Introduction to global marketing

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Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders. A company that engages in global marketing focuses resources on global market opportunities and threats. Successful global marketers such as Nestle, Coca-Cola, and Honda use familiar marketing mix elements – the four Ps – to create global marketing programs.

Marketing, R&D, manufacturing, and other activities comprise a firm’s value chain; The value equation (V =B/P) expresses the relationship between values and the marketing mix.

Global companies also maintain strategic focus while pursuing competitive advantage. The marketing mix, value chain, competitive advantage, and focus are universal in their applicability, irrespective of whether a company does business only in the home country or has a presence in many markets around the world. However, in a global industry, companies that fail to pursue global opportunities risk being pushed aside by stronger global competitors.

A firm’s global marketing strategy (GMS) can enhance its worldwide performance. The GMS addresses several issues. First is nature of the marketing program in terms of the balance between a standardization (extension) approach to the marketing mix and a localization (adaptation) approach that is responsive to country or regional differences. Second is the concentration of marketing activities in a few countries or the dispersal of such activities across many countries. Companies that engage in global marketing can also engage in coordination of marketing activities. Finally, a firm’s GMS will address the issue of global market participation.

The importance of global marketing today can be seen in the company rankings compiled by the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Financial Times, and other publications. Whether ranked by revenues, market capitalization, or some other measure, most of the world’s major corporations are active regionally or globally. The size of global markets for individual industries or product categories helps explain why companies “go global”. Global markets for some product categories represent hundreds of billions of dollars in annual sales; other markets are much smaller. Whatever the size of the opportunity, successful industry competitors find that increasing revenues and profits means seeking markets outside the home country.

Company management can be classified in terms of its orientation toward the world: ethnocentric, polycentric, regiocentric, or geocentric. The terms reflect progressive levels of development or evolution. An ethnocentric orientation characterizes domestic and international companies; international companies pursue marketing opportunities outside the home market by extending various elements of the marketing mix. A polycentric worldview predominates at a multinational company, where the marketing mix is adapted by country managers operating autonomously. Managers at global and transnational companies are regiocentric or geocentric in their orientation and pursue both extension and adaptation strategies in global markets.

The dynamic interplay of several driving and restraining forces shapes the importance of global marketing. Driving forces include market needs and wants, technology, transportation and communication improvements, product costs, quality, world economic trends, and recognition of opportunities to develop leverage by operating globally. Restraining forces include market differences, management myopia, organizational culture, and national controls such as nontariff barriers (NTBs).

The growing importance of global marketing is one aspect of a sweeping transformation that has profoundly affected the people and industries of many nations during the past 160 years.
Three decades ago, the phrase global marketing did not even exist. Today savvy business people utilize global marketing for the realization of their companies’ full commercial potential. However, there is another, even more critical reason why companies need to take global marketing seriously: survival. A management team that fails to understand the importance of global marketing risks losing its domestic business competitors with lower costs, more experience, and better products.

  • What is global marketing? How does it differ from “regular” marketing?

Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.
One difference between "regular" marketing and "global" marketing is the scope of activities. Marketing activities center on an organization’s efforts to satisfy customer wants and needs with products and services that offer competitive value. The marketing mix (product, price, place, and promotion) comprises a contemporary marketer’s primary tools. Marketing is a universal discipline – as applicable in Argentina as it is in Zimbabwe.
An organization that engages in global marketing focuses it resources and competencies on global market opportunities and threats. A fundamental difference between “regular” marketing and “global” marketing is the scope of activities.

Global marketing may also take the form of a diversification strategy in which a company creates new products or services and introduces them into new geographical markets. Companies that engage in global marketing frequently encounter unique or unfamiliar features in specific countries or regions of the world.

Principles of Marketing: A Review
Marketing is one of the functional areas of business – distinct from finance and operations.
Marketing is the set of activities and processes that (along with product design, manufacturing, and transportation) comprises a firm’s value chain.
Decisions at every stage of the process – from idea conceptualization to customer support after the sale – should be assessed in terms of their ability to create value for customers.
The core of marketing is to surpass the competition in creating perceived value for customers. The value equation is the guide to this:
Value = Benefits / Price (money, time, effort, etc.)
The marketing mix is central to this equation because benefits are a combination of the product, promotion, and distribution components of the mix.
Value to the customer can be increased in two ways – 1. an improved bundle of benefits or 2. a lower price (or both).

  1. Marketers may improve the product, design new channels of distribution, communicate better – or a combination of all three.

  2. Marketers may seek ways to cut costs or lower the price. Nonmonetary costs may be lowered by decreasing the time and effort customers must expend to learn about or acquire a product.

If a company is able to offer a combination of superior product, distribution, and promotion of the benefits AND offer lower prices than its competition, it should enjoy an advantageous position.

Competitive Advantage, Globalization, and Global Industries

When a company succeeds in creating more value for customers than its competitors, that company is said to enjoy competitive advantage in an industry. Competitive advantage is measured relative to rivals with whom you compete in the industry – whether that is on a local, national, or global level.

Global marketing is essential if a company competes in a global industry or one that is globalizing.

  • What is “globalization”?

The process of globalization is the transformation of formerly local or national industries into global ones.

A global industry, as noted by Michael Porter, is one in which competitive advantage can be achieved by integrating and leveraging operations on a worldwide scale. An industry is global to the extent that a company’s position in the industry is interdependent with its industry position in other countries.
Achieving competitive advantage in a global industry requires executive to maintain focus. Focus is the concentration of attention on the core business or competence (e.g. Nestle).
However, focus can change as a part of an overall strategy shift (Coca-Cola, Volvo, and Electrolux are examples).
Value, competitive advantage, and focus are universal in their relevance and they should guide marketing efforts in any part of the world.
Fundamental Premise: Companies that understand and engage in global marketing can offer more overall value to customers than companies that do not.

Global Marketing: What it is and what it isn’t
The discipline of marketing is universal. It is natural, however, that marketing practices will vary from country to country, for the simple reason that the countries and peoples of the world are different. A successful marketing approach in one country may not necessarily succeed in another.
To what extent marketing plans and programs can extend worldwide and to what extent they must be adapted is one of the important tasks of the global marketing manager.
The way a company addresses this task is a reflection of its global marketing strategy (GMS).

  • What are the two core issues of a firm’s GMS?

Just as in single-country marketing, choosing a target market and developing a marketing mix are the two core issues of a firm’s GMS (refer to Table 1-2.)

  1. Global market participation – the extent to which a company has operations in major world markets.

  2. Standardization versus adaptation – the extent to which each marketing mix element can be standardized (used the same way) or must be adapted (used in different ways) in different country markets.

  3. Concentration of marketing activities – the extent to which activities related to the marketing mix (such as pricing decisions) are performed in one or only a few country locations.

  4. Coordination of marketing activities – the extent to which marketing activities related to the mix are planned and executed interdependently around the globe.

  5. Integration of competitive moves – the extent to which a firm’s competitive marketing tactics in different parts of the world are interdependent.

GMS should enhance the firm’s performance on a worldwide basis.

Some brands are found in virtually every county of the world. Coke is an example. However, companies that engage in global marketing do not necessarily have to be in every country. The recorded music market is an example – 12 countries make up 70 percent of sales.
Global marketing does mean widening business horizons to encompass the world in scanning for opportunities and threats.

  • What countries make up BRIC?

The four emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India, and China represent significant growth opportunities. They are known as BRIC.

The issue of standardization versus adaption has been at the center of a long-standing controversy among both academicians and business practitioners. Much of the controversy dates back to the days of Theodore Levitt’s (1983) “homogenized global market.” Levitt envisioned a global community where standardized, high-quality world products would be marketed in a standardized manner.

The “homogenized global market” view didn’t work. Even those companies that have become global successes have not done so through total standardization of the product.
Global marketing made Coke a worldwide success. However, that success was not based on a total standardization of marketing mix elements.
Coca-Cola succeeded through the application of global localization.

  • What does the term “global localization” mean?

Global localization: Think globally, act locally.
Global marketing may include a combination of standard and nonstandard approaches. Global marketing requires marketers to think and act in a way that is both global and local by responding to similarities and differences in world markets (refer to Exhibit 1-4).
The particular approach to global marketing that a company employs will depend on industry conditions and it sources of competitive advantage.
For example, McDonald’s global marketing strategy is based on a combination of global and local marketing mix elements (refer to Table 1-3).

  1. For example, Harley-Davidson’s competitive advantage is based in part on “Made in the USA.” Moving production to a low-wage country would tarnish its image.

  2. Toyota’s success in the US has come through its ability to transfer world-class manufacturing skills to America and advertising that the Camry is “Made in the USA” by Americans.

  3. Several hundred Gap stores are located outside of the U.S.

The Importance of Global Marketing

The largest single marketing in the world in terms of national income is The United States, representing roughly 25 percent of the total world market for all products and services.

U.S. companies that wish to achieve maximum growth potential must “go global” because 75 percent of the world market potential is outside of their home country.
Non-US companies have an even greater incentive to “go global;” their potential markets include the 300 million people in the US.
For example: Japan is the second largest market on the planet (by dollar value), yet the market outside of Japan accounts for 85 percent of the world potential for Japanese companies. Even though Germany is the largest single country market in Europe, 94 percent of the world market potential for German companies is outside of Germany.
The companies that survive and prosper in the 21st Century will be global enterprises. Less fortunate companies will be absorbed by their more dynamic competitors – or simple cease to exist.
Table 1-4 lists the Fortune Top 25 Global Corporations by Revenues. Note the interesting mix of represented industries and countries.
Table 1-5 lists the size of a market for consumer products.
Table 1-6 lists the “big” markets in terms of industrial products and services.
Table 1-7 lists the individual country and regional markets
Table 1-8 lists the Country / Region/ World markets by product category and total annual units sold.

Management Orientations
The form and substance of a company’s response to global market opportunities will depend greatly on management’s assumptions and beliefs – both conscious and unconscious - about the nature of the world.

  • What are the four “global” management orientations?

The world view of a company’s personnel can be described as ethnocentric, polycentric, regiocentric, and geocentric.

  • Describe each of these orientations.

Orientation Details

  1. A person who assumes that his/her home country is superior to the rest of the world.

  2. Associated with national arrogance or feelings of national superiority.

  3. At some companies, the ethnocentric orientation means that opportunities outside of the home country are routinely ignored (domestic companies).

  4. Ethnocentric companies that conduct business outside their home country are known as international companies – they believe products that succeed in the home country are superior.

  5. Leads to a standardized or extension approach – the belief that products can be sold everywhere without adaptation.

  6. Foreign operations or markets are viewed as inferior or subordinate to the home market.

  7. Headquarters knowledge is applied everywhere; local knowledge is viewed as unnecessary.


  1. The opposite view of ethnocentrism.

  2. The belief that each country in which you do business is unique.

  3. This assumption allows each subsidiary to develop its own unique marketing strategies in order to succeed.

  4. The term multinational company is often used to describe such a structure.

  5. Leads to a localized or adaptation view that assumes products MUST be adapted to succeed.


  1. The region becomes the relevant geographic unit.

  2. Managements goal is to develop a regional integrated strategy (e.g. NAFTA or the EU).

  3. May be viewed as a variant of the multinational view (polycentric).

  1. Views the entire world as a potential market and strives to develop integrated global strategies.

  2. These companies are known as global or transnational companies.

  3. Serves world markets from a single country or sources globally for the purposes of focusing on select country markets.

  4. Tend to maintain their association with a particular headquarters country. (Harley-Davidson and Waterford serve world markets from the US and Ireland, respectively.)

  5. Transnational companies serve global markets and utilize global supply chains.

  6. Transnational companies both serve global markets and utilize global supply chains and often have a blurring of national identity. A true transnational would be stateless. (Toyota and Honda are examples of companies that exhibit key characteristics of transnationality (see Exhibit 1-7)

  7. A key factor that distinguishes global and transnational companies from international or multinational companies is mind-set: At global and transnational companies, decisions regarding extension and adaptation are not based on assumptions but rather on made on the basis of ongoing research into market needs and wants.

  8. It is a synthesis of ethnocentrism and polycentrism – it is a “world view.”

  9. Seeks to build a global strategy that is responsive to local needs and wants.

The ethnocentric company is centralized in it marketing management; the polycentric company is decentralized; and the regiocentric and geocentric companies are integrated on a regional and global scale, respectively.

  • What is the key global challenge facing organizational leaders today?

The key challenge facing organizational leaders today is managing a company’s evolution beyond an ethnocentric, polycentric, or regiocentric orientation to a geocentric one.

Forces Affecting Global Integration and Global Marketing

The remarkable growth of the global economy over the past 65 years has been shaped by the dynamic interplay of various driving and restraining forces. Regional economic agreements, converging market needs and wants, technology advances, and pressures to cut costs, pressures to improve quality, improvements in communications and transportation technology, global economic growth, and opportunities for leverage all represent important driving forces.

Multilateral Trade Agreements
NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) has expanded trade among the US, Mexico, and Canada.
GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) has created the WTO (World Trade Organization) to promote and protect free trade.
EU (European Union) is lowering boundaries to trade within the region.

Converging Market Needs and Wants and the Information Revolution
A person studying markets around the world will discover cultural universals as well as differences. Most global markets to not exist in nature – marketing efforts must create them. (For example, no one needs soft drinks.)
Evidence is mounting that consumer needs and wants around the world are converging today as never before. This creates an opportunity for global marketing.
Multinational companies pursuing a strategy of product adaptation run the risk of falling victim to global competitors that have recognized opportunities to serve global customers.
The information revolution is one reason for the trend toward convergence. Thanks to satellite dishes and globe-spanning TV networks (CNN and MTV), it seems as though almost everyone has the opportunity to compare their lives against everyone else’s.
The Internet is an even stronger driving force. When a company establishes a presence on the Internet, it is automatically a global company.

Transportation and Communication Improvements

Time and cost barriers associated with distance have fallen tremendously over the past 100 years.

The jet airplane revolutionized communication by making it possible for people to travel around the world in less than 48 hours.
In 1970, 75 million passengers traveled internationally. By 2003, that figure rose to almost 540 million.
The newest communication technologies, such as e-mail, video teleconferencing, and Wi-Fi, means that managers, executives, and customers can link up electronically from virtually any part of the globe without traveling at all.
A similar revolution is occurring in transportation technology. The costs associated with physical distribution – in both money and time – have been greatly reduced.

Product Development Costs
The pressure for globalization is intense when new products require major investment and long period of development time. The pharmaceutical industry provides a good example of this driving force.
Today, the process of developing a new drug and bringing it to market can span 14 years and exceed $400 million. Such cost must be recovered globally because no single national market is likely to be large enough to support investments of this size. (Refer to Table 1- 10).

  • Global companies are said to “raise the bar” for all competitors in an industry. Why?

Global companies “raise the bar” for all competitors in an industry. When a global company establishes a benchmark for quality, competitors must quickly make their own improvement and come up to par. (The US auto manufacturers are an example.)

Global marketing strategies can generate greater revenue and greater operating margins, which, in turn, support design and manufacturing quality.

World Economic Trends

Economic growth has been a driving force in the expansion of the international economy and the growth of global marketing for three reasons.

  1. Economic growth in key developing countries has created market opportunities that provide a major incentive for companies to expand globally.

  2. Economic growth has reduced resistance that might otherwise have developed in response to the entry of foreign firms into domestic economies. (When a country such as China experiences rapid economic growth, policy makers are more likely to look favorably on outsiders.)

  3. The worldwide movement toward free markets, deregulation, and privatization is the third driving force. (Telephone company privatization is an example.)


  • What does “leverage” mean?

Leverage means some type of advantage that a company enjoys by virtue of the fact that it has experience in more than one country.
Leverage allows a company to conserve resources when pursuing opportunities in new geographical markets.

  • What are the four types of leverage that exist?

Four important types of leverage exist:

  1. Experience Transfers – A global company can leverage its experience in any market in the world by drawing on management practices, strategies, products, advertising appeals, or sales or promotional ideas that have been market-tested in one country and applied to another.

  2. Scale Economies – The global company can take advantage of its greater manufacturing volume to obtain traditional scale advantages. Finished products can be manufactured by combining components manufactured in scale-efficient plants in different countries.
  3. Resource Utilization – A global company has the ability to scan the entire world to identify people, money, and raw materials that will enable it to compete most effectively in world markets.

  4. Global Strategy – The global company’s greatest advantage is its global strategy. A global strategy is built on an information system that scans the world business environment to identify opportunities, trends, threats, and resources. A global strategy is a design to create a winning strategy on a global scale. Note: A global strategy is NO guarantee of ongoing organizational success. (Consider InBev’s acquisition of Anheuser-Bush, Daimler-Chrysler, and Deutsche Post’s DHL unit.)

Restraining Factors
Despite the impact of the driving forces previously discussed, several restraining forces may slow a company’s efforts to engage in global marketing.
Luckily, in today’s world the driving forces predominate over the restraining forces. That is why the importance of global marketing is steadily growing.

  • Describe the most important restraining factors.

Important restraining forces include:

  1. Management Myopia and Organizational Culture – Management may simply ignore opportunities to pursue global marketing. A company that is ethnocentric (or “nearsighted”) will not expand geographically. Myopia is a recipe for market disaster if headquarters attempts to dictate when it should listen. Successful global marketing requires a strong local team “on the ground” to provide information about local markets.

  2. National Controls – Every country protects the commercial interests of local businesses by maintaining control over market access and entry in both low- and high-tech industries. Today, tariff barriers have been largely removed in high-income countries. Still, nontariff barriers (NTBs), such as “Buy American” campaigns, make it difficult for companies to gain access to local markets.
  3. Opposition to Globalization – To many people, globalization represents a threat. Globaphobia is used to describe an attitude of hostility toward trade agreements or global brands. Opponents of globalization include labor unions, university students and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

Outline of the Book
The book is divided into five parts.
Part 1: An overview of global marketing and the basic theory of global marketing.
Part 2: The environments of global marketing.
Part 3: Approaching global markets (global strategy)
Part 4: The marketing mix in global marketing.
Part 5: Corporate strategy, leadership, and the impact of the digital revolution on global marketing.

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