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Roving Researcher

Deploy Dr. Nufer as your “research ambassador”!

International marketing research is often necessary in a global economy, but it is difficult to do well, and risky.  You need to be sure your international research will achieve its objectives, and deliver the knowledge needed to drive your business decisions.  Dr. Nufer can provide on-the-scene management to make sure your research investment is worthwhile.

International studies that require face to face research, such as focus groups, or an understanding of the shopper environment, are particularly difficult to manage from the U.S.  because the US based researcher is blind to so much about the foreign environment and research experience.

What are your choices?

As a client-side researcher, you can travel to the foreign research site, so you can adjust the research plan as needed, supervise the execution, and gain a depth of understanding of the milieu that will inform the analysis.

This is challenging because it:

  • requires a deep understanding of the nuances of international research
  • requires an ability to quickly grasp and adapt to the local cultural milieu
  • often requires coordinating across multiple vendors in one or more countries
  • demands a researcher who is capable of vetting suppliers outside the US
  • exhausts morale, because it quickly gets wearing on your personal, family life
  • erodes productivity: time away eats into productivity on other responsibilities 

The alternative is to manage the process from your US office, and that is risky:

  • communication with suppliers is harder, you miss nuances
  • project may not get the attention it would if you are on site overseas
  • project competes with your other responsibilities; may get short-shrift 

The risks are many.

  • The most obvious problems are ones you find out about before it is too late.   Example: a projective technique that worked rather well in the US just didn’t resonate with our Germany respondents; we were able to make a change on the fly and meet the study objectives 
  • Sometimes the problems show up too late, in the analysis: I once heard a story about a EU study on diamond engagement rings.  Nearly all the 20-ish single women in Italy claimed to currently be engaged, which just couldn’t be!  Turns out to be a failure of proper pre-testing and back translating the questionnaire, since what the women were really saying was simply that yes they were in the market to get married sometime! 
  • Most insidious: the errors you never know about.  Without a representative of the client on site to observe, errors in the data collection phase can go undetected, and you never even know the results are misleading.  Lack of reliability and validity erodes trust in the whole research process. 

If you don’t have an in-house marketing research professional to manage the research, these problems are magnified.   You are dependent on the expertise of the out-of-US partner(s), and that is difficult to assess.  Going with a large multinational partner might mean your project is offloaded to junior staff, who won’t have the same sense of ownership, and without that expert “sixth sense” to know when something is suboptimal.  Hiring one or more local partners requires knowing how to source and vet them, and added work to coordinate across them.

Our solution: Dr. Nufer steps in as your research ambassador on the scene, managing the research process from its design and project bidding stages through to reporting the results, or anywhere along that pathway. She functions as an extension of your staff overseas.  Dr. Nufer is uniquely qualified for these assignments:

  • 20+ years in international research, as a client and as a supplier
  • Experienced in international qualitative and quantitative research
  • International research experience spans B2B and B2C
  • Key strength: quickly grasping even complex industries, from cardiac electrophysiology to international financial regulatory requirements.
  • Independent researcher, so not biased to any one data collection service or method
  • Experienced acting as an interim Mkt Res Director at client organizations
  • Brings a Psychologist’s insights and knowledge to your international work 

I invite you to call me at (805) 497-9090 or email me at jnufer@nufermr.com to discuss on-site management of your next international research project. 

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