Pros & Cons of Outsourcing Global Market Research

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Outsourcing market research can be an effective way to learn about a new and different audience. In this lesson, you'll learn more about outsourcing global market research and some of the pros and cons associated with it.


If you've listened to, or read, the news lately, you probably have a general understanding of what outsourcing means. Businesses do it. Manufacturers do it. Call centers do it. Even marketers are starting to get in the outsourcing game.

Generally, when we talk about outsourcing, we're referring to the act of a company sending some of its work outside of its walls (such as a large retailer outsourcing its customer service department) or a business obtaining parts or components from an outside vendor (such as a technology company purchasing laptop batteries from another manufacturer).

The reasons for outsourcing may be varied, but could include:

  • Cost savings
  • Time savings
  • Improved internal efficiency or productivity
  • Streamlined production
  • Enhanced competitiveness

Many organizations are now turning toward outsourcing certain departments and departmental efforts such as contracting with an outside firm for human resources or outsourcing the payroll function to another company. Another area of focus for outsourcing can be found inside the marketing department: global market research.

Global Market Research

Thanks to the internet and enhanced technologies, it is now easier than ever for a small business in Iowa to sell its products and services to an interested consumer in India. However, proper selling also requires adequate research. Market research is the act of gathering information about a target audience to help assess interest in and viability of your product. For example, marketing a snow shovel in a desert community probably won't net many sales. Marketing a particular food product in a culture where that food is prohibited by norms or religious beliefs would also be a no-no. With proper market research, you can learn more about your audience (typically through interviews, focus groups, surveys or questionnaires) so you can meet their needs.

But, imagine this scenario: You're a business owner in Ohio and want to learn more about a potential audience in Brazil. How do you manage that?

For some, the answer is to outsource the global market research necessary to obtain the information you're after. This might be done by contracting with a market research firm that's local to the geographic area you're after. So, if you're looking for better intelligence on your audience in Brazil, a Brazilian market research firm could be your solution. After all, who knows your Brazilian audience better than her native sons?

Even though the choice to outsource may seem like a no-brainer, there are positives and negatives to consider with this option. Let's take a look at a few of each.

Outsourcing Pros and Cons

Choosing a firm local to your desired area may be your best bet for gathering the information necessary to make smart marketing decisions ... or it may not. Consider the following when making your decision:

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