International Marketing


This semester I’m taking a class called “International Marketing.” It is a requirement so that I can graduate with a certificate in Global Management.  The course feels very open and flexible, and the professor seems to be taking a more open approach to the course itself.  So this got me thinking about, what should a course in International Marketing have.  For me, these would be the learning outcomes:

  1. Effectively create marketing strategy decisions that will consider the global landscape
  2. Provide arguments for and against marketing decisions that cross borders
  3. Build a framework by which to measure risk of cross border marketing plans
  4. Have knowledge of how to structure global teams and how to measure them

Wikipedia defines International Marketing as:

International marketing (IM) or global marketing refers to marketing carried out by companies overseas or across national borderlines. This strategy uses an extension of the techniques used in the home country of a firm. It refers to the firm-level marketing practices across the border including market identification and targeting, entry mode selection, marketing mix, and strategic decisions to compete in international markets. According to the American Marketing Association (AMA) “international marketing is the multinational process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion and distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives.” In contrast to the definition of marketing only the word multinational has been added. In simple words international marketing is the application of marketing principles to across national boundaries.

So in essence you 2 things, (1) knowledge of your home country and (2) knowledge of the foreign country.  I have worked and traveled in several countries, and just knowing a different country and culture does help you understand the intricacies of a country and allows you to compare and contrast things that will and will not work.  Knowing a second language multiplies that knowledge.  In my case, I speak Spanish and English, and have worked in 8 countries and traveled to others, but I want to learn a way to translate this knowledge into a framework to understand other cultures and markets.  I think that the short answer I will find this semester is no, there is no framework.

A similar discipline to marketing is that of negotiation, in a way marketing is a negotiation, some very active like a rep visiting a client overseas, but mostly passive, like a commercial or a logo.  In the book “Negotiating Globally” the author Jeanne Brett goes deep into culture as the basis for thinking globally.  She compares culture to an iceberg and structures 3 distinct layers, the first being the only one we can see (p. 28).  Here are the layers:

  1. Behaviors and institutions
  2. Knowledge structures: Values, beliefs, and norms
  3. Fundamental assumptions

I want to have a framework that takes a marketing strategy and is able to break it down into:

  • Which behaviors and institutions does this plan relay on
  • What are the core values, beliefs and norms? Are they the same in all targets? How should we account for the differences?
  • Lastly, Is our product/service/offering go against any fundamental assumption?

In thinking about his, I think on the examples of products that are launched in markets that have no need for them.  Or just lost in translation blunders (here are some)There was probably some executive that said: “we’ll create the demand.” There are other products that would seem no need for them, or have had poor reception in other markets and seem all the craze in others.  Is there a way to x-ray the marketing plan in order to extract this knowledge?

I really want to find a way, maybe I will this semester or maybe I’ll just read old cases that shed no light on the subject.  As always, the burden is on me to come up with the learning I want.

Leave a Reply