Defining Internationa Marketing Objectives and Policies

The company should define its international marketing objectives and policies. First, it should decide what volume of foreign sales it wants. Most companies start small when they go abroad. Some plan to stay small, seeing foreign sales as a small part of their business. Other companies have bigger plans, seeing foreign business as equal to or even more important than their domestic business. Second, the company must choose koi& many countries it wants to market in. Generally, it makes better sense to operate in fewer countries with deeper penetration in each. Third, the company must decide on the types of country to enter. A country's attractiveness depends on the product, geographical factors, income and population, political climate and other factors. The seller may prefer certain country groups or parts of the world.

Mind Your Language

Here are some examples of careless translations which make an international marketer look downright foolish to foreign customers:


Highlight 5.4

A delicate pair of characters in the Chinese-language version of Microsoft's flagship Windows 95 operating system threatened to scramble the company's long-term plans for China. Things looked had for Microsoft when Beijing offices discovered the phrase 'communist bandits' embedded in the Windows 95 Chinese-character selection system - which, to make matters even more dicey, was designed hi Taiwan. Reports began to circulate that Chinese Public Security Officers were visiting computer users in Beijing demanding that they turn in their disks, and that authorities were considering a total ban on Windows 95. The reports tuned out to be false. Microsoft had moved quickly to head off a potential disaster, sending a group of top officials to Beijing for a hasty series of meetings. The two sides agreed temporarily to halt sales of Windows 95 in China, and Microsoft promised to send corrective diskettes to all licensed users that will scratch 'communist bandits' and other offending phrases from the system. Such fleet footwork is part of Microsoft's new conciliatory approach on the mainland. It's a big change from the situation three years ago. when Beijing nearly barred the company from its markets for selling Taiwan-designed programmes that differed from Beijing's standards. In that nearly disastrous episode, Microsoft

ultimately acquiesced after a series of angry exchanges. • When Coca-Cola first entered China, it provided shopkeepers with point-of-sale signs printed in English. This error was exacerbated when the shopkeepers translated the signs into their own calligraphy as 'Bite the wax tadpole'. Today the characters on Chinese Coke bottles translate as 'happiness in the mouth', which is an improvement on the 'Coke adds life' theme in the Japanese market, which translates into 'Coke brings your ancestors back from the dead'.

• Rolls-Royce avoided the name Silver Mist in German markets, where Mist means 'manure'. Sunbeam, an electricnl appliances manufacturer, entered the German market with its Mist-Stiek hair-curling iron. Not surprisingly, the Germans had little use for a 'manure wand'.

Careless blunders are soon discovered and amended. They may result in little more than embarrassment for the marketer. Countless other, more subtle errors, however, may go undetected and damage the brand's performance in less obvious ways. Consequently, the international company must carefully screen its brand names and advertising messages to avoid those that might harm sales, make the product look silly or, worse, offend consumers in specific markets.

SOURCE: Mate Forney, Dimon Fluently antl Emily Thornton, 'A matter of wording', Far Eastern Economic Review (10 October 1996). pp. 72-3.

After listing possible international markets, the company must screen and rank each one on several factors, including market size, market growth, cost of doing business, competitive advantage and risk level. The goal is to determine the potential of each market, using indicators like those shown in Table 5.1 All aspects of the product concept should be considered in relation to these indicators. The key determinant is whether or not the product is accepted in the proposed country markets and the investment is profitable. Then the marketer

Table 5.1

Indicators of market potential

1. Demographic characteristics Size of population

Rate of population growth Degree of urbanization Population density

Age structure and composition of the population

2. Geographic characteristics Physical size of a country Topographical characteristics Climate conditions

3. Economic factors GNF per capita Income distribution Rate of growth of GNP Ratio of investment to GNP

Source: Susan P. Douglas, G. Samuel Craig and Warren Keegan, 'Approaches no assessing international marketing opportunities for small and medium -sized business'. Columbia Journal of World Business (Fall 1982). pp. 26-32.

must decide which markets offer the greatest long-run return on investment (see Marketing Highlight 5.5),

Establishing Market Entry Mode

Once a company has decided to market in a foreign country, it must determine the best mode of entry. Its choices arc exporting, joint venturing and direct investment. Figure 5.2 shows these routes to servicing foreign markets, along with the options that each one offers. As we can sec, each succeeding strategy involves more commitment and risk, but also more control and potential profits.

Advertising With Circulars

Advertising With Circulars

Co-op Mailing means that two or more businesses share in the cost and distribution of a direct mail campaign. It's kind of like having you and another non-competing business split the cost of printing, assembling and mailing an advertising flyer to a shared same market base.

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