Christa Melotti 

International Research Lead, Vanguard 

How has your background in the retail/fashion industry influenced your work as a marketing researcher? 

Working in retail, specifically as a merchandiser, made me realize how client, or customer, behavior can deeply affect a business. Having the insight to be able to forecast client/customer needs as well as learning how to quickly adjust a large seasonal buy so it isn’t detrimental to the business – especially financially – was a large takeaway.

What aspects do you enjoy most when conducting international studies? 

The cultural nuances that vary from country to country or region to region fascinate me. Understanding even simple research things such as what typical research recruitment methodologies are in various parts of the world or how a respondent in one region may use a rating scale differently are very interesting to me, and pertinent to know.

What tips would you give a researcher beginning his or her first international study?

Being a researcher I would say research as much as you can before starting any international work. Look to understand the region’s customs, culture. There are some great books and resources that detail regional differences in a business setting that can be a great start. Learning what the laws are around marketing research and how that may differ depending on which methodology is used is very important to know before launching into any work.

I think it’s also worth noting there may need to be additional regional understanding depending on what type of research will be done. If you are doing quant-based work, look to see the order of questions asked. It’s important to note even simple things such as the order of the numbers or where to place a 0 in a scale can vary. Such detail can quickly let a respondent know if the study is being done by a U.S.-based firm or is in-country – revealin...