As globalisation brings in the opportunities for marketers, it also simultaneously brings problems for the market research industry. Understanding needs of diverse markets and devising ways and means to approach them is surely no child’s play. ESOMAR, the organisation founded in 1948 for enabling better research saw its Asia Pacific 2006 World Research Conference take off in Mumbai recently.
It saw different perspectives shared on the Asian market. It also discussed use of new techniques in research and challenges before the market research industry. The task before marketers to woo a new emerging Asian consumer also got envisaged.
D Shivakumar, Chief Executive Director, Philips Electronics India, through his keynote address on ‘Technology adoption in Asia’ made quite a few useful observations on how the changing market forces are having an effect on the role of market research.
Statistics present an irony that despite being home to 60 per cent of the world’s population, Asia contributes to only 13 per cent of the market research business. Shivakumar noted that there was a definite regional divide in India with affluent class on one hand and deprived on another. According to him, raising the standard of living would be the topmost priority.
Commenting on the Asian consumer, the industry veteran said that Asians were optimistic and that advertising was not a distraction but fun for them. Asian brands are slowly taking on the global giants. The challenges that the market research industry faces as far as the consumer durables industry is concerned are in the form of technology disruption, price disruption and trade disruption.
The need for research executives to have better domain expertise was also expressed. As Asian economies move to one family-one child scenario, a new pampered, Asian will emerge in the years to come and marketers will have to woo this new consumer, who will be totally different from others.
Another session titled ‘Asia: From the world’s research back office to the world’s research strategic partner’ saw Ashwin Mittal and Kedar Sohoni of Cross-Tab Marketing Services, India comment on how offshoring is presenting great opportunities for India. Issues of concern included client data confidentiality, domain knowledge, cultural issues and job loss in client country.
The presentation by Pradeep Hejmadi, Vice-President, TAM Media Research, India and Vivek Srivastava, Senior Brand Manager, S Group, TAM Media Research, India, threw light on how promotion strategy varied with the genre of programme and the product life cycle. For example, for news genre, channel promotion would be used owing to less scope of differentiation while for individual specific properties, programme promotion would help (Indian Idol, Fame Gurukul etc).
Other sessions included a study on youth preferences for new product variants through blogs and how product testing can help develop product with newer compositions and features.
Overall, there were quite a few relevant points to take home – the use of blogs as objects of research and getting useful insights from them, the emergence of the new pampered, Asian consumer, the offshoring opportunity for India and implications and the need to look at similarities in the Asian market that reflects such deep diversities. The event also had market research professionals from various parts of the world present case studies and share useful insights.