11 Lessons Learned From A Vacation To Iran For Marketing Research

Marketing research is a fascinating field that involves finding out where people shop, what they like to eat, and more. I’ve been in the marketing industry for over 10 years now, but every time I think I know everything about marketing research, a new challenge comes my way. 

That’s exactly what happened when I went on vacation to Iran: my trip turned into an extended lesson in international marketing research! 

It turns out there is so much to learn from this different culture than I could have ever imagined. Here are just a few of the many surprising lessons that emerged from my travels:

ROAD TRIP MIDDLE EAST: Iran (Part 4 – Kashan, Tehran)
1. Cultural Immersion: Experiencing Iran’s rich history and culture can inspire creative marketing strategies.
2. Local Interactions: Building connections with locals can provide unique insights into consumer behaviors.
3. Adapting to Change: Navigating a foreign environment fosters adaptability, a crucial skill in dynamic marketing landscapes.
4. Storytelling Impact: Incorporating personal travel stories can add authenticity and relatability to marketing campaigns.
5. Understanding Diversity: Witnessing diverse demographics firsthand helps tailor marketing messages for different audiences.
6. Language Nuances: Language barriers highlight the importance of clear communication in marketing materials.
7. Emotional Resonance: Tapping into emotions that travel evokes can enhance the emotional appeal of marketing content.
8. Local Influences: Observing local trends and influences can offer fresh perspectives on design and aesthetics.
9. Consumer Insights: Analyzing consumer behaviors during travel can provide valuable insights for market research.
10. Adapting to Constraints: Overcoming travel challenges mirrors finding creative solutions in marketing strategies.
11. Global Inspiration: Broadening horizons through travel can infuse global inspiration into marketing campaigns.

1. Don’t Be Afraid To Explore The World

As a marketer, it’s easy to get stuck in a routine. You wake up, check your email and go about your day. It shouldn’t be this way. You should be taking risks and trying new things especially when it comes to travel!

Traveling is an experience unlike any other; it opens up worlds that we couldn’t have seen otherwise. If you aren’t afraid of travel (or worse: are afraid of travel), then I have some bad news: 

You’re missing out on a lot more than just an opportunity to see different places around the world! Traveling can also teach us how to live our lives better and happier by opening our eyes to what else is possible outside of our comfort zone. 

Most importantly though? Traveling teaches us about ourselves as well as others – something I think everyone could use some help with every once in a while 🙂

Exploring new horizons through travel can provide valuable insights for marketers. Discover how to conduct market research while traveling to gain a competitive edge and broaden your perspectives.

2. You Can Get A Lot Of Insight From Just Being Still And Watching The World Around You

While you are on the road, be still. That is, learn to see the world around you without running around in it.

Learn to observe others: someone purchasing at a shop; two people talking on the phone as they walk down the street; anyone who seems to be doing something different from everyone else. 

This can also include observing yourself. For example, if you want to learn about how people react in public spaces when confronted with different languages or accents (this will come in handy when marketing internationally).

Then observe yourself and what happens when your own language/accent changes during travel.

Observe your environment: Is there more traffic than normal? Why? What does this mean for businesses that rely heavily on foot traffic? 

Is there construction happening nearby that could affect business operations? Are there foreigners nearby me either tourists or expatriates living here and what do they seem like compared with locals?

3. Take Time To Talk To Strangers And Learn About Their Lives

Make time to talk to strangers. Talk to people you meet on the street, in shops and restaurants, at hotels, bars, and parks even at airports! This is a great way to get an authentic take on what life is like in Iran as opposed to what you read online or see in news reports.

Employing the scientific method in marketing research ensures accurate and meaningful results. Learn more about the significance of observation, inference, and testing to enhance your research strategies.

4. People Are Good Everywhere, No Matter What News You Hear About Their Country

While on the trip, I learned that people are good everywhere, no matter what news you hear about their country. We all have a lot in common and can learn from each other if we just open ourselves up to new experiences.

You might think it’s too risky to ask a stranger for help when you’re traveling but I would encourage you not to be afraid of being vulnerable. Even if it doesn’t work out, at least you tried! And if it does work out, then great! You can learn so much from those experiences!

5. Be Open To New Experiences, Because It May Just Be The Best Part Of Your Trip!

You never know what you might learn or who you might meet. You could meet someone who changes your life. 

Maybe it’s an interesting person that you end up having a meaningful conversation with about politics or religion or maybe they teach you something about yourself and your views on certain topics. 

You could also learn something about the world, from history to geography to culture and more. Or even better: other people around the world!

6. It’s Important To Meet People Where They Are To Learn About Them

If you want to learn about people, it’s important to meet them where they are. Don’t assume that someone with a different appearance or background will be less educated than you.

I was surprised by how open the people I met were to talking about themselves and their lives not because I thought they would be closed off.

But because it is easy for us Americans to assume that other people think differently than we do when in fact, most of us feel very similar emotions and thoughts as our fellow humans around the world.

We are not all that different from one another!

7. The More You Travel, The More You’ll Realize How Much We All Have In Common Around The World

  • People are the same everywhere.
  • Regardless of what you hear about their country in the news, people are good everywhere.
  • The more you travel and meet new people, the more you’ll realize how much we all have in common around the world.

Unveiling untapped markets requires a well-informed approach. Explore how marketing research can help you access in-demand markets and tailor your strategies for success.

8. It’s Not Always Easy Or Comfortable Putting Yourself Out There And Meeting New People, But It’s Worth It At The End If It Expands Your Mind And Opens Up Your Thinking

It’s not always easy or comfortable putting yourself out there and meeting new people, but it’s worth it in the end if it expands your mind and opens up your thinking. You can learn a lot by talking to strangers, especially if you do so with an open heart and mind. 

When you talk to people from other cultures, different backgrounds, and different walks of life than you are used to seeing and experiencing daily it is exciting! And getting excited about something will make the whole process more enjoyable for everyone involved.

9. Asking People Questions Is Invaluable When Doing Market Research, But Don’t Forget That Listening Plays A Crucial Role Too!

Listening is a skill that can be learned, and it can be improved upon. It’s often overlooked and it plays a crucial role in market research. If you are conducting market research, there are several steps you can take to improve your listening abilities:

Practice active listening. Active listening means paying attention to what the other person is saying, not just waiting for your turn to talk again! 

If you find yourself thinking about what else you will say next or how they are wrong about their opinion on something stop thinking about this and focus on listening!

Stop talking so much. So many people think that talking makes them interesting or good listeners when all it does is keep others from having their chance to speak freely without interruption from someone who won’t stop talking! 

Remember: “Silence gives consent.” You don’t need words or sentences every time someone asks a question sometimes just silence will suffice because they know someone is still paying attention even if they aren’t speaking right now (or ever again).

10. There Will Be Times When You Feel Lost Or Uncomfortable, But Traveling Is Meant To Push Us Outside Our Comfort Zones And Challenge Our Boundaries!

There will be times when you feel lost or uncomfortable, but traveling is meant to push us outside our comfort zones and challenge our boundaries! 

It’s not always easy or comfortable putting yourself out there and meeting new people, but it’s worth it in the end if it expands your mind and opens up your thinking.

You should never let fear hold you back from being open-minded about other cultures, especially if it means expanding your knowledge of marketing research techniques! Asking people questions is invaluable when doing market research.

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11. You Will Always Get A More Authentic Experience If You Go With A Local, Or Just Explore The City On Foot – It Takes Longer, But It’s Well Worth It!

I took a tour of Tehran in an air-conditioned van with my friends and our guide who was very nice and knowledgeable, but at one point we were stuck in traffic while he explained some historical facts to us and I was thinking “I would rather spend this time walking around on my own.”

For example, there is an option called “walking tour” which costs about $50 per person (in case you don’t have enough money to travel by plane) but you can see so much more than what would be possible by using public transport only! 

Many interesting places are not easy for tourists to visit without knowing someone from there beforehand: 

Parks like Vali Asr Park where locals come together every Sunday morning after sunrise; markets where people sell their handmade crafts; cafés where artists gather together after work hours… 

If you’re willing to walk around longer than usual then these hidden gems will surprise both locals as well as foreigners alike since they’ve never been discovered before!

Weaving compelling narratives is integral to impactful marketing research. Dive into the world of storytelling in marketing research and learn how to captivate your audience through engaging narratives.


I don’t think I’ve ever experienced culture shock like that before. If you’re looking to research new markets, start by looking at places that are culturally different than your own. 

Even if you can only stretch your budget to travel to a nearby city, there are still countless lessons you can learn from locals and other travelers alike.

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to further explore the intricacies of traveling to Iran:

Traveling to Iran: Essential Tips and Insights: Discover essential tips and insights for a memorable journey through Iran.

Visit Iran: A Comprehensive Travel Guide: A comprehensive guide to planning and experiencing an unforgettable trip to Iran.

A Guide to the Cost of Traveling in Iran: Gain insights into the costs associated with traveling to Iran and how to manage your budget effectively.


What should I know before traveling to Iran?

Before traveling to Iran, it’s important to understand the cultural norms, visa requirements, and local customs to ensure a respectful and enjoyable experience.

Is Iran a safe travel destination?

Yes, Iran is generally considered safe for travelers. However, like any destination, it’s advisable to stay informed about current events and adhere to local guidelines to ensure your safety.

How can I manage the costs of traveling in Iran?

To manage costs while traveling in Iran, consider staying in budget accommodations, utilizing public transportation, and enjoying local street food, which can be more affordable than dining in restaurants.

What are some must-visit attractions in Iran?

Iran offers a wealth of cultural and historical attractions. Don’t miss the stunning architecture of places like the Nasir al-Mulk Mosque and the ancient ruins of Persepolis.

What is the best time to visit Iran?

The best time to visit Iran is during the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) when the weather is mild and pleasant, making it ideal for exploring the country’s landscapes and cities.