Trade is increasingly global in scope today. There are several reasons for this. One significant reason is technological-because of improved transportation and communication opportunities today, trade is now more practical. Thus, consumers and businesses now have access to the very best products from many different countries. Increasingly rapid technology lifecycles also increases the competition among countries as to who can produce the newest in technology. In part to accommodate these realities, countries in the last several decades have taken increasing steps to promote global trade through agreements such as the General Treaty on Trade and Tariffs, and trade organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the European Union (EU).
Segmentation is the cornerstone of marketing-almost all marketing efforts in some way relate to decisions on who to serve or how to implement positioning through the different parts of the marketing mix. For example, one's distribution strategy should consider where one's target market is most likely to buy the product, and a promotional strategy should consider the target's media habits and which kinds of messages will be most persuasive. Although it is often tempting, when observing large markets, to try to be "all things to all people," this is a dangerous strategy because the firm may lose its distinctive appeal to its chosen segments.In terms of the "big picture," members of a segment should generally be as similar as possible to each other on a relevant dimension (e.g., preference for quality vs. low price) and as different as possible from members of other segments. That is, members should respond in similar ways to various treatments (such as discounts or high service) so that common campaigns can be aimed at segment members, but in order to justify a different treatment of other segments, their members should have their own unique response behavior.
Approaches to Global Segmentation
There are two main approaches to global segmentation. At the macro level, countries are seen as segments, given that country aggregate characteristics and statistics tend to differ significantly. For example, there will only be a large market for expensive pharmaceuticals in countries with certain income levels, and entry opportunities into infant clothing will be significantly greater in countries with large and growing birthrates (in countries with smaller birthrates or stable to declining birthrates, entrenched competitors will fight hard to keep the market share).
There are, however, significant differences within countries. For example, although it was thought that the Italian market would demand "no frills" inexpensive washing machines while German consumers would insist on high quality, very reliable ones, it was found that more units of the inexpensive kind were sold in Germany than in Italy-although many German consumers fit the predicted profile, there were large segment differences within that country. At the micro level, where one looks at segments within countries. Two approaches exist, and their use often parallels the firm's stage of international involvement. In tra- market segmentation involves segmenting each country's markets from scratch-i.e., an American firm going into the Brazilian market would do research to segment Brazilian consumers without incorporating knowledge of U.S. buyers. In contrast, in ter- market segmentation involves the detection of segments that exist across borders. Note that not all segments that exist in one country will exist in another and that the sizes of the segments may differ significantly. For example, there is a huge small car segment in Europe, while it is considerably smaller in the U.S.
Inter-market segmentation entails several benefits. The fact that products and promotional campaigns may be used across markets introduces economies of scale, and learning that has been acquired in one market may be used in another-e.g., a firm that has been serving a segment of premium quality cellular phone buyers in one country can put its experience to use in another country that features that same segment.
The international product life cycle suggests that product adoption and spread in some markets may lag significantly behind those of others. Often, then, a segment that has existed for some time in an "early adopter" country such as the U.S. or Japan will emerge after several years (or even decades) in a "late adopter" country such as Britain or most developing countries.
Methods of entry:
With rare exceptions, products just don't emerge in foreign markets overnight-a firm has to build up a market over time. Several strategies, which differ in aggressiveness, risk, and the amount of control that the firm is able to maintain, are available:
- Exporting is a relatively low risk strategy in which few investments are made in the new country. A drawback is that, because the firm makes few if any marketing investments in the new country, market share may be below potential. Further, the firm, by not operating in the country, learns less about the market (What do consumers really want? Which kinds of advertising campaigns are most successful? What are the most effective methods of distribution?) If an importer is willing to do a good job of marketing, this arrangement may represent a "win-win" situation, but it may be more difficult for the firm to enter on its own later if it decides that larger profits can be made within the country.
- Licensing and franchising are also low exposure methods of entry-you allow someone else to use your trademarks and accumulated expertise. Your partner puts up the money and assumes the risk. Problems here involve the fact that you are training a potential competitor and that you have little control over how the business is operated. For example, American fast food restaurants have found that foreign franchisers often fail to maintain American standards of cleanliness. Similarly, a foreign manufacturer may use lower quality ingredients in manufacturing a brand based on premium contents in the home country.
- Contract manufacturing involves having someone else manufacture products while you take on some of the marketing efforts yourself. This saves investment, but again you may be training a competitor.
- Direct entry strategies, where the firm either acquires a firm or builds operations "from scratch" involve the highest exposure, but also the greatest opportunities for profits. The firm gains more knowledge about the local market and maintains greater control, but now has a huge investment. In some countries, the government may expropriate assets without compensation, so direct investment entails an additional risk. A variation involves a joint venture, where a local firm puts up some of the money and knowledge about the local market
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International marketing Vipul Prakashan
International marketingHimalaya Publication