Marketing is an essential aspect of any successful business. It is used to promote and sell a company’s products and services to consumers, and with globalization on the rise, marketing has become even more important for businesses. Technology has enabled consumers to find products and services all over the world, expanding the competition for businesses everywhere. In order for companies to compete and succeed they need to constantly create, execute, and evaluate their marketing strategies. There are five major types of marketing that are implemented: digital marketing, internet marketing, affiliate marketing, multi-level marketing, and global marketing. For the purpose of this blog, the focus will be on global marketing.
Global marketing is used when various international businesses form relationships together with the intention of developing networks on a global scale. By working closely with one another’s home countries, government officials, and industry competitors, international businesses are able to develop a target market of their own. Once their new target market has been established, companies can begin to create their marketing mix. Since the company is now working on a global scale, the challenge of cultural marketing comes into play.
Cultural marketing is a specific type of marketing that intends to promote a product or service to a group of potential consumers that are from a particular culture or demographic. Culture is an external influence that impacts a consumer’s purchasing-decision. If a company has an ethnocentric mindset, where they believe their culture is superior to other cultures, they will find problematic issues in their marketing strategy. It is especially important for international businesses to understand that the cultural norms of their home country may not be the same in the countries of their target markets. Cultural differences need to be identified before marketing to another culture. For example, in the U.S. dogs are seen as “man’s best friend”, but, Muslim traditions perceive dogs to be “dirty” animals. So, the use of a dog in an advertisement would be ineffective.
There are different tools that marketers can refer to, to help identify cultural differences including Hofstede’s Dimensions (individualism vs. collectivism, power distance, masculinity vs. femininity, and uncertainty avoidance) and Low vs. High Context cultures. The most common and obvious difference between cultures is language. Language is an important element in culture that must be taken into account when marketing to another country. Common cultural marketing mistakes can be found in the use of idioms and colloquial phrases. For example, “in the ball park” is an idiom that would make the most sense in North and South America where baseball is a popular sport, but, the term does not carry the same meaning in other cultures. So, while a company may have a successful marketing strategy in their home country, their decision to enter the global market means that they will have to take other cultures into consideration for all four P’s of the marketing mix (product, price, place, and promotion).
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