Also, effective consumer response (ACRE) is another program which allows management to work more closely with vendors on stock replenishment. ACRE systems utilize electronic point of sale (EPOSES) data gathered by checkout scanners that help retailers identify product sales patterns as well as record consumer preferences separated by geographical areas. All these tools are also helpful in improving the ability of businesses to target consumers and increase loyalty. Customer relationship management (CRM) is another method by which a relationship is developed with the customer.

It helps in determining which customers are most valuable and to react in timely manner with customized product and service offerings that closely match customer needs. It also makes employees more productive and enhances corporate profitability. It also benefits customers by providing value-added products and services. Data warehouses store a company's CRM system as well as other IT systems. These data warehouses can provide multiple uses such as helping retailers with multiple store locations fine-tune their product assortments.

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In addition to internet, intranet can be a valuable tool, which can connect individuals within a company on a private basis. - Authors Michael Contain and 'Alkali Romaine identified four specific environmental factors that may require international research efforts to be conducted differently than domestic research. Describe those factors to outline the differences. Answer: The four specific environmental factors that may require international research efforts to be conducted differently than domestic research are: (1) researchers must be prepared for new parameters for doing business.

The requirements and ways in which rules are applied may differ from country to country. (2) A "cultural mega-shock" may occur as company personal come to grips tit a new set of culture-based assumptions about conducting business. (3) a company entering more than one new geographic market faces a burgeoning network of interacting factors. Research may help prevent psychological overload in that case. (4) Company researchers may have to broaden the definition of competitors in international markets to include competitive pressures that would not be present in the domestic market. - The vice presidents of finance and marketing of a cosmetic company were traveling around the world to estimate the market potential for their products. They name to a busy metropolitan area in India and noticed that most of the women were not using mascara and false eyelashes. The vice president of finance said, "There is no evidence of any market for our products and let us not waste time. " However the vice president of marketing remarked, "We have a great opportunity to market our products. " What is meant by this, and how will you suggest testing the instinct of either vice president?

Answer: This is a classic example which demonstrates the need to identify the information required to do market research. To formally confirm the assumptions, organized research is necessary. Identification of the need will form the first step for conducting this marketing research in a different country. The need for research also arises when there is a problem, crisis or opportunity. Local taste preferences vary based on several factors ranging from social, cultural to economic reasons. Unless a research is conducted formally or informally it is impossible to arrive at a conclusion.

Also, it is quite possible that a potential market can be missed or lost to competitors on false assumption or instincts. Thus, research should be undertaken to determine the potential market and how it can be converted into actual market. This should lead to a stepwise process for conducting marketing research. 4- How can observational studies and focus groups be used in marketing research? What are the different methods by which these studies are conducted? Answer: In observation method one or more trained observers or a mechanical device watch and record the behavior of actual or prospective buyers.

The research results are used to guide marketing managers in their decision making. For example, observations are done as to how male or female customers open the door of cars and sit. This simple act can be of tremendous help in designing the doors of cars and the adjustment of seats. Similarly, observing how consumers are picking items in a grocery store or observing the items in shopping carts can give better understanding of the actual purchase behavior of consumers. It should be noted that since consumers are unaware of being watched, actual behavior can be recorded and interpreted.

Marketers can also observe the eating behavior by observation or the plate wastage after dinner to assess food preferences of consumers. Companies using observation as a research methodology must be sensitive to public concerns about privacy issues, particularly if the subjects know that they are being watched. In focus group research, a trained moderator facilitates discussion of a product concept, a brand's image and personality, advertisement, social trends, or other related topic with a group comprised of 6 to 10 people.

Selection of focus group participants has to be done very carefully since the number of participants is very limited. They should also meet the criteria which closely fit the overall population under study. Usually focus group meetings are conducted in a specially equipment room in an undisturbed environment. The questions are carefully framed and answers are solicited from all participants in an organized manner. Recordings are made of the entire process and analyzed after the conclusion of the session.

A one-way mirror or a video screening is simultaneously conducted where focus group participants are being watched. Also the trained moderator is connected by earphones with others including business managers, so that appropriate instant questions may be prompted to be used in discussion. Focus group research yields qualitative data that does not lend itself to statistical projection. Such data are extremely valuable in the exploratory phase of a project and is typically used in conjunction with data gathered via observation and other methods.