Planning of International Marketing

Every organisation needs to direct and coordinate its marketing effort. For undertaking this, it must frame a marketing plan. While the task of developing a domestic marketing plan is in itself complex, it gets further compounded when a firm gets into international operation; for international marketing entails a multi country scenario necessitating marketing planning at two levels viz., country level and corporate level. Having developed the marketing plan, the corporation must implement them again at two levels i.e., at country level and at the corporation level. These are the issues that have been addressed in this lesson.

Developing a International Marketing Plan

The marketing plan must be developed at two levels i.e., at the country level and at the international level. At the country level, the marketing plan resembles any domestic marketing plan, in the sense that it lays down the strengths and weaknesses of the organisation and the opportunities and threats faced by the organisation. It proceeds to set an objective along with the assumptions. Having done the above, it lays down a broad action plan, the organisation structure and the control system necessary for accomplishing the above plan.

The international marketing plan is more than a mere integration of the country plans, for it seeks to direct end coordinate the activities of the corporation on a global basis and at a country level.

These variables are as follows.

• Knowledge of the market.
• Knowledge of the product.
• Knowledge of the marketing systems.

The corporation must decide how it will obtain information about all these variables on global and country basis. This information will then be formalised into a marketing plan to provide guidance to each country manager.

Issues in Framing the Multi- National Marketing Plan

One of the issues that have to be faced while framing the multinational marketing plan relates to the marketing strategy that has to be adopted. Every organisation must decide whether to follow a standardised marketing approach or a multi-domestic marketing approach or a blend of the two approaches.

Standardised approach

This refers to standardisation in four major decision areas decision, price decision, promotion decision and the distribution decision. The organisation should decide about this as a policy. The underlying premise of the standardised approach in recognition of the globalisation of market. Theoder Levitt in his article on ‘The Globalisation of Market’ points out that because of technological and communication revolution, consumers in one country would know about the products that are available in other countries and would seek to procure them through formal or informal channels. Once this premise is accepted, it should become possible for an organisation to encash the advantages of standardisation, which include cost saving in all areas right from manufacturing (because the message becomes common as demonstrated by Exxon’s ‘put a tiger in your tank”).

The corporation also has the advantage of maintaining the international customer, a class which is growing as demonstrated by the increase in international air traffic, for, wherever he goes in the world, he is sure of getting the same product, However, this approach is not free from limitations. Although theoretically, a corporation may demand standardisation in practise, it is not always possible because of heterogeneity of the markets. Thus, tariffs dumping laws, retail maintenance laws etc. may limit standardisation of price variable and non-availability of media vehicles may limit standardisation of communication variables.

Since this approach has, however, found many advocates within practising managers, they attempt standardising variables partially. Thus, in the case of promotion variables, the messages are unified very often the movies shot are standardised as demonstrated by Oglivy and Mather. The brand variable is also standardised and in the case of product variables certain major parts are standardised so that cost savings can be taken advantage of, while at the same time, the heterogeneous characteristics of the markets are also not ignored.

Multi- domestic approach

The multi-domestic approach to market planning emanates on the basis of the assumption that markets are heterogeneous and therefore the marketing strategy decision in a country should specifically cater to the needs of that country. This approach is rated as the true marketing approach by some multinational companies. This approach however, fails to explain the existence and prosperity of large multinational companies and the success of their global strategies. Though markets are heterogeneous, standardisation is possible in many areas. The existence of common brand names like IBM, Levis, etc., and their popularity the world over proves this. But it must be remembered that even these organisations may not standardise all their variables and/or may not cater to heterogeneous markets.


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