International marketing is simply the application of marketing principles to more than one country. A great number of economists assures that international marketing is an on-going historical process, this process leads to the increasing integration of the production of goods, services, ideas, culture, communication and environmental pollution on a world-wide scale, imparting locality of populations and labor.
Importance of International Marketing
A firm’s international marketing program must generally be modified and adapted to foreign markets. This international marketing program uses strategies to accomplish its marketing goals. Within each foreign nation, the firm is likely to find a combination of marketing environment and target markets that are different from those of its own home country and other foreign countries. It is important that in international marketing, product, pricing, distribution and promotional strategies be adapted accordingly. In order for an international firm to function properly, cultural, social, economic, and legal forces within the country must be clearly understood.
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The task of International marketing is more difficult and risky than expected by many firms. One of the most controlling factors of international marketing is management. It is very important for managers to recognize the differences as well as similarities in buyer behavior. Many mistakes can occur if managers fail to realize that buyers differ from country to country. It is the international differences in buyer behavior, rather than similarities, which cause problems in successful international marketing.
Who is responsible?
An international marketing manager is a manager responsible for facilitating the exchange of products between the organization and its customers or clients. Sometimes an international marketing manager will find difficulties in completing the exchange of products. Many surprises in international business are undesirable human mistakes. An international corporation must fully understand the foreign environment before pursuing business matters. To be effective in a foreign market it is necessary to understand the local customs. Knowing what to do in a foreign country is as important as knowing what not to do. Failure to understand local customs can lead to serious misunderstandings between business people.
It is very important to be able to interpret the different means of communication in international marketing. It is almost impossible to attain complete knowledge and understanding of a foreign culture. As established, culture plays an important role in the drama of international marketing. Of all the cultural aspects, communication may be the most critical. It is certain that communication has been involved in a number of cultural confusion. Good communication linkages must be set between a company and its customers, suppliers, its employees, and the governments of the countries where it performs business activities.
Issues with International Marketing Communications
Poor communication can obviously cause various difficulties. One source of difficulty among starting companies is that of effective communication with potential buyers. The problem is that there are many possible communication barriers. Sometimes messages can be translated incorrectly, regulations overlooked, and economic differences can be ignored. Other times when the message does arrive, its ineffectiveness can cause it to be of no value. Every now and then a buyer will receive the message, but to the companies disappointment, the message was sent incorrect. It is normal in multinational businesses to send and receive messages on a regular basis. Many well-known people have incapacitated public speech introductions by using inaccurate titles and names. Not all communication problems are verbal. Some serious problems have occurred as a result of non-verbal communication. Non-verbal communication exists in numerous forms. Sometimes a person’s appearance can convey a stronger message than intended.
The perception of the product characteristics plays an important role in the international marketing strategy. One must realize that the importances of a certain product traits vary from country to country. Multinational corporations, therefore, must consider varying promotional tactics. Adapting the product but using the same promotional mix is a strategy used when a product will not appeal to different local tastes.
This international marketing channel is sequence of marketing organizations from nation to nation that directs the flow of products. Most industrial products use shorter channels. One of the most basic levels of international marketing is licensing. A license is a contractual agreement in which one firm permits another to produce and market its product and use its brand name in return for a royalty or other compensation. This grant may be in the form of a direct sale of rights or be limited to a certain period of time. International licensing can be tied to joint ventures between the parent and the subsidiary.
International marketers tend to concentrate on higher income countries as either personal, disposable, or discretionary. For obvious reasons, marketers tend to concentrate on higher income countries. Some producers have found that their products are more likely to sell in countries with low income. As in domestic marketing, the determining factor is how well the product satisfies its target market. International marketing encompasses all business activities that involve exchanges across national boundaries. A firm may enter the international market for many reasons. Whatever the reason international marketing can provide and efficient way of entering the market. A firm’s marketing program must be adapted to foreign markets to account for differences in the business environment and target markets form nation to nation. The marketing mix may require the modification of cultural, social, economic, and legal differences. Foreign marketing requires the understanding of various additional costs, which tend to increase the prices of exported goods. The marketing program of an international company must adapt to the necessities of a foreign market. The strategies it uses to accomplish a firm’s marketing goal should be the main priority of the marketing program.
Communication involves the skilful use of all the capacities of language organized into a system of tools, techniques and transmission devices. For example, if the idea of advertising is to create in the customer’s mind utility and value, this means that the marketer has to position the product in a way that makes it desirable to the customer, enabling transference of a basic need into a want. International integrated communication involves the formulation of vision that results in a strategy and implementation of an integrated communications plan in more than one country in various parts of the world, as opposed to the entire world, which would then make it global.
Problems with International Marketing Communications
Both the international marketing and marketing communications literature deal with this by adding some international elements to the basic process. The task that the sender has is to use socio-cultural cues and symbols familiar to the receiver and to select media that are socio-culturally and legally appropriate (if available). The increased difficulties are underscored by the idea of both the sender’s and the receiver’s ‘realm of understanding’ and ‘field of experience. Clearly factors affecting communication in the international context are such things as language for example brand names perception for example colour, values and beliefs for example veneration of the elderly or local advertising regulations for example comparative advertising.
The complexity of the situation is clear to see. The difficulties of getting the message across the sender-receiver can be difficult These difficulties are exacerbated in the international setting.
Marketing communications in international markets needs to be conducted with care, some of the factors that need to be considered in relation to international marketing communications (Promotion) are:
The work ethic of employees and customers to be targeted by media.
Levels of literacy and the availability of education for the national population.
The similarity or diversity of beliefs, religion, morality and values in the target nation.
The family and the roles of those within it are factors to take into account.
International marketing is much more than just translating your advertising campaign. Successful global brands communicate by understanding and adapting to local markets.
One of the issues discussed in International marketing communication helps in uncovering how to reformulate products for local palates for instance HJ Heinz’s wanted to market its oat based baby food in china. Research showed that the Chinese were not familiar with oats and hence it introduced methods of international marketing communications.
Globalization in the sense of firms from all over the world interacting and dealing with each other is expected to be the normal state of affairs for the majority of businesses. In the industrial or business-to business sector, this pattern may be even more pronounced because advanced communications and transportation technologies have the potential for enabling the laws of comparative advantage to be realized to a very high degree. Thus, businesses that were used to dealing with other businesses from all over the country will now seek relationships from all over the world. Internet-based B2B E-commerce, has, of course, been at the vanguard of the expected revolution in the way global business will be conducted in the future and has led to uncounted predictions of a worldwide e-business revolution where virtually all industrial firms will be linked together in a gigantic electronic global network . Yet, this scenario seems a bit too simplistic. All of the hype about global B2B E-commerce, networks, hubs, electronic auctions, etc., implies that the only thing standing in the way of electronically linked businesses on a global scale is the right technological hardware and software that, once put in place, will have global businesses operating with the precision and reliability of a Swiss watch. After all, this technocentric view suggests that the only difference between operating around the block or around the world is geographical distance. Therefore, it is just a matter of having the right satellites, telecommunications networks, and supply chains in place to solve this problem of distance.
In an era of relatively instantaneous contact between organizations across the seemingly shrinking globe, why should one consider cultural distance at all? Simply because culture affects virtually all of human behavior. For example, culture has been defined as ”the software of the mind”.Hofstede’s extensive research on culture has helped conceptualize one of the most popular theories of
cultural types, as evidenced by well over 1000 citations from Cultural Consequences reported in the Social Science Citation since 1980. His approach to culture initially identified four underlying value dimensions: (1) individualism
vs. collectivism, (2) large vs. small power distance, (3) strong vs. weak uncertainty avoidance, and (4) masculinity vs. femininity (a fifth dimension, long- vs. short-term orientation was added later).
The role of marketing communications in international marketing strategy has never been greater than in the emerging global competitive environment. A connecting fact in the literature is the understanding that the various elements of the communications and it shouldn’t be isolated if they are to be utilized optimally and successfully these must be taken as part of a total concept for optimal results.
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Cultural issues may be even more prominent than they are for tangible goods. There are large variations in willingness to pay for quality, and often very large differences in expectations. In some countries, it may be more difficult to entice employees to embrace a firm’s customer service philosophy. Labor regulations in some countries make it difficult to terminate employees whose treatment of customers is substandard. Speed of service is typically important in the U.S. and western countries but personal interaction may seem more important in other countries.
A very complex and controversial issue is that of ethics. The varying norms and social values, many a time make the international business environment very intricate and perplexing. The term business ethics refers to the system of moral principles and rules of conduct applied to business.
That there should be business ethics means the business should be conducted according to certain self recognized moral standards. There is, however, no unanimity of opinion regarding what constitutes business ethics. An international marketer often finds that the norms of ethics vary from country to country. What is ethically wrong or condemned in one nation may not be in another.
Another issue is whether it is ethical to sell products are banned in some countries because of their harmful effects in other countries (often in developing countries). One issue is that if the government of a country permits the marketing of such a product, should a company give up the sales of the product on its own. If the harmful effects of a product outweigh the benefits, a company with sound ethics will not do business in that product even if there is no legal objection.
With the increasing globalization of the business world, international segmentation becomes an ever more important concept in marketing. The globalization forces now at work push many companies to extend or reorganize their marketing strategies across borders and target international segments of consumers.
Business in the age of globalization has both facilitated and necessitated a move towards the internationalization of organizations of all sizes (Wood & Robertson, 2000). However, while globalization is indisputably occurring in a variety of shapes throughout the world, there is as yet a considerable gap in the literature regarding the internationalization of businesses. Consequently, organizations engaging in international business frequently find themselves utterly unprepared for the environments they are entering and unaware of the potential risks involved in the internationalization move.
This lack of preparation is already evident in the criteria applied to discriminate international markets against one another in order to select suitable countries for market entry. Often, countries for international business activity are chosen according to “soft” factors, i.e. factors such as proximity or personal preference, rather than “hard” factors such as market size, growth rate or accessibility
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