What is an International Marketing Environment?
International marketing environments can consist of many forces and factors that can greatly affect marketing managers decisions and intentions for marketing products. The difference between cultural environments can consist of influences of religious, family values, educational and social systems within marketing systems. Failure to consider these cultural differences when creating an international marketing strategy can be a primary reason for many company’s failure.
For example, in Canada, language has a major influence on how marketing campaigns must be launched, since a product must be presented in both English and French, which directly affects product marketing and additional product costs. Colors also have different meanings in different cultures, and can change how a brand and/or marketing campaign is perceived by consumers abroad. Ultimately, every consumer’s values arise from his/her moral beliefs that are learned through experiences. Understanding these cultures on a deeper level can drastically change a brand’s strategies and marketing decisions!
Swiffer’s Failure to Launch
I remember one of the most interesting examples of how culture can affect an entire marketing strategy was Swiffer’s “Quick and Easy” branding campaign was completely shunned by women in Italy, greatly varying from it’s success in the United States. Italian women are known for keeping some of the cleanest homes around, spending on average 21 hours a week on household chores. Swiffer assumed this should make them the perfect consumer for cleaning products, especially one that is known for its convenience and ease. However, after many interviews and studies they found that Italian women believed that the amount of work they put in to keeping their house’s clean is a direct correlation to how much they love their family. Some women even referencing how using such product’s feeling like “cheating.” They want tough cleaners, NOT timesavers. Thus Proctor & Gamble had to completely re-brand and market the Swiffer product, adjusting to the new external environment. This a major insight that affected the company’s success in penetrating a new market abroad.
How Companies Can Adapt Going Into 2020
Deloitte published its first ever Global Marketing Trends report for 2020, detailing themes for marketers around the world to focus on in the coming months. Here, we’ve recapped the most important themes for your business to adopt when developing an international marketing strategy.
- Consumer Participation: With the plethora of pop-ups and interactive experiences, it is no surprise that consumer participation was deemed a top global marketing trend for the upcoming year. Deloitte Global CMO Diana O’Brien states that by establishing new methods of consumer participation on a global scale, “businesses can turn willing customers into brand ambassadors, influencers, advocates, collaborators, and even innovators.” I recently encountered a relevant application of this concept as I read about Louis Vuitton’s new restaurant venture. They are expanding across international markets to create the ultimate ‘consumer participation’ in the form of a luxury restaurant located on the fourth floor of their Osaka, Japan flagship store. As they penetrate the luxury experiences category, it will be interesting to see how Louis Vuitton continues their growth within the numerous geographical markets they serve.
- Experience Debt: Experience debt is a result of unintended consequences of our digital age – this includes things such as isolation and lack of personal fulfillment caused by technology. How is this relevant to international marketing? It is believed that marketers can ‘pay off’ this experience debt through increased cross-cultural human experience that reflects a common goal between businesses and consumers of various backgrounds.
- Adaptation: It is essential for businesses to be readily willing and able to adapt to ever-shifting cultural environments. In a marketplace where consumers across the globe are treating brands as more ‘disposable’, marketers will need to utilize data and understand cultural intricacies to generate meaningful brand relationships that generate consumer loyalty.