Indochina, a region of Southeast Asia had countries that provide big opportunities for growth for businesses world-wide. When conducting research in emerging markets like Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, all of which are in Indochina poses great challenges for companies. However, in the process of decision making in these markets, potential risks are imminent, much of which are caused by information of poor quality which forms the basis for decision making. When the quality of the market information is enhanced, its great importance to the marketing managers is easily noted. There has been an increase in the significance of these emerging markets in the business world, more so, in the marketing research internationally among the significant challenges that these companies face in Indochina include; Cultural differences, accessibility and legislative and political issues. These being among the generic market research challenges In Indochina are discussed below in depth. This paper also contributes to the literature body that is limited on academics on research on market in markets that are emerging, with much focus on the less developed countries of Indochina mentioned above (Green, 2011).
Social cultural factors pose a great challenge in market research in Indochina. These countries contain some of the globe’s gap between rich and poor divided, which has implications in terms of rates of literacy and education variability. This further gives an explanation on why interviewing on face-to-face basis is the most preferred design of collection of data. Discussions were also held on the range customer groups that are hard to reach’s as to access a society’s strata that is more affluent, interviewers in this part of the world need to overcome high security levels that involves communities that are gated, compounds that are secured and security guards. In (Greene, 2011),regardless of standing by the society of many potential respondents, there have been signs of wary of allowing strangers into their homesteads to carry out interviews. In suburbs that have many cases of poverty and towns that are shanty, which typically provide homage to the largest proportions of population in urban centres, lawlessness and lack of security has become a major concern with regard to safety of the interviewers. In such locations, interviewing at some time will cease well before the night gets in and support acquiring from the community members within the locality may be of great necessity. In combination with very urban road congestion that is very significant can be hampered severely, leading to increment on costs and durations of projects (Burgess & Steenkamp, 2006).
In addition, use of many languages has added to challenges in research conducting. Indochina countries have typically many languages and tribes. Despite this wide range of languages in these countries, questionnaires can hardly undergo translation into more than just few languages, which gives an illustration on meaning lose challenge that is currently on-going. Some Indochina languages have also proven to be very verbose, with some resulting in a questionnaire that is translated, which is significantly longer than the original version. This is a crucial consideration is design for research as reliability of survey is affected adversely by length of the interview. Another cultural theme that affects smooth flow of the research process is that some communities in Indochina view research with a lot of suspicion. For safety’s sake and enhancement of rates of response, interviewers need to be from similar tribal/social group. While the main aim of agencies is to maintain a good interviewers mix, this is not all the time easy to implement as due to the endemic challenge caused by nepotism in some parts of Indochina. Another challenge caused by culture is related to the frequent lack of knowledge by spouses to know the earnings by each other. This usually causes challenges for research on consumers as income by households is a frequent key indicator in models for segmentation, which is well utilized in selection of respondents for quotas sampling (Nigel, 2010).
Challenges brought about by accessibility have already undergone allusion in relation to environmental, socio-cultural and legislative dimensions, an issue which also has significance in its infrastructural relations. Indochina markets, more so, the ones outside the capital cities have very poor infrastructure. Samples obtaining that are representatives of various geographies can be hampered severely by networks of roads that are poor, lack enough flight services that directly link between major cities and the large distance that is involved. Limitation in infrastructure also affects the ability of the research agencies to operate as a result of cuts of power and prices utility that are ever increasing. Low penetration of internet, telecommunications that are poor and media levels that vary in their usage put restrictions on data use of methods for capturing that are differentiated as well as the effective communication ability with teams in the field. Again, this drawback helps in understanding why interviewing on face to face basis is mostly preferred for most Indochina surveys on consumers. Security and safety are also major concerns in specific areas. For instance, while many facilities and services can be allowed to get in many countries in Indochina they many at times come at a premium price(Kotler & Gary, 2007).For instance, technology, business and computers services are all more expensive in Indochina in comparison to markets that are developed already. In Vietnam for instance, public investment in infrastructure has been on neglect for many years. The economy has been in a position to grow despite bottlenecks in infrastructure, but there is a great fear that as activities concerned to the economy expands, the drawbacks will definitely get worse. Power shortages, water supply that is insufficient and poor transport and communication systems include some of the major reported systems. Unless there is an effort that is concerted towards improving of the infrastructure, Vietnam’s economic growth would have lots of impediments, most probably leading to its cease. In Cambodia for instance, there are only thirteen usable airports but only six are functioning with runways that have permanent surfaces. Services for telecommunication are barely adequate for requirements by the government and virtually are non-existent for the public in general (Phillip, 2008).
Legislative and political issues
To begin with communist bureaucracy, common in Vietnam, a country in Indochina has been a great obstacle to market research. Countries in Indochina are undergoing political and economic instability. Senior staff of well-known agencies in these countries has all co-ordinated multi-country studies in Indochina, where data collection occurs simultaneously across many markets. All these have experienced difficulties as a result of disruption from conflict and political instability. This has often resulted in delays, bringing about the need to amend the geographical zones, whose sampling is done, then follows project postponement, or even cancellation. Indochina has most of the globe’s high inflation rates and fluctuations in currency that are substantial are also common in countries in Indochina. These economic factors which are tied to Indochina’s political structures have created drawbacks for the senior staff in the research agency in terms of accurate prediction of costs incurred in the projects and budgeting as well. On legislative issues, inconsistencies and variations in legislation are a key factor that created lots of problems for research agencies that work in Indochina. According to (Diaz, 2013), Countries in Indochina require permits from the government to conduct research in the market. Some like Vietnam need permits that are for individuals for every project on market research as well as research instrument copies before approval is granted, a situation which not only adds to times that are leading in the project but also enhances creation of clients’ confidentiality concerns. Give the spoke and hub nature of the market structure of market research in Indochina, projects frequently need travelling of agency staff from the offices of central research to train and brief teams in the locality. Application of Visa can also lead to addition to length of a project and in specific situations a wrong visa can even lead to more delays, local labour laws infringement and staff incarceration. Upon interviews, the senior executives all showed consternation due to the taxation laws that are ambiguous and very complicated, prevalent in the Indochina countries. In particular, this is in relation to tax payments being withheld for studies based on multi countries. In certain cases, there has to be a double pay of taxes, both in the nation where the specific agency has basis and also in the country where conducting of research is done (Achrol & Kotler, 2012). Difficulties are encountered in the due course of are transporting research materials across the borders. Previously, Indochina has been performing poorly in rankings for global corruption and the corruption potential is factored in, the drawbacks that are legislative in nature become even more challenging and a bit more dear to deal with. In Vietnam also, the country just like the others has realized the need to reform its legal systems which will support the reforms made in the economy. It has made arrangements to enact the necessary decrees and laws in areas such as banking, contracting, and laws on foreign investment and property rights as well. However, certain research agencies have realized that these challenges currently encountered are due to inconsistency and uncertainty in the interpretation of these laws (Craig & Douglas, 2000), different marketing research authorities in the government implement policies in accordance with their own interpretation without thorough consultation with other agencies across the countries. This leaves respondent across Indochina con fused thus reluctant in giving consumer related information and data necessary in marketing research (Vikas, 2015).
Today, research on marketing and businesses operate worldwide; therefore researchers and practitioners on marketing need not to ignore the above three discussed challenging factors. Every day, changes are also occurring virtually in all personal and business aspects of life. These changes, not only in Indochina are getting played out at rates which are different in various parts of the globe. Against such kind of a back drop, researchers on marketing are every day being challenged to carry out research with the highest quality possible in multiple settings that are diverse. Marketing researchers face these challenges which are multifaceted and all related to how and where the research will be carried out, who are the potential respondents and which tools and techniques will be used. Upon understanding these, the above three challenges among others will be dealt with (McDonald, 2007).
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