The subject of whether to adapt or standardize the marketing mix across international markets has shaped a lively debate in recent years. Understanding consumer behavior is difficult enough for companies marketing within the boarder of a single country. For companies operating in many countries, however, understanding and serving the needs of consumers can be intimidating. Although, consumers in different countries may have something in common, their attitudes, values, and behaviors often vary greatly. International marketers must understand such differences and amend their products and marketing plans accordingly.
Sometimes differences are very obvious in them, for example, in the United States of America, where most people eat cereals regularly in their breakfast. Kellogg focuses on persuading consumers to select Kellogg brand rather than a competitor’s brand in its marketing plan.
In France, however, where most people prefer croissants and coffee or no breakfast at all. Kellogg simply tries to convince people about the importance of breakfast and they should have taken cereals in their break for healthy lifestyle. Its packaging includes brief instructions on how to prepare cereal. Like in India, where many consumers eat fried and heavy meals in breakfasts and many consumers skip the meal altogether, Kellogg’s advertising is attempting to convince buyers to switch to a lighter, healthy and more nutritious diet.
Often, these differences across international markets are more subtle. They may result from physical differences in consumers and their environments. For example, Remington makes smaller electric shavers to fit the smaller hands of Japanese buyers and battery-powered shavers for the British Market, where fewer bathrooms have electrical channels. Differences are always resulting of varying customers. In Japan, where humility and differences are considered great virtues, assertive, and hard-hitting sales approaches are considered offensive. Failing to understand these differences in customs and behaviors from one country to another can create disaster for any marketers’ international products and plan.
Marketers should decide on the level to which they will adapt their products and marketing plans to meet the unique customs, cultures, and needs of buyers in various markets. On the other hand, marketers want to standardize their offerings in order to simplify operations and take benefits of cost economics. Furthermore, adapting marketing efforts within each country, results in products and programs that better satisfy the needs of local consumers.
So, marketers have to be more flexible and knowledgeable while planning for international market. Countries are different from each other so buyers and their buying patterns vary person to person.