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Avoid Pitfalls in International Marketing Strategies

Background:

Globalization – this is the trend in the business world. Businesses
do not only want to operate in one single country market but want to take
advantage of the approach of cultures. In favor, regional economic integrations
– trading agreements between blocs of countries – make it easier to take the
first step of going international: export. (Source 1) However, many companies
make the mistake to not analyze the international target market thoroughly prior
to that step.

For example: cars. Even though Germany is the country of the
Autobahn without speed limits in some parts, one won’t find as many fast cars
as expected, or at least only a few cars that need more than 15 liters of gas per
100 kilometer. The reason is definitely not that the Germans don’t like those
cars, but that they don’t buy them because of very high gas prices (about 1.50
€/liter by 06/26/2011. (Source 2) Approximately US $2.11/liter). If for
example Chevrolet launched the same heavy duty pick-up truck models in the
German market as in the Canadian market, using the same communication strategy,
they would probably fail.

This video blog outlines the step-by-step procedure that a
business should follow to go international successfully.

Objectives:

You will learn:

  • - What questions to ask before entering a new international market.
  • - Which factors a business has to pay special
    attention to when creating an international marketing strategy.
  • - How a business should adapt the products and communications
    to the international market.

Discussion:

This video discusses the pitfalls of international marketing
campaigns and gives examples of companies and their international marketing
campaign mistakes. It also provides a step-by-step framework for the project.

Video link: Chris Halliburton – Pitfalls of International
Marketing Campaigns

è
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aP5jed6gQi0

Common mistakes:

  • -
    Going international just for the sake of going
    international. Many companies don’t analyze the target market and therefore don’t
    know the consumers. If they are too different from the home market consumers
    and the products are not suitable for them, the business should not be expanded
    to that market.
  • -
    Standardized products. Some companies use the “straight
    extension” strategy for their products. That means the business introduces
    products to the new market without any change. This can be a good approach in
    case the consumers are equal, not so much if consumers in different markets
    have different preferences.
  • -
    Names. Product names that are used globally can
    become a problem if they have different meanings in different languages.
  • -
    Slogans. Using the same slogan globally, both in
    English or translated word by word, can become a problem if the meaning changes
    in other languages or if customers don’t understand the meaning at all.

How to get it right:

Stage 1 – Analyzing the international target market.

  • -
    Are the customers similar enough to home market
    customers to demand the product?
  • -
    Who are the customers in the new market?
  • -
    How do those customers use the product?
  • -
    What is their attitude to the brand?

IF the customers are similar enough to group them together move
on to stage 2, if they are not drop the plans to enter this market.

Stage 2 – Deciding on the marketing plan.

  • -
    Straight extension: no change in product or marketing
    campaign.
  • -
    Product adaptation: same marketing campaign but varied product.
  • -
    Communication adaptation: same product but
    varied marketing campaign.
  • -
    Dual adaptation: changes in communications and
    product. (Source 1)

Stage 3 – Deciding on the marketing organization.

  • -
    All decisions made by head office – export department
    in the home country.
  • -
    International division. Operating units may be
    geographical organizations, world product groups, or international
    subsidiaries. (Source 1)

Summary:

Proper research is the foundation for the project “globalization”.
Too much standardization is not what customers want; they still like their
local products. That means the companies have to adapt their marketing program.
Furthermore, companies have to find a way to successfully manage international
processes internally with local teams. All that should be carried out with a
clear framework.

Additional Sources:

1 Kotler, P., Keller, K. L.. Marketing
Management. 12th Edition. Tapping into Global
Markets.667-690.

2 Gas
prices Germany. Retrieved from: http://benzinpreis.de/statistik.phtml?o=2

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