Tuesday, December 14, 2010


When launching a product in a market  do you standardise or adapt your marketing mix to the market? A company can adopt to use a standardised marketing mix around the world or an adapted marketing mix in each country.

Standardisation Vs Adaption

So what should an organisation do? Adapt or sell a standardised product? Basic marketing concepts tell us that we will sell more of a product if we aim to meet the needs of our target market. In any markets ,we have to take into consideration consumers cultural background, buying habits, levels of personal disposable income etc in order to deliver a tailored marketing mix program to suit their needs.

The arguments however for standardisation suggest that if you go through the process of adapting the product to local markets it does little but add to the overall cost of producing the product and weakens the brand on the global scale. In today’s global world, where consumers travel more, watch satellite television, communicate and shop internationally over the internet, the world now is becoming a lot smaller. Because of this there is no need to adapt products to local markets. Brands such as Coca-Cola, MTV, Nike, Levis are all successful global brands where they have a standardised approach to their marketing mix, all these products are targeted at similar groups globally.

In many circumstances a company will have to adapt their product and marketing mix strategy to meet local needs and wants that cannot be changed. Mcdonald is a global player however, their burgers are adapted to local needs. In India where a cow is a sacred animal their burgers are served with chicken or fish. In Mexico burgers come with chilli sauce. Coca-cola is some parts of the world taste sweeter then in others. Yes we can argue that standardisation is better for the organisation because it reduces cost, however many organisations will have to ‘think global, but act local’ if they are to successfully establish them selves in foreign markets.

As with international product decisions an organisation can either adapt or standardise their promotional strategy and message. Advertising messages in countries may well have to be adapted because of language barriers or the current message used in the national market may be offensive to overseas residents.
The use of certain colours may also need to be thought about. In India red is the colour worn by the bride in weddings, white is the colour for mourning in Japan. The level of media development has to also be taken into account. Is commercial television well established in your host country? What is the level of television penetration? How much control does the government have over advertising on TV and radio? Is print media more popular then TV? Many organisation go for a strategy of adapting advertising messages to local markets to best meet consumer demand.

Global  Pricing Strategies

Pricing on an international scale is difficult. As well as taking into account traditional price considerations (see marketing mix pricing) i.e.:

Fixed and variable costs,


Company objectives ,

Proposed positioning strategies,

Target group and willingness to pay,

the organisation needs to consider the costs of transport, any tariffs or import duties that may be levied on their product(s) when they are sold on the international scale. Also what currency do you expect to be paid in? Will it be home or international currency? Exchange rate fluctuation will also impact profitability and influence pricing decisions.

Other factors to consider include local incomes, what are income and PDI levels. What is the general economic situation of the country and how will this influence pricing?

The internet is now making pricing more transparent for consumers. Goods can be purchased online from any overseas organisations at local currency prices, a prime examples is dvd’s which are purchased from sites like www.dvdsoon.com which deliver internationally.

International Distribution Strategies

A standard distribution channel in the UK may go from a Manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer to consumer or direct from a manufacturer to a retailer. In an overseas market there may well be more intermediaries involved. For example in Japan there are approximately five different types of wholesaler a product goes through before the product reaches the final consumer. In your international market , is it dominated by major retailers or is the retail sector made up of small independent retailers? Is internet distribution common for your product.

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