10 Best Practice Tips on How to Conduct Market Research in MENA

10 Best Practice Tips on How to Conduct Market Research in MENA
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When using market research to inform strategies and key business decision making – one of the most fundamental drivers of quality and actionable insights is a transparent working partnership between the client, the researcher and the respondent.

To help you ensure your research insights stay on track from the outset here are my top 10 best practice tips for conducting market research across the Middle East and North Africa.

  1. Be clear on your business objectives for research.
    Fully understand what decisions or changes you want to be able to make to your business as a result of the research at the project briefing stage, this will help ensure the insights delivered are relevant and actionable.

  2. Discuss your budget.
    Research methodologies have varying associated costs. Clearly defining your budget from the outset will ensure your researchers can make your money work as hard as possible. Online research can often be more cost effective and faster.

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  3. Select your target market, audience and profile.
    Be very clear about audiences or segments you want to carry out research with – and for what purpose. This will help researchers identify the correct sample mix, size and methodology.

  4. Be mindful of survey length.
    Think about how many questions you would be happy to answer in a survey yourself. Long questionnaires can lead to increased drop-out rates and poor data quality.

  5. Beware of nationality barriers.
    Mixing people with different nationalities in qualitative focus groups may not be advisable since they all have their own native languages, attitudes, lifestyles and perceptions.

  6. Understand the nature of a non-homogenous region.
    Across MENA, and within its countries, lives a highly diverse population. For example, in the UAE there are over 200 different nationalities. Be aware that in order to be representative both across and within segments the methodology may require larger sample sizes than you might expect in more homogenous markets.

  7. Be respectful of cultural norms.
    It may not be appropriate to mix male and female respondents in some areas of the MENA region - for example Saudi Arabia. There may be some topics that are off limits.  It is important to ensure respondents feel comfortable at all times.

  8. Build in time to your research project.
    Carrying out quality research takes time. In some cases recruiting respondents needs to be done weeks in advance to ensure people have enough notice to take part at the right time. In other cases, recruitment can only be done several days in advance.

  9. Be aware of public holidays and religious festivals.
    Weekends and holidays are not standardised across the MENA region so it is important to consider the timing of your surveys. Religious festivals such as Ramadan also impact project timelines, feasibility and can, depending on the objective of your research, skew results.

  10. Dictate your desired deliverables.
    A significant amount of a research timeline is allocated to analysing and reporting. It is therefore important to agree the format (PowerPoint, Word, Excel) and level of detail you expect your research to be delivered in from the outset of the project.

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