Selecting the cross-cultural analysis technique from those presented in coursework 1, demonstrate your understanding of the social and cultural differences between the two culturally different countries you have chosen.
In this paper, you are required to create a report dealing with the role of an international marketing consultant in which you have to recommend the company’s next international market. Moreover, the report would focus different elements such as Cross-Cultural Analysis, Social and Cultural Factors and the Marketing Mix, Beliefs, values and customs, Market Entry Strategies, etc.
The assignment is detailed below:
Taking the role of an international marketing consultant, commissioned by a company (marketing an organisation’s product or service of your choice), prepare a detailed report for the organisation’s marketing director with a recommendation for the company’s next international market (of your choice). Alternatively your choice of destination market may be selected on the basis that international market entry has previously been affected but with little or no success.
As this may be the first time your company will be targeting and entering a culturally very different country, your report must include the following:
1. A Cross-Cultural Analysis: selecting the cross-cultural analysis technique from those presented in coursework 1, demonstrate your understanding of the social and cultural differences between the two culturally different countries you have chosen.
Having evaluated the different approaches in the first assessment (the presentation), you should select the one specific cross-cultural analysis method used in coursework 1 which you applied to the organisation, and use the method chosen to conduct an in-depth analysis into the specific countries cultural differences.
2. Social and Cultural Factors and the Marketing Mix: examine and explain how the social and cultural factors of your target country could influence consumer behaviour towards your product or service, together with an evaluation of the strategic implications this may have on the marketing mix.
An understanding of the different social-cultural factors that will be encountered in different geographical locations/cultures needs to be identified. This should include social factors such as social class, the role of family etc., and an understanding of the cultural factors that are the “norm” in the particular location selected.
Beliefs, values and customs should be explored and their influence on the construction of the marketing mix should be identified, e.g. Bikes in UK and China! Issues of language (spoken and silent), motivation, buying behaviour, the decision making process and acceptable methods of promotion should be highlighted as areas where the mix may need adaptation. The “cultural framework” (Sarathy et al 2006) should prove very useful in this section.
The relevance (or not) of Maslow, linked with the buying process and distribution channels, is also important. The principles of standardisation v adaptation require consideration here also.
It is important to clearly define the direct benefits of standardisation for firms, such as economies of scale and efficiencies from the learning curve effect, but also to consider the indirect benefits that come from consumer perceptions of the consistency of company image of the firm and the effect of this on the perceived brand value. The obvious barriers to implementation include market led factors, such as the legal and cultural differences between countries, but also company factors, such as the integration (or independence) of the strategies pursued by individual SBUs and competitor led factors, for example, where a firm is weak in different markets and has to follow different market leaders.
Although markets are becoming increasingly similar in industrialised countries, the media environment still varies greatly. In Saudi Arabia, for example, all advertising is subject to censorship, and regulations prohibit a long list of subject matter.
The good student will seek to identify and recommend differences required in the marketing mix for successful market entry into the host country.
Again, if “re-entry” is selected, previous marketing mix and consumer behaviour issues that denied or restricted success should be discussed.
- Market Entry Strategies: an evaluation of the various international market entry strategy options available to the company, and a justified recommendation to the company for the market entry strategy that the company should adopt.
A brief assessment of the different types of market entry strategies is needed with an explanation of which (and why) each is appropriate at a particular stage. As a firm reaches globalisation it will require a combination of entry strategies in order to respond to the market, company and environmental factors. Some understanding is needed of the firm’s required level of involvement in each market as this will be linked to the level of control the firm might wish to exert over its activities and the level of risk the organisation is prepared to take. Where it has high levels of investment it must ensure that it is able to maximise its impact and not be reliant on third parties. High levels of involvement have implications in terms of a variety of associated risks.
An explanation of the criteria for choosing a market entry strategy must be the starting point and this will inevitably focus on the need for different levels of market involvement, investment and control over marketing operations in the target market needed to deliver the firm’s objectives. It is worth considering in detail the benefits of certain strategies, such as strategic alliances and joint ventures which are attempts to achieve a balance between control and exposure in challenging market situations where neither partner has all the necessary capability.
Again, if the “re-entry” approach is taken, previous market entry strategies should be discussed, with analysis of the failings/limitations that ensued.
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