Decision areas for the international marketer

The outline presented below is suggested for use by the international marketer in conducting cultural analysis.

Elements of Consumer Behaving analysis in a Cross Cultural Setting:

1) Determine underlying values and their rate of change within the relevant market. What values are generally held strongly within the general market and the intended market segment? What is the rate and direction of value changes taking place within the relevant culture?
2) Evaluate the product concept as it relates to this culture: Is this product concept on that harmonizes with current and evolving values? It there are value conflicts with ownership of this product, can the product be changed to fit these values? How can the product be effectively identified with positive values? What needs does this product satisfy for members of the culture? Are these needs important? How are competitive products and brands currently satisfying these needs?
3) Determine characteristic purchase decision making patterns; how do consumers make decisions on these products? Which family members are involved in purchase decision making and use of this product? What role does each member typically play in the process? What purchase criteria and sources of information do consumers use in making buying decisions of this product? What is the cultural attitude toward acceptance of innovations? What cultural values might be congruent with or conflict with purchase and use of this product?
4) Determine appropriate promotion methods: What means of communication exist for advertising to consumers? How is advertising perceived among those in the culture? Must different languages be used to reach various cultural groups? What are the most relevant appeals for this product among the culture? What taboos (such as words, themes colors, or pictures) exist which may impinge on our sales or advertising strategy? What is the role of the salesperson in this culture?
5) Determine appropriate distribution channels: What are he characteristic distribution channels for this product? Are capable institutions available for handling this product? Might new channel opportunities exist which would be readily accepted by consumers? What is the nature of the shopping process for this product?
6) Determine appropriate pricing approaches: Are consumers aware of prices in the product category? Are they sensitive to differences in prices between brands? How important is price in consumers’ purchasing decisions?

It should also be noted that this outlined is perhaps a framework to the domestic marketer as to the international marketer.

Gaining a better understanding of the host culture is made difficult however by problems confronting consumer research broad. Researchers in underdeveloped foreign markets encounter numerous difficulties in obtaining satisfactory consumer interviews because of a mistrust of strangers asking questions. Moreover, certain subjects may be taboo and thus are not to be discussed, especially with strangers. In a number of countries even the subject of consumption habits is considered inappropriate. In such an environment it is clear that the marketer will have difficult time piecing together information on which to base the company’s strategies. One of the most effective research approaches, particularly in developing economies here lower education levels hinder people form understanding survey questions, is simply to observe behavior in order to assess what influences people’s purchasing decisions. Although this approach can be tricky because it takes a trained observer – usually an anthropologists – it can help companies lean how to market more effectively in different parts of the globe ,as well as improve understanding of age and ethnic groups in their home markets. The research method is called ethnology, and it involves studying through observation how customs motivate consumers to sue and buy products differently in different cultures. The approach can be expensive because of its high labor intensity. However, its insights are often very meaningful and actionable. This technique helped Colgate-Palmolive Co. create a profitable new product category in Latin America. By watching Venezuelan women wash their clothes the company leaned that instead of detergent women used slivers of bar soap mashed together to form a paste as a result, Colgate developed Axion soap paste, which is sold in plastic bowl, and is the leading laundry cleaner in many of the ten countries where it is marketed.