Global Research: Rahul Sahgal, Doug Guion, John Shciela #CASROmanage #MRX

Welcome to this series of live blogs from the CASRO Management Conference in Chicago. All posts appear within minutes after the speaker has finished. Any errors, omissions, or silly side comments are my own.


    • Rahul Sahgal, CEO, Annik Technology Solutions; Session Moderator
    • Doug Guion, President, The PERT Group
    • John Schiela, President, Phoenix Converged Technology & Media, Phoenix Marketing International
  • Main drivers – client push, growth avenues
  • Large MR companies have expanded to every corner of the world, but a real alternative is a mosaic of small/medium companies cooperating with local firms
  • Technology and social media will play an ever increasing role
  • Doug Guion
  • Thoughts about starting up a new office in another country
  • [i’m sensing sarcasm around loving and having great respect for 50 pound binders of business plans :)]
  • You must have humility or no one will respect you. Humility must be part of plans. If you give people this, they will calm down.
  • Short term strategy – how long will it take us to establish legitimacy in the market, what structure will the business take, what staff do we need in place on both sides to ensure success
  • Don’t import too much talent. Hire local talent. Maybe send a mid-level person.
  • They opted for managed space that includes office space, furniture, receptionist, to allow for flexible growth [that’s what Conversition did]
  • Hire the right staff – Importing a GM is infrequently the correct choice. Find someone without ego issues. Transfer knowledge from your office not the management staff.
  • Do not apply domestic rules to to other countries for product testing. Customs and shipping are a problem on their own.
  • Product testing scores are not the same globally: Brazilians love everything. Russians lead with negative. China typically neutral. You cannot have the same winner in every country and with the same magnitude.
  • Videotaping interviews is illegal in Saudi Arabia. Women in Recife shower 2-3 times per day so how does that affect fragrance testing?
    English: Japan and Saudi Arabia highlighted.
  • John Schiela
  • Global research doesn’t just happen, you can’t stick it in your mission statement
  • You don’t always need the same brand name in other countries
  • Research is local – just because you’re good locally, doesn’t mean you’ll be good globally
  • Combine product expertise with regional expertise – someone who knows product testing plus someone who knows the UK
  • Have good partners and have good backup partners
  • Choose which work you want to go after. If you don’t know the country, will that be good for your business? Do you want to pass on it or partner on it?
  • Rules for determining methodology differs by geography. Focus groups don’t work in Japan because only the leader will have an opinion. Scales change in different countries.
  • Innovative is the most overused word in the business world right now. Innovation is often nothing more than combination.
  • Be prepared to turn down business when you know you can’t do it – e.g., online research in parts of the world where internet penetration is too low
  • Know when to walk away and know when to run. Countries with serious issues where the people are more concerned with living than with answering a survey.
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