A challenging and much-needed skill is the ability to discover and to think about consumers’ and organizations’ needs in different cultures, to interpret those needs into products, and to market those products in ways which are meaningful to their target markets.  This investigation asks you to put yourself in the role of the product manager who is searching for products to import to the U.S. 

Go to a shopping area that specializes in the native foods of some international ethnic group other than your own.  There are shops that specialize in certain ethnic food products, such as Indian, Mexican, Korean, etc. 

  1. Find/buy a product that you cannot identify; write down your first impressions of what you think the product is made of and what it is used for. Include an image of it.   
  2. What cues to usage are there on the product? If it is packaged, what information can you find?  If it is not packaged, did the store signs give you any information?  What information would you want as a consumer?
  3. Describe the store and in what section of the store your product is placed, i.e.: describe what products were near it. (If you do not recognize these products, describe what they look like).  Include images.   
  4. Attempt to interview store management or one of the retail clerks to find out what the product really is. You may not always be successful in this attempt!  If you fail to find out, please select another product whose identity can be explained to you.
  5. Describe the product’s current marketing mix.
  6. After finding out what the product is, assume the role of a product manager who is searching for products to import to the U.S. Discuss whether the product would be marketable to a broader segment of people in the U.S. (not just an ethnic minority group). 
  7. Give the pros and cons of proceeding with this product.
  8. Describe in what ways the product’s marketing mix would be standardized, adapted, or completely changed.
  9. Discuss the types of data that you would want in order to make your presentation to management. Remember, your decision is simply a preliminary call whether to proceed with a market investigation!!

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