Unified or Diversified Advertising Strategy

There is a great deal of controversy regarding the advantages and disadvantages of a unified advertising strategy. It is sometimes argued that within certain geographical areas, not necessarily political national boundaries, the customs, culture and demand structures are increasingly becoming uniform due to extensive information flow and increased international travel. Within such a setting it becomes, therefore logical and economic to follow a unified advertising policy. For example, the ladies of London, Oslo, Stockholm, Berlin, Paris, Rome and Madrid wear exactly same type of shoes, often manufactured by the same maker or designed by the same designer. Is there any reason why these shoes, produced for an international market, should be presented to an international public though nationally designed advertising that varies from country to country.

On the other hand there can be no doubt that across countries the people may speak different languages, may have different religious and traditions, and are subject to divergent physical and climatic conditions. To motivate in such situations will definitely require a proper adaptation of the advertising strategy to such diverse elements.

The truth regarding the unified advertising strategy most possibly lies somewhere within these two polar opinions. Here are certain geographies areas where the consumers’ motivation matrix and buying habits are more or less similar as in Western Europe, in North America or in some parts of the Middle East. Similarly, there are a range of products which are essentially utilitarian and sold essentially on the basis of product attributes. For such items in such markets, a unified advertising policy is feasible.

Miracle has identified the criteria which help in determining whether a unified or diversified strategy should be followed. The most important criteria are:

1. Type of Product: When there are certain universal selling points for some products, for example razor blades, electric irons, automobile tires, ball point pens, products are sold primarily on the basis of objective physical characteristics. These objective characteristics are likely to be considered by consumers to be identical, regardless of market differences suggesting that the same appeals will be effective in all markets.
2. The Homogeneity or Heterogeneity of markets: When characteristics such as income, education and occupation are alike, individual consumer characteristics such as needs attitudes and customs may also be alike thus suggesting that the advertisers use the same selling points.

Analyzing the same problem from a slightly different standpoint viz whether it is possible to transfer the domestic advertisement to foreign markets, whether such transfer is possible or not depends on essentially three factors: namely, marketing or economic cultural or psychological and media. If these factors are more or less identical, the transferability is possible. On the basis of some controlled experiments, in which variations of some American advertisements were tested in France and the Middle East, it was found the degree of transferability was more than has generally supposed.

It may not be out of place to refer to he advantages of advertising in well known international supposed.

1. Audited circulation and audience data;
2. Quality reproduction of advertisements that research an influential audience ;and
3. Lending of the magazine’s prestige to companies and products advertised.
As regards industrial products, it may be mentioned that the industrial market is much more homogenous internationally that the consumer market. Therefore, industrial marketers are generally more able to implement international campaigns than are their consumer counterparts.

Management Rules for international Advertising:

Whether the advertising is uniform or localized there are some elements which have to be followed in order to make advertising a success. In a recent paper, these have been identified, most important of which are:

1. Know your markets
2. Travel in your Foreign markets
3. Use a Network Agency
4. Use Long Planning lead Times