A company’s marketing plan has a standardized product but country specific advertising, or has a standardized theme in all countries with country or cultural specific appeals to unique market characteristics, or has a standardized brand or image but has adapted products to meet specific country needs and so on. In other words the marketing planning and marketing mix are approached from a global perspective, and where feasible in the marketing mix, efficiencies of standardization are sought. Wherever cultural uniqueness dictates the need for adaptation of the product, its image, and so on, it is accommodated. For example, McDonald’s standardizes its processes, logo in most of its advertising and store décor and layouts whenever and wherever possible. However, you will, wine on the menu in France and beer in Germany, a Filipino style spicy burger in Manila, and pork burgers in Thailand all to accommodate local tastes and customs. The point is, being is a mindset, a way of looking at the market for commonalities that can be standardized across regions or county market groups. And a global mindset can work alike for the largest companies and small companies that take aggressive toward learning.
As the competitive environment facing US business becomes more internationalized and it surely will — the most effective orientation for many forms engaged in marketing into another country will be a global orientation. This means operating as if all the country markets in a company’s scope of operations (including the domestic market) were approachable as a single global market and standardized the marketing mix where culturally feasible and cost effective. This does not, however, mean a slavish adherence to one strategic orientation. Depending on the product and market, other orientations may make more marketing sense. For example, Procter & Gamble may pursue a global strategy for disposable diapers but a multi-domestic strategy in Asian markets for detergents.
Most problems encountered by the foreign marketer result from the strangeness of the environment within which marketing programs must be implemented. Success hinges, in part, on the ability to assess and adjust properly to the impact of a strange environment. The successful international marketer possesses the best qualities of the anthropologists, sociologists, psychologist, diplomat, lawyer, prophet and businessperson.
In light of all the variables involved, with what should a text in foreign marketing be concerned? It is the opinion of the authors that a study of foreign marketing environments, people and cultures and their influences on the total marketing process is of primary concern and is the most effective approach to a meaningful presentation. Our views are supported by the most recent ranking of countries on their extent of globalization. Yes, the United States is near the top of the list and most of the “Global Top 20” are small countries. However, the key conclusion to be drawn from the graph is the dominance of “technological connectivity” for America. In particular, notice that as a country the United States is weakest on the “personal contact” dimension. Compared to folks in other countries, Americans generally do not experience foreign environments. This lack is the gap our book focuses on.
Consequently, the orientation of this text can best be described as an environmental / cultural approach to international strategic marketing. By no means is it intended to present principles of marketing; rather it is intended to ,demonstrate the unique problems of international ,marketing. It attempts to relate the foreign environment to the marketing process and to illustrate the many ways in which culture can influence the marketing task. Although marketing principles are universally applicable, the cultural environment within which the marketer must implement marketing plans can change dramatically from country to country. It is with the difficulties created by different environments that this text is primarily concerned.