Global Marketing Strategies

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Two opposite viewpoints for developing global marketing strategy are commonly expounded. According to one school of thought, marketing is an inherently local problem. Due to cultural and other differences among countries, marketing programs should be tailor-made for each country. The opposing view treats marketing as know-how that can be transferred from country to country. It has been argued that the worldwide marketplace has become so homogenized that multinational corporations can market standardized products and services all over the world with identical strategies, thus lowering their costs and earning higher margins.

Localized Strategy The proponents of localized marketing strategies support their viewpoint based on four differences across countries:19 (a) buyer behavior characteristics, (b) socioeconomic condition, (c) marketing infrastructure, and (d) competitive environment. A review of the marketing literature shows how companies often experience difficulties in foreign markets because they did not fully understand differences in buyer behavior. For example, Campbell's canned soups mostly vegetable and beef combinations packed in extra-large cans did not catch on in soup-loving Brazil. A postmortem study showed that most Brazilian housewives felt they were not fulfilling their roles if they served soup that they could not call their own. Brazilian housewives had no problems using dehydrated competitive products, such as Knorr and Maggi, which they could use as soup starters and still add their own ingredients and flair. Also, Johnson & Johnson's baby powder did not sell well in Japan until its original package was changed to a flat box with a powder puff. Japanese mothers feared that powder would fly around their smal...

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...xporter to build stable foreign markets through a better alignment of product with market needs and/or cultural preferences. Swiss-based pharmaceutical maker Ciba-Geigy's efforts in adapting its products to local conditions are noteworthy. Basic to the company's adaptation program are quality circles. These circles include local executives with line responsibilities for packaging, labeling, advertising, and manufacturing. They are responsible for determining (a) if Ciba-Geigy's products are appropriate for the cultures in which they are sold and meet users' needs, (b) if products are promoted in such a way that they can be used correctly for purposes intended, and (c) if, when used properly, products present no unresponsible hazards to human health and safety.

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