Overseas Marketing Strategy
Expanding into international markets is the logical next step for businesses that have exhausted potential in their home market. After conducting the obligatory due-diligence market analysis and concluding that profitable demand exists in international markets, you must select the most suitable marketing strategy for entering those markets. International marketing strategies typically focus on the extent to which domestic marketing strategies can be effective overseas.
In addition to quantifying market potential, your market analysis will likely delve into qualitative issues. Some international marketers call these the SLEPT factors: social, legal, economic, political and technology. Social factors are cultural and language issues that might impact your product or service offerings and your marketing communications strategy. Legal traditions can affect a variety of issues, including the acceptability of advertising content and media availability. Economic development is relevant in assessing such infrastructure issues as transportation and warehousing. Political factors focus on political stability and are tied to legal factors in terms of transparent and predictable sets of rules. The level of technology can impact issues such as marketing's dependency on Internet access.
Beginning in the 1970s, companies began using an E.P.R.G approach to frame expansion into foreign markets: "ethnocentrism" — domestic market orientation, "polycentrism" — host country orientation, "regional" — orientations based on regional commonalities and "geocentrism" — global marketing strategy.
Ethnocentric orientations are appropriate when foreign markets share most if not all of the characteristics of the domestic market, such as a U.S. company expanding into Canada. The polycentric orientation of tailoring strategies to host countries is appropriate for dissimilar markets. Geocentric strategies are indifferent to the national origin of the strategies employed as long as they can apply to all markets.
In 1983, Theodore Levitt, marketing professor at Harvard Business School, observed that people all over the planet wanted and were buying the same things irrespective of cultural differences. Levitt proposed designing products, services and marketing communications from the onset that would have global appeal to take advantage of what he foresaw as enormous savings from economies of scale. Global homogenization may be viable for high-tech and new products, and for brands having global appeal. For instance, Apple's global marketing strategy is straightforward. It is based on cutting-edge technology and design, simplicity of use and the Apple logo,
Many major multinational corporations continue to successfully employ global marketing strategies. Other companies garner success with "glocal" marketing. Glocal marketers "think global" regarding standardizing product or service features for economies of scale in the global arena, but "think local" regarding cultural sensitivities particularly in the area of marketing communications. For instance, McDonald's harmonizes its global product and operating strategies to accommodate local dietary preferences, such as offering non-meat burgers in Indian because 40 percent of Indians are vegetarian.