A firm’s international marketing program must generally be modified and adapted to foreign markets. This international marketing program uses strategies to accomplish its marketing goals. Within each foreign nation, the firm is likely to find a combination of marketing environment and target markets that are different from those of its own home country and other foreign countries. It is important that in international marketing, product, pricing, distribution and promotional strategies be adapted accordingly. In order for an international firm to function properly, cultural, social, economic, and legal forces within the country must be clearly understood. The task of International marketing is more difficult and risky than expected by many firms.
One of the most controlling factors of international marketing is management. It is very important for managers to recognize the differences as well as similarities in buyer behavior. Many mistakes can occur if managers fail to realize that buyers differ from country to country. It is the international differences in buyer behavior, rather than similarities, which cause problems in successful international marketing. An international marketing manager is a manager responsible for facilitating the exchange of products between the organization and its customers or clients. Sometimes an international marketing manager will find difficulties in completing the exchange of products. Many surprises in international business are undesirable human mistakes. An international corporation must fully understand the foreign environment before pursuing business matters. Problems constantly crop up and many times have unexpected results. Sometimes these unexpected results are unavoidable. Other times they are avoidable. To be sure those avoidable situations do not occur, international marketing managers must be aware of cultural differences.
Cultural differences take place among most nations of the world. Differences in culture are one of the most significant factors in an international company. All nationalities posses unique characteristics, which are unknown to many foreigners. Many of the top international businesses are unaware of these cultural differences. It is very important to understand these cultures in order to market a product successfully. As an example, different nationalities have different beliefs on how business matters should take place. Where some countries prefer to work with a deadline other countries can take this as being offensive. Many countries feel it is an insult to be asked to work under a set time period. A country may feel that a deadline is threatening and may feel backed into a corner. On the other hand, other countries try to expedite matters by setting deadlines. To be effective in a foreign market it is necessary to understand the local customs. Knowing what to do in a foreign country is as important as knowing what not to do. Failure to understand local customs can lead to serious misunderstandings between business people. The simple rejection of a cup of coffee can lead to total confusion. The decline of an invite is sometimes considered an affront. To avoid making blunders, a person must be able to discern the difference between what is acceptable behavior and what is not acceptable behavior. Violations of a local custom can be insulting, and can cause uncomfortable
situations. To be a successful manager of international marketing, one must be able to discern the differences as to what must and must not be done. It is almost impossible to attain complete knowledge and understanding of a foreign culture.
As established, culture plays an important role in the drama of international marketing. Of all the cultural aspects, communication may be the most critical. It is certain that communication has been involved in a number of cultural confusion. Good communication linkages must be set between a company and its customers, suppliers, its employees, and the governments of the countries where it performs business activities. Poor communication can obviously cause various difficulties. One source of difficulty among starting companies is that of effective communication with potential buyers. The problem is that there are many possible communication barriers. Sometimes messages can be translated incorrectly, regulations overlooked, and economic differences can be ignored. Other times when the message does arrive, its ineffectiveness can cause it to be of no value. Every now and then a buyer will receive the message, but to the companies disappointment, the message was sent incorrect.
It is normal in multinational businesses to send and receive messages on a regular basis. Many well-known people have incapacitated public speech introductions by using inaccurate titles and names. Not all communication problems are verbal. Some serious problems have occurred as a result of non-verbal communication. Non-verbal communication exist in numerous forms. Sometimes a person’s appearance can convey a stronger message than intended. Untidy attire, for example, can be more offensive in some nations than in others. The local people often are willing to overlook most of the mistakes made by tourist. On the other hand, locals are less tolerant of the errors of business people. It is very important to be able to interpret the different means of communication in international marketing.
In America, we sometimes take for granted the display of products on the market. However, in other nations such product array and selection do not always exist. It is important to understand that even if local customers can afford a certain product, they may not always want it. If by chance are interested, it may be only if it is substantially modified to fit their local preferences and taste. These adaptations exist in the form of product and package. The alteration of a material product is sometimes required to match the product to local taste and conditions. Adaptation of the package is often needed to attract customers to the
product. Many times adaptation is also used to maintain a product’s righteousness in a unique environment. A firm is occasionally forced to modify both the product and the package to create an appropriate product for the new market. Some products may require more technical modification than others may. Measurement systems vary between countries, and often components need to be adjusted to cleave to local standards. The need for product adaptation has existed for many years. In 1857 England’s East India Company possibly lost control of India because it failed to modify a product it provided. A product may be well acceptable in markets, but may not sell if housed in an inappropriate package. Packages promote the product and they protect it. International packaging must be able to withstand the journey. Some countries have exported their products only to witness the return of crushed and half-empty containers. Packaging can sometimes bring embarrassment to a company. Medical containers made in the U.S. drew unwanted attention because they carried the instructions “Take off top and push in bottom.” These messages was harmless here in America, but were sexual and humorous connotations to the British. Often the choice of package and product is difficult. Sometimes companies have failed to sell their products overseas because of the packaging of a product. Each firm must determine the area most appropriate for its product. Determining the region where it is most appropriate to market a product is not an easy task. Wherever the location of these places, they must be found because market testing is essential in international marketing.