Standardization Vs Adaptation in International Marketing
In the event that a company enters into the foreign market, its main area of concern should be addressing the particular kind of product that it should sell. When doing this, a question will always linger on whether the product will be as successful as it has been in the local market or another foreign market where the company does business. On the other hand, another concern would also be on whether to modify the product in order to adapt to the preferences and tastes of customers in the new market.
A phenomenon of great interest in international marketing is that there is a continuous homogenization of the tastes and preferences of consumers across the world. Consumers in both the developed, emerging and developing markets seem to be looking for the same characteristics in most products, especially regarding their functionality. An ideal example in this scenario is Red Bull that markets its product, the energy drink in the same way in all it markets worldwide.
There are also certain situations whereby consumers in various countries showcase their preferences for unique features, physical characteristics and ingredients of a given product. An example is Coca cola and McDonald. While Coca Cola has been able to succeed in almost all the markets in the world. McDonald was faced with a great challenge when it tried to venture into the Indian market. It was unable to sell it beef hamburgers in India since the cow is considered holy by the intended consumers.
In a scenario like the one above, a country’s first priority should be making sure that it is marketing the right product using the most ideal technique. When addressing an international market, it can be quite a daunting task to satisfy the needs of customers. This is because; each of the markets is driven by a unique set of cultural, political and regulatory factors.
The response of many business people to the challenge of globalization has been trying to think about the world as a single market. In fact, some even go as far as advocating for the standardization of products so that they can be similar in all the markets across the world. This approach can be a great temptation to business people who are looking for economies of scale. However, it is not always a wise strategy considering the fact that tastes and value vary from one market to another across the globe.
It is often argued that standardization and adaptation are merely a matter of degree. The huge costs that are associated with the adaptation approach and merits of standardization do not leave room for the pursuance of the adaptation avenue to greater lengths. It is acknowledged that there is a limitation in the theory that seeks to integrate the two concepts, thus a further impetus to occurrence of the problem and the need for developing a new theory for capturing an integrated approach.
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