The international marketer’s task is complicated than that of the domestic marketer because the international marketer must deal with at least two levels of uncontrollable uncertainty instead of one. Uncertainty is created by the uncontrollable elements of all business environments, but each foreign country in which a company operates adds its own unique set of uncomfortable factors.
International Marketing defined:
International marketing is the performance of business activities designed to plan, price, promote and direct the flow of a company’s goods and services to consumers or users in more than one nation for a profit. The only difference between the definitions of domestic marketing and international marketing is that in the latter case marketing activities take place in more than one country . This apparently minor difference, in more than one country, accounts for the complexity and diversity found in international marketing operations. Marketing concepts, processes, and principles are universally applicable, and the marketer’s task is the same whether doing business in Dimebox, Texas, or Dar-es- Salaam, Tanzania. Business’s goal is to make a profit by promoting, pricing and distributing products for which there is a market. If this is the case, what is the difference between domestic and international marketing?
The answer lies not with different concepts of marketing but with the environment within which marketing plans must be implemented. The uniqueness of foreign marketing comes from the range of unfamiliar problems and the verity of strategies necessary to cope with different levels of uncertainty encountered in foreign markets.
Competition legal restraints, government controls, weather, fickle consumers, and any number of other uncontrollable elements can, and frequently do affect the profitable out come of good, sound marketing plans. Generally speaking, the mar6ket cannot control or influence these controllable elements, but instead must adjust or adapt to them in a manner consistent with a successful outcome. What makes marketing interesting is the challenge of molding the controllable elements of marketing decisions (product, price, promotion, distribution, and research) within the framework of the uncontrollable elements of the market place (competition, politics, law, consumer behavior, level of technology and so forth) in such a way that marketing objectives are achieved. Even though marketing principles and concepts are universally applicable, the environment within which the marketer must implement plans can change dramatically from country to country or region to region. The difficulties created by different environments are the international marketer’s primary concern.
Foreign companies that entered the US market through exporting their products into the United States realized sufficient market share to justify building and buying manufacturing plants in the United States. Fuji Photo Film invested more than $ 300 million in a plant to service its 12 percent share of the US film market. Honda, BMW, and Mercedes are all manufacturing in the United States. Investments go the other way as well. Ford bought Jaguar, PacifiCorp acquired Energy Group, the United Kingdom’s largest electricity supplier and second largest gas distributor; and Wisconsin Central Transportation, a medium sized US railroad, contr6ols all UK rail freight business and runs the queen’s private train via its English, Welsh & Scottish Railway unit. It has also acquired the company that runs rail shuttles through the Channel Tunnel. Investments by US multinational abroad are nothing new. They have been roaming the World en masse since the end of World War II, buying companies and investing in manufacturing plants. What is relatively new for US companies is having their global competitors with them in their market, the United States. One of the more interesting new entrants is Chivas USA, a Mexican-owned soccer team that will play its matches in southern California.
Once the private domain of domestic businesses, the vast US market that provided an opportunity for continued growth must now be shared with a variety of foreign companies and products. Companies with only domestic markets have found increasing difficulty in sustaining customary rates of growth, and many are seeking foreign markets in which to expand. Companies with foreign operations find that foreign earnings are making an important overall contribution to total corporate pro-fits. A four year Conference Board study of 1,250 US manufacturing companies found that multinationals of all sizes and in all industries outperformed their strictly domestic US counterparts. They grew twice as fast in sales and earned significantly higher returns on equity and assets. Further, the US multinationals reduced their manufacturing employment, both at home and abroad, more than domestic companies.