- Cover the basics – make sure you are delivering your solution in the language, currency and method (e.g. mobile friendly) that fits the audience. A no brainer, right?
- Evaluate continuously by reviewing the effectiveness of any global solution – gather data and feedback and implement it in future products for constant improvement.
With something as vast as a global presence, it’s important to make sure all the Is are dotted and Ts are crossed. The world may be getting smaller, but for most businesses this means a larger audience and a new approach.