Guided by :Dr.Jelsy joseph
Director,Dept of management studies&research
International marketing refers to MARKETING carried out by companies overseas or across national borderlines . Companies must consider language barriers, ideals, and customs in the market they are approaching.International marketing is simply the application of marketing principles to more than one country. At its simplest level, international marketing involves the firm in making one or more marketing mix decisions across national boundaries. At its most complex level, it involves the firm in establishing manufacturing facilities overseas and coordinating marketing strategies across the globe.
Elements of the international marketing mix:
The “Four P’s” of marketing: product, price, placement, and promotion are all affected as a company moves through the five evolutionary phases to become a global company. Ultimately, at the global marketing level, a company trying to speak with one voice is faced with many challenges when creating a worldwide marketing plan. Unless a company holds the same position against its competition in all markets (market leader, low cost, etc.) it is impossible to launch identical marketing plans worldwide.
A global company is one that can create a single product and only have to tweak elements for different markets. For example, Coca-Cola uses two formulas (one with sugar, one with corn syrup) for all markets. The product packaging in every country incorporates the contour bottle design and the dynamic ribbon in some way, shape, or form. However, the bottle or can also includes the country’s native language and is the same size as other beverage bottles or cans in that country.
Price will always vary from market to market. Price is affected by many variables: cost of product development (produced locally or imported), cost of ingredients, cost of delivery (transportation, tariffs, etc.), and much more. Additionally, the product’s position in relation to the competition influences the ultimate profit margin. Whether this product is considered the high-end, expensive choice, the economical, low-cost choice, or something in-between helps determine the price point.
How the product is distributed is also a country-by-country decision influenced by how the competition is being offered to the target market. Using Coca-Cola as an example again, not all cultures use vending machines. In the United States, beverages are sold by the pallet via warehouse stores. In India, this is not an option. Placement decisions must also consider the product’s position in the market place. For example, a high-end product would not want to be distributed via a “dollar store” in the United States. Conversely, a product promoted as the low-cost option in France would find limited success in a pricey boutique.
After product research, development and creation, promotion (specifically advertising) is generally the largest line item in a global company’s marketing budget. At this stage of a company’s development, integrated marketing is the goal. The global corporation seeks to reduce costs, minimize redundancies in personnel and work, maximize speed of implementation, and to speak with one voice. If the goal of a global company is to send the same message world wide, then delivering that message in a relevant, engaging, and cost-effective way is the challenge. Effective global advertising techniques do exist. The key is testing advertising ideas using a marketing research system proven to provide results that can be compared across countries. The ability to identify which elements or moments of an ad are contributing to that success is how economies of scale are maximized. Market research measures such as flow of attention & flow of motion and branding moments provide insights into what is working in an ad in any country because the measures are based on visual, not verbal, elements of the ad.
Advantages of international marketing
- Economies of scale in production and distribution
- Lower marketing costs
- Power and scope
- Consistency in brand image
- Ability to leverage good ideas quickly and efficiently
- Uniformity of marketing practices
- Helps to establish relationships outside of the “political arena”
- Helps to encourage ancillary industries to be set up to cater for the needs of the global player
Disadvantages of international marketing
- Differences in consumer needs,wants and usage patterns for products
- Differences in consumer response to marketing mix elements
- Differences in brand and product development and the competitve environment
- Differences in the legal environment, some of which may conflict with those of the home market
- Differences in the institutions available, some of which may call for the creation of entirely new ones (e.g. infrastructure)
- Differences in administrative procedures
- Differences in product placement.
Product Issues in International Marketing
Product Need Satisfaction. We often take for granted the “obvious” need that products seem to fill in our own culture; however, functions served may be very different in others—for example, while cars have a large transportation role in the U.S., they are impractical to drive in Japan, and thus cars there serve more of a role of being a status symbol or providing for individual indulgence. In the U.S., fast food and instant drinks such as Tang are intended for convenience; elsewhere, they may represent more of a treat. Thus, it is important to examine through marketing research consumers’ true motives, desires, and expectations in buying a product.
The International Product Life Cycle (PLC). Consumers in different countries differ in the speed with which they adopt new products, in part for economic reasons (fewer Malaysian than American consumers can afford to buy VCRs) and in part because of attitudes toward new products (pharmaceuticals upset the power afforded to traditional faith healers, for example). Thus, it may be possible, when one market has been saturated, to continue growth in another market—e.g., while somewhere between one third and one half of American homes now contain a computer, the corresponding figures for even Europe and Japan are much lower and thus, many computer manufacturers see greater growth potential there. Note that expensive capital equipment may also cycle between countries—e.g., airlines in economically developed countries will often buy the newest and most desired aircraft and sell off older ones to their counterparts in developing countries. While in developed countries, “three part” canning machines that solder on the bottom with lead are unacceptable for health reasons, they have found a market in developing countries.
Branding. While Americans seem to be comfortable with category specific brands, this is not the case for Asian consumers. American firms observed that their products would be closely examined by Japanese consumers who could not find a major brand name on the packages, which was required as a sign of quality. Note that Japanese keiretsus span and use their brand name across multiple industries—e.g., Mitsubishi, among other things, sells food, automobiles, electronics, and heavy construction equipment.
Promotional objectives. Promotional objectives involve the question of what the firm hopes to achieve with a campaign—”increasing profits” is too vague an objective, since this has to be achieved through some intermediate outcome (such as increasing market share, which in turn is achieved by some change in consumers which cause them to buy more). Some common objectives that firms may hold:
- Awareness. Many French consumers do not know that the Gap even exists, so they cannot decide to go shopping there. This objective is often achieved through advertising, but could also be achieved through favorable point-of-purchase displays. Note that since advertising and promotional stimuli are often afforded very little attention by consumers, potential buyers may have to be exposed to the promotional stimulus numerous times before it “registers.”
- Trial. Even when consumers know that a product exists and could possibly satisfy some of their desires, it may take a while before they get around to trying the product—especially when there are so many other products that compete for their attention and wallets. Thus, the next step is often to try get consumer to try the product at least once, with the hope that they will make repeat purchases. Coupons are often an effective way of achieving trial, but these are illegal in some countries and in some others, the infrastructure to readily accept coupons (e.g., clearing houses) does not exist. Continued advertising and point-of-purchase displays may be effective. Although Coca Cola is widely known in China, a large part of the population has not yet tried the product.
- Attitude toward the product. A high percentage of people in the U.S. and Europe has tried Coca Cola, so a more reasonable objective is to get people to believe positive things about the product—e.g., that it has a superior taste and is better than generics or store brands. This is often achieved through advertising.
- Temporary sales increases. For mature products and categories, attitudes may be fairly well established and not subject to cost-effective change. Thus, it may be more useful to work on getting temporary increases in sales (which are likely to go away the incentives are removed). In the U.S. and Japan, for example, fast food restaurants may run temporary price promotions to get people to eat out more or switch from competitors, but when these promotions end, sales are likely to move back down again (in developing countries, in contrast, trial may be a more appropriate objective in this category).
Legal issues. Countries differ in their regulations of advertising, and some products are banned from advertising on certain media (large supermarket chains are not allowed to advertise on TV in France, for example). Other forms of promotion may also be banned or regulated. In some European countries, for example, it is illegal to price discriminate between consumers, and thus coupons are banned and in some, it is illegal to offer products on sale outside a very narrow seasonal and percentage range.
Language issues. Language is an important element of culture. It should be realized that regional differences may be subtle. For example, one word may mean one thing in one Latin American country, but something off-color in another. It should also be kept in mind that much information is carried in non-verbal communication. In some cultures, we nod to signify “yes” and shake our heads to signify “no;” in other cultures, the practice is reversed. Within the context of language:
- There are often large variations in regional dialects of a given language. The differences between U.S., Australian, and British English are actually modest compared to differences between dialects of Spanish and German.
- Idioms involve “figures of speech” that may not be used, literally translated, in other languages. For example, baseball is a predominantly North and South American sport, so the notion of “in the ball park” makes sense here, but the term does not carry the same meaning in cultures where the sport is less popular.
- Neologisms involve terms that have come into language relatively recently as technology or society involved. With the proliferation of computer technology, for example, the idea of an “add-on” became widely known. It may take longer for such terms to “diffuse” into other regions of the world. In parts of the World where English is heavily studied in schools, the emphasis is often on grammar and traditional language rather than on current terminology, so neologisms have a wide potential not to be understood.
- Slang exists within most languages. Again, regional variations are common and not all people in a region where slang is used will necessarily understand this. There are often significant generation gaps in the use of slang.
Writing patterns, or the socially accepted ways of writing, will differs significantly between cultures.
Pricing Issues in International Marketing
Price can best be defined in ratio terms, giving the equation
resources given up
price = ———————————————
This implies that there are several ways that the price can be changed:
- “Sticker” price changes—the most obvious way to change the price is the price tag— you get the same thing, but for a different (usually larger) amount of money.
- Change quantity. Often, consumers respond unfavorably to an increased sticker price, and changes in quantity are sometimes noticed less—e.g., in the 1970s, the wholesale cost of chocolate increased dramatically, and candy manufacturers responded by making smaller candy bars. Note that, for cash flow reasons, consumers in less affluent countries may need to buy smaller packages at any one time (e.g., forking out the money for a large tube of toothpaste is no big deal for most American families, but it introduces a greater strain on the budget of a family closer to the subsistence level).
- Change quality. Another way candy manufacturers have effectively increased prices is through a reduction in quality. In a candy bar, the “gooey” stuff is much cheaper than chocolate. It is frequently tempting for foreign licensees of a major brand name to use inferior ingredients.
- Change terms. In the old days, most software manufacturers provided free support for their programs—it used to be possible to call the WordPerfect Corporation on an 800 number to get free help. Nowadays, you either have to call a 900 number or have a credit card handy to get help from many software makers. Another way to change terms is to do away with favorable financing terms.
Reference Prices. Consumers often develop internal reference prices, or expectations about what something should cost, based mostly on their experience. Most drivers with long commutes develop a good feeling of what gasoline should cost, and can tell a bargain or a ripoff.
Reference prices are more likely to be more precise for frequently purchased and highly visible products. Therefore, retailers very often promote soft drinks, since consumers tend to have a good idea of prices and these products are quite visible. The trick, then, is to be more expensive on products where price expectations are muddier.
Marketers often try to influence people’s price perceptions through the use of external reference prices—indicators given to the consumer as to how much something should cost. Examples include:
- Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP). This is often pure fiction. The suggested retail prices in certain categories are deliberately set so high that even full service retailers can sell at a “discount.” Thus, although the consumer may contrast the offering price against the MSRP, this latter figure is quite misleading.
- “SALE! Now $2.99; Regular Price $5.00.” For this strategy to be used legally in most countries, the claim must be true (consistency of enforcement in some countries is, of course, another matter). However, certain products are put on sale so frequently that the “regular” price is meaningless. In the early 1990s, Sears was reported to sell some 55% of its merchandise on sale.
- “WAS $10.00, now $6.99.”
- “Sold elsewhere for $150.00; our price: $99.99
CULTURE OF INTERNATIONAL MARKETING
Culture is part of the external influences that impact the consumer. That is, culture represents influences that are imposed on the consumer by other individuals.
The definition of culture offered one text is “That complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man person as a member of society.” From this definition, we make the following observations:
- Culture, as a “complex whole,” is a system of interdependent components.
- Knowledge and beliefs are important parts. In the U.S., we know and believe that a person who is skilled and works hard will get ahead. In other countries, it may be believed that differences in outcome result more from luck. “Chunking,” the name for China in Chinese, literally means “The Middle Kingdom.” The belief among ancient Chinese that they were in the center of the universe greatly influenced their thinking.
- Other issues are relevant. Art, for example, may be reflected in the rather arbitrary practice of wearing ties in some countries and wearing turbans in others. Morality may be exhibited in the view in the United States that one should not be naked in public. In Japan, on the other hand, groups of men and women may take steam baths together without perceived as improper. On the other extreme, women in some Arab countries are not even allowed to reveal their faces. Notice, by the way, that what at least some countries view as moral may in fact be highly immoral by the standards of another country.
Culture has several important characteristics:
(1) Culture is comprehensive. This means that all parts must fit together in some logical fashion. For example, bowing and a strong desire to avoid the loss of face are unified in their manifestation of the importance of respect.
(2) Culture is learned rather than being something we are born with. We will consider the mechanics of learning later in the course.
(3) Culture is manifested within boundaries of acceptable behavior. For example, in American society, one cannot show up to class naked, but wearing anything from a suit and tie to shorts and a T-shirt would usually be acceptable. Failure to behave within the prescribed norms may lead to sanctions, ranging from being hauled off by the police for indecent exposure to being laughed at by others for wearing a suit at the beach.
(4) Conscious awareness of cultural standards is limited. One American spy was intercepted by the Germans during World War II simply because of the way he held his knife and fork while eating.
(5) Cultures fall somewhere on a continuum between static and dynamic depending on how quickly they accept change. For example, American culture has changed a great deal since the 1950s, while the culture of Saudi Arabia has changed much less.
If the exporting departments are becoming successful but the costs of doing business from headquarters plus time differences, language barriers, and cultural ignorance are hindering the company’s competitiveness in the foreign market, then offices could be built in the foreign countries. Sometimes companies buy firms in the foreign countries to take advantage of relationships, storefronts, factories, and personnel already in place. These offices still report to headquarters in the home market but most of the marketing mix decisions are made in the individual countries since that staff is the most knowledgeable about the target markets. Local product development is based on the needs of local customers. These marketers are considered polycentric because they acknowledge that each market/country has different needs.