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Evolution to global marketing
Global marketing is not a revolutionary shift, it is an evolutionary process. While the following does not apply to all companies, it does apply to most companies that begin as domestic-only companies.
A marketing restricted to the political boundaries of a country, is called "Domestic Marketing". A company marketing only within its national boundaries only has to consider domestic competition. Even if that competition includes companies from foreign markets, it still only has to focus on the competition that exists in its home market. Products and services are developed for customers in the home market without thought of how the product or service could be used in other markets. All marketing decisions are made at headquarters.
The biggest obstacle these marketers face is being blindsided by emerging global marketers. Because domestic marketers do not generally focus on the changes in the global marketplace, they may not be aware of a potential competitor who is a market leader on three continents until they simultaneously open 20 stores in the Northeastern U.S. These marketers can be considered ethnocentric as they are most concerned with how they are perceived in their home country. :)
Generally, companies began exporting, reluctantly, to the occasional foreign customer who sought them out. At the beginning of this stage, filling these orders was considered a burden, not an opportunity.
If the exporting departments are becoming successful but the costs of doing business from headquarters plus time differences, language barriers, and cultural ignorance are hindering the company’s competitiveness in the foreign market, then offices could be built in the foreign countries. Sometimes companies buy firms in the foreign countries to take advantage of relationships, storefronts, factories, and personnel already in place. These offices still report to headquarters in the home market but most of the marketing mix decisions are made in the individual countries since that staff is the most knowledgeable about the target markets. Local product development is based on the needs of local customers. These marketers are considered polycentric because they acknowledge that each market/country has different needs.
At the multi-national stage, the company is marketing its products and services in many countries around the world and wants to benefit from economies of scale. Consolidation of research, development, production, and marketing on a regional level is the next step. An example of a region is Western Europe with the US. But, at the multi-national stage, consolidation, and thus product planning, does not take place across regions; a regiocentric approach.
When a company becomes a global marketer, it views the world as one market and creates products that will only require weeks to fit into any regional marketplace. Marketing decisions are made by consulting with marketers in all the countries that will be affected. The goal is to sell the same thing the same way everywhere.
Elements of the global marketing mix
The “Four P’s” of marketing: product, price, placement, and promotion are all affected as a company moves through the five evolutionary phases to become a global company. Ultimately, at the global marketing level, a company trying to speak with one voice is faced with many challenges when creating a worldwide marketing plan. Unless a company holds the same position against its competition in all markets (market leader, low cost, etc.) it is impossible to launch identical marketing plans worldwide.
A global company is one that can create a single product and only have to tweak elements for different markets. For example, Coca-Cola uses two formulas (one with sugar, one with corn syrup) for all markets. The product packaging in every country incorporates the contour bottle design and the dynamic ribbon in some way, shape, or form. However, the bottle or can also includes the country’s native language and is the same size as other beverage bottles or cans in that country.
Price will always vary from market to market. Price is affected by many variables: cost of product development (produced locally or imported), cost of ingredients, cost of delivery (transportation, tariffs, etc.), and much more. Additionally, the product’s position in relation to the competition influences the ultimate profit margin. Whether this product is considered the high-end, expensive choice, the economical, low-cost choice, or something in-between helps determine the price point.
How the product is distributed is also a country-by-country decision influenced by how the competition is being offered to the target market. Using Coca-Cola as an example again, not all cultures use vending machines. In the United States, beverages are sold by the pallet via warehouse stores. In India, this is not an option. Placement decisions must also consider the product’s position in the market place. For example, a high-end product would not want to be distributed via a “dollar store” in the United States. Conversely, a product promoted as the low-cost option in France would find limited success in a pricey boutique.
After product research, development and creation, promotion (specifically advertising) is generally the largest line item in a global company’s marketing budget. At this stage of a company’s development, integrated marketing is the goal. The global corporation seeks to reduce costs, minimize redundancies in personnel and work, maximize speed of implementation, and to speak with one voice. If the goal of a global company is to send the same message worldwide, then delivering that message in a relevant, engaging, and cost-effective way is the challenge.
Effective global advertising techniques do exist. The key is testing advertising ideas using a marketing research system proven to provide results that can be compared across countries. The ability to identify which elements or moments of an ad are contributing to that success is how economies of scale are maximized. Market research measures such as Flow of Attention, Flow of Emotion and branding moments provide insights into what is working in an ad in any country because the measures are based on visual, not verbal, elements of the ad.
Global marketing Advantages and Disadvantages
- Economies of scale in production and distribution
- Lower marketing costs
- Power and scope
- Consistency in brand image
- Ability to leverage good ideas quickly and efficiently
- Uniformity of marketing practices
- Helps to establish relationships outside of the "political arena"
- Helps to encourage ancillary industries to be set up to cater for
the needs of the global player
- Differences in consumer needs, wants, and usage patterns for products
- Differences in consumer response to marketing mix elements
- Differences in brand and product development and the competitive environment
- Differences in the legal environment, some of which may conflict with those of the home market
- Differences in the institutions available, some of which may call for the creation of entirely new ones (e.g. infrastructure)
- Differences in administrative procedures
- Differences in product placement.
- gmnhome.com Global Marketing Network is the worldwide membership association for marketing and business professionals committed to raising standards in global marketing practice
- wfanet.org World Federation of Advertisers
- aef.com several presentations on Global Advertising given by advertising practitioners