In2006 Business Week online (BWOL) commissioned The iD Factor* to undertake nine-country research.
The aim was to investigate the importance and feasibility of website localisation (namely changing the site’s structure, look and feel to appeal to a more segmented audience).
If you visit the site (http://www.businessweek.com), you’ll see there is a Europe and Asia tab but nothing else and BWOL are traditionally seen as being USA-focused.
The iD Factor conducted a combined qualitative / quantitative research program to examine what existing customers and non customers thought of the website and identify cultural nuances.
Other international studies and international publisher surveys had identified cultural differences as a factor in this scenario and this research sought to build on that work.
The iD Factor utilised online focus group software to match the methodology with the audience: its recommendation for online qualitative was based on its cost effectiveness, as well as providing a strategic fit to reach the target audience in several geographies.
To qualify the decision further, experience shows it is far easier to recruit an online reader to express their opinions online than try to get them to take two hours out of their day to attend a group in a central location.
It was clearly evident from the online focus groups that respondents from India were the most positive across the nine European and Asian markets.
Careful moderation therefore required the qualitative responses to adjust from what the Indian respondents thought they were supposed to say to what they actually thought.
The iD Factor has experienced the phenomenon of cultural variance in other qualitative research (offline as well as online), but the Indian feedback was at complete odds with both Asian and European counterparts as well as the existing research within the business.
The subsequent quantitative phase was better able to a) structure a questionnaire eliciting open and honest feedback, and b) factor in cultural differences through measuring the scaled responses of all attitude based questions and identifying the impact of the attitudinal rating on behavioural measures across the nine countries.
While the quantitative results for India remained significantly more positive than all other countries, the iD Factor was able to re-weight their rankings to provide a more accurate representation of the markets and customer type.
The research is with Business Week and is driving the next phase of its online strategy.Link: www.theidfactor.com
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