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Is Local Knowledge Handicapping Your Business? – 5 Reasons It Might Be

When businesses enter a new market or begin aggressive expansion plans, they know that understanding that particular market is their key to success. So what better way to do this then by tapping into local populations for knowledge and advice, right? After all, locals have strong relationships, experience and knowledge. They’ve lived in these places for a long time, sometimes their whole lives. Can’t it go without saying that no one will be more knowledgable than they are? Not necessarily.

While local knowledge can, and sometimes does offer up unique insights, it can also fall short in an abundance of ways that will hamper success in new markets if relied on too heavily. Here’s five reasons relying solely on local knowledge can hurt your strategy:

1 – Local knowledge is subjective
People living in different environments with different interpersonal relationship and ways of seeing what’s going on around them will directly affect the personal opinions and judgments they offer up to as insights. These subjective ideas and consultations, such as brand preferences, local preferences, etc., cause businesses to draw conclusions that lack comprehensive thinking and may be leading you to miss some opportunities.

2 – Lack of the “bigger picture”
There are often acute differences in local populations access to knowledge. Depending on certain demographic factors your local knowledge support may not even have access to the most comprehensive and latest information, which creates a high risk of receiving misleading information.

3 – Lack of evidence
Generally local knowledge relies on personal experiences, however validating these experiences is often impossible, leading to what essentially amounts to guesswork by businesses.

4 – Lack of accuracy
The definition of people’s experience is ambiguous, for example, we can make a ranking order by our experience, but cannot explain how much the gap between. If we can’t use the tool to standardize process or calculate the differences will make the conclusion can’t be used to compare.

5 – Lack of efficiency
Local experiences typically rely on field observations to gain data, which requires teams of people to literally go out and collect the information. This type of process can take a considerable amount of time to complete, as well as cost a small fortune. There are times when field observations are necessary for digging up the right kinds of information, but relying on these methods alone, or as the only solution for consideration could be keeping your company from achieving more impressive results.

 By Rita Lin 
 Project Manager

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