Businesses are increasingly going global as new marketing strategies shape within the global landscape. A clear demarcation is therefore necessary in order for such companies to define the marketing models they intend to take. This paper looks in to the various strategies used by companies in marketing of their products globally. The paper reveals that most companies employ a combination of strategies in order to build strong markets rather than adopting single approaches that would probably only fit a single product line for a company that engages in various product lines.
Success of a company is dependent on how well its marketing department makes its products/services known to the potential consumers (Kotabe & Helsen, 2004). This may be done either within the domicile country, between two countries, regional, or even globally (Philip & Ronald, 2003). As the name suggest global marketing takes place when a company markets its products/services at the global stage (Collis, 1998). Marketing involves relationship establishment with possible clients through carefully planning, plan execution and efficient distribution of goods to consumer in a way that satisfies them.( Theodore, 1983) Alternatively market may be defined as creation and keeping of clients through differentiation of products and competition in pricing (Kotabe & Helsen, 2004). Toyota, General Motors, and Volkswagen rank amongst companies that have successfully marketed themselves globally (Radebaugh & Sullivan, 2004). However, these companies did not achieve this overnight. Most begun as small entities within their own countries and gradually expanded its client base to regional and eventually global. Modern day companies however have the privilege of technology. For instance, it comes as no surprise if a small company in Britain markets itself to a client in South Africa by a simple button click through the internet.
Successful global marketing is however; based on custom steps including exportation at the initial stages, contract manufacturing, licensing, joint venturing into fully owned subsidiaries operating globally (Radebaugh & Sullivan, 2004). The stages define a typical entry mode into international markets access. Often global expansion stems from a number of factors, namely: market diversification, following customers oversees, geographical diversification, exploitation of varying economic growth rates, exploration of differing product life cycles, pursuance of global potential, defensive purposes, and search for new markets in order to increase profits ((Theodore, 1983)). However, global marketing goes beyond simple exportation of goods globally, the success of its implementation often depends on how rational the strategic decision made by the management team (Subhash, 2006). Such ventures are often plagued with obstacles including customs paper work, shipping expenses, and language barriers among others.
Wholesome global marketing is often employed when global integration forces far outweigh national responsive forces (Collis, 1998). The electronics market offers a good example of wholesome global marketing. However, when national responsive forces outweigh forces that favor global integration, multinational approach is often favored whereby the world is handled, as a portfolio comprised of national opportunities (Radebaugh & Sullivan, 2004). In some instances though, core elements are standardized while other elements are localized to suit national adaptation requirements. Companies that adopt this approach are often referred to as global companies (Kravis et al., 1975). Global marketing by companies is based on a number of strategies. The strategies include Integrated Global Marketing Strategy, Global Product Category Strategy, Global Segment Strategy, Global Marketing Mix Element Strategies, Global Product Strategy, Global Branding Strategies, Global Advertising Strategy, Composite Global Marketing Strategy, and Competitive Global Marketing Strategies (Theodore, 1983).
Marketing Strategies Employed by Companies
As earlier mentioned, companies that opt to go global apply a number of strategies to market themselves. The majorly use strategies are discussed below.
Integrated global market involves a company’s globalization of most or all of its marketing strategies (Kotabe & Helsen, 2004).all marketing elements of markets that the company engages in is globalized including branding as well as product description.. This strategy is recommended for companies with fully globalized clients along the lines (Young, 2005). It is based on the assumption that the company in question has similar working conditions globally thereby allowing it to use similar paths in unfolding its strategy from one nation to another (Collis, 1998). This model remains exceptionally limited to a few select companies globally. Coca cola offers the best case-example of such a company. It exhibits a mature, coherent, and consistent integrated marketing strategy covering most of its marketing program elements market segmentation, positioning, product branding, bottling, distribution, and advertisements (Theodore, 1983). Other partially globalized marketing strategies however offer alternatives to the many companies that are unable to cope with this strategy. Each is often tailored for specific industry and circumstances that define competition in an area/region.
Global Product Category Strategy involves acquisition of leverage by same category competition nation after nation and often comes in terms of cost of development or technology of a product (Young, 2005). The selected product category implies the company sticking to the chosen category and target the different segments within it, while advertising and branding based on the requirements of the local market (Theodore, 1983). The strategy has found more appeal with international consumer good companies including Nestle, Proctor & Gamble, and Unilever. Global Segment Strategy involves a company targeting the same segment in various countries (Collis, 1998). Usually the company bases such decisions on its customer base experience globally.
In global marketing mix strategy, globalization is pursued based on the market mix elements, which include location, pricing, and products among others. Companies customize their respective marketing strategies based on this partial strategy for globalization (Kotabe & Helsen, 2004). Various strategies are employed in it including global product strategies, global branding strategies and global advertising strategies (Gertner, 2001). Organization globalizes the respect system with respect to the challenge presented e.g. communication logic problem is accompanied with a change in information logic.
In global product strategy, a company’s product offer is largely globalized (Kotabe & Helsen, 2004). Though such a product may not be fully standardized, its key aspects may be globalized in actual sense (Kravis et al., 1975). To limit the number of required variations, the user conditions of a product, expected product features and its functional requirements are kept maximally identical (Kotabe & Helsen, 2004).
Global branding strategies involve use of the same brand/logo globally. They leverage creation of such brand names across diverse markets by the fact that launching new brands across various markets may prove tedious and investment consuming (Kravis et al., 1975). This strategy is usually applicable for clients who travel across borders hence exposed to cross boarder advertisement (Collis, 1998). For instance, industrial marketing clients read journals and articles from various countries relating to industrial activities. This strategy is also increasingly being used for consumer products with cross boarder advertisements being made on international TV channels. In some western markets, consumers were exposed to brands for as early as the 1990’s. Company’s practicing branding capitalizes on such opportunities and utilize such exiting goodwill to their advantage. Other companies pursuing this strategy include those marketing luxury products globally.
Global advertising strategy involve the use of the same brand arcoss all parts of world. However, for historic purposes a corporation may opt to use different (Kotabe & Helsen, 2004). Acquisitions in foreign countries also make the same company to have different brands (Leroy, 2004). Due to market already built by these acquisitions, a company may opt not to change the existing brand. A company may therefore opt to develop an advertising theme instead of brand change. Themes for global advertisement are applicable where the benefits, the company is seeking are uniform globally. Often it is used where similar purchasing reasons have been determined.
Composite mixture involves incorporation of various strategies at the same time by a given firm (Theodore, 1983). Though the discussion of the strategies above attempt to insinuate that companies utilize single models, this is not the case in reality. Very few companies employ a single model in its marketing endeavor. Most companies bring together a number of global generic strategies which are operated side by side. For instance, one part of a company may be based on global brand strategy while at the same instance manage local brands in various locations.
An interesting phenomenon has merged in the recent past where firms engage in global marketing duels across the world or a duel pitting a globally operating company against a local company (Kotabe & Helsen, 2004). Such situations are synonymous with the modern day markets. The most significant being the global dominance competition between Pepsi Co. and Coca Cola, which are the third largest and the largest soft drink providers respectively (Theodore, 1983). Often global companies may opt to forefeet one market for anther during heated competition. Although these companies have vast resources, several successful entry into markets often renders them inflexible and insist on maintain standard approaches even when circumstances call for flexibility. Global firms often face strong competition from local companies that carefully watch and learn from the initiatives they employ in other nations (Keegan & Green, 2002). Most multinational companies often require increased length f time prior to introduction of their product into a new market. The local companies can always rely on this time to build milestone and strong market pool in order to counter possible effect of the multinationals entry.
Foreign market entry points
As earlier mentioned, companies have various entry points in which they infiltrate global markets. These include exportation where the target market is relatively small to warrant local production. Exportation may either be direct or in direct. Indirect exportation is also employed where foreign agents and distributors are identified through which the company channels its product (Theodore, 1983). Direct exportation on the other hand involves setting up of export departments within the firm’s sales team to sell directly to sell directly to oversee clients. Some companies may opt to make strong their presence within the maker they intend to enter and engage in foreign production. Licensing, which is similar in nature to contractual manufacturing is also employed by companies in entering foreign markets (Theodore, 1983). It involves brand access offers and patents associated with the manufactured products. Franchising is also used by companies to explore foreign markets also commonly undertake franchising (Leroy, 2004). It is similar to licensing though specialized in that a marketing plan is availed and completed by the franchiser. The program includes the name of the brand, the operating logo, product description and the mode to be used in operation. These are just but a few entry techniques used by companies to infiltrate new markets. Others include Joint Ventures, strategic alliances as well as mergers and acquisitions.
In conclusion, it is important to reiterate that the strategies discussed indicate that most companies adopt a number of strategies in order to effectively engage in global marketing. This helps the companies ensure that marketing of their products yields maximum possible results. Through use of different strategies, each product is handled independently and subjected to a marketing criterion that best suits it. In general, it may be conclude that the strategy employed is largely dependent on the perceived benefits it is expected to yield. Additionally, the intended entry method determines the method that could possibly yield the desired results
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