Management Consulting/Intl. Mktg


Discuss the challenges faced by an international marketer while implementing his/her
    advertising campaign across international markets. Give suitable examples in support of your   answer.



Knowledge management
The increasing globalisation of business, particularly because it is being driven
by information technology, has led many firms to re-examine what contributes to
their global competitive advantage. They have recognised the fact that it is the
pool of personal knowledge, skills and competencies of the firms’ staff that
provides its development potential and they have redefined themselves as
‘knowledge-based’ organisations. Moreover, these firms have acknowledged that
they must retain, nurture and apply the knowledge and skills across their
business if they wish to be effective in global markets. The growth potential can
only be exploited if the firm becomes a learning organisation in which the good
practice learned by individual members of staff can be ‘leveraged’, transferred and
built upon throughout its global activity.

Corporate objectives
Having identified stakeholder expectations, carried out a detailed situation analysis
and made an evaluation of the capabilities of the company, the overall goals to be
pursued can be set. It is important to stress that there is a need for realism in this,
as too frequently corporate plans are determined more by the desire for short-term
credibility with shareholders than with the likelihood that they will be achieved.
The objectives must be based on realistic performance expectations rather than on
a best case scenario. Consideration must also be given to developing alternative
scenarios so that realistic objectives can be set and accompanied by contingency
plans in case the chosen scenario does not materialise.
The process adopted for determining long-term and short-term objectives is
important and varies significantly depending on the size of the business, the
nature of the market and the abilities and motivation of managers in different
markets. At an operational level, the national managers need to have an achievable
and detailed plan for each country, which will take account of the local situation,
explain what is expected and how performance will be measured. For most
companies the most obvious international strategic development opportunities
are either in increasing geographical coverage and/or building global product
trying to sell the strategic presence of a city.

Marketing strategies
Having set the objectives for the company, both at corporate and the subsidiary
level, the company will develop detailed programmes of the marketing strategies
and activities which will achieve the objectives. Decisions will need to be made
as to how the company will segment and target its international markets? How will
it position itself in different international markets. How will it add value to its
efforts through its product portfolio, communications, distribution and pricing
strategies? It is this that is at the heart of the following chapters of this book as
we take the reader through the detailed considerations in developing an international marketing strategy. A central consideration in marketing strategy develop-
ment for international markets is the dilemma facing all international managers as
to how far they can standardise marketing strategies in different country markets.
This essential question will be examined as we go through different aspects of
international marketing strategy development and implementation.

Implementation of the marketing plan
Having agreed the overall marketing strategy, plans for implementation are
required at a central and local subsidiary level. Firms usually allocate resources to
individual subsidiaries on a top-down basis, but this needs to be modified to
include the special allocations made to enable foreign subsidiaries to resource
specific market opportunities or difficulties encountered in particular markets.
Agreement is reached through a process of discussion between the operating
department and management levels. Detailed budgets and timescales can then be
set for all areas of marketing including those outside agencies (such as marketing
researchers, designers and advertising agencies) in order to ensure that their
contributions are delivered on time and within the budget. Some allowance must
be made for those activities which might be more difficult to estimate in terms of
cost or time, such as research and development of new products.
We have, so far, emphasised the need for careful, detailed and thorough
preparation of the plan, but it is essential that the plan is action oriented and
contains programmes designed to give clear direction for the implementation,
continuous evaluation and control of all the firm’s marketing activity. The plan must
therefore be: strategic, by fulfilling the corporate and marketing objectives and coor-
dinating the individual strategic business unit (SBU) plans, tactical, by focusing
upon individual SBU marketing activities in each country, and implementable, by
detailing the individual activities of each department within the SBU.

The control process
The final stage of the planning process is setting up an effective system for obtaining
feedback and controlling the business. Feedback and control systems should be
regarded as an integrated part of the whole planning process, and they are essential
in ensuring that the marketing plans are not only being implemented but are still
appropriate for the changing international environment.
such as New York, Munich, Tokyo and New Delhi.
However, it now wishes to ensure a more strategic
presence in three key regions – the Euro Zone,
China and Central America – and is trying to decide
whether it should take a different approach to setting
up its centres and where such centres should be
located in these regions.

There are three essential elements of the control process:
1 Setting standards: the standards that are set need to be relevant to the
corporate goals such as growth and profits reported by financial measures,
return on capital employed and on sales, and non-financial indicators,
e.g. market share. Intermediate goals and individual targets can be set by
breaking the plan down into measurable parts which when successfully
completed will lead to the overall objectives being achieved. The standards
must be understandable, achievable and relevant to each local country situation.
2 Measuring performance against standards: to obtain measurements and
ensure rapid feedback of information, firms use a variety of techniques,
including reports, meetings and special measurements of specific parts of the
marketing programme, such as cost–benefit analysis on customers, product
lines and territories or marketing audits for a thorough examination of every
aspect of marketing in a particular country. They also use benchmarking,
which allows comparisons of various aspects of the business, such as efficiency
of distribution, customer response times, service levels and complaints, with
other companies that are not necessarily from the same business sector.
3 Correcting deviations from the plan: perhaps the most difficult decisions
that must be made are to determine when performance has deviated
sufficiently from the plan to require corrective action to be taken either
by changing the plan or the management team charged with the
responsibility of carrying out the plan.

Reasons for success
The firms operating globally that succeed
are those that perceive the changes in the international environment and are
able to develop strategies which enable them to respond accordingly. The firms
that will do well will base their success largely on the early identification of
the changes in the boundaries of markets and industries in their analysis
of their international marketing environment. Management foresight and
organisational learning are therefore the basis of a sustainable competitive
advantage in global markets.
The increasing globalisation of business, particularly because it is being driven
by information technology, has led many firms to re-examine what contributes to
their global competitive advantage. They have recognised the fact that it is the
pool of personal knowledge, skills and competencies of the firm’s staff that provides
its development potential and they have redefined themselves as ‘knowledge-
based’ organisations. Moreover, these firms have acknowledged that they must
retain, nurture and apply the knowledge and skills across their business if they
wish to be effective in global markets. The growth potential of international
markets can only be exploited if the firm becomes a learning organisation in
which the good practice learned by individual members of staff in one market can
be leveraged and built upon throughout its global activity.
However, firms are increasingly vulnerable to losing these valuable personal
assets, because of the greater mobility of staff, prevalence of industrial espionage
and the security risks and abuse associated with the Internet. Moreover, with the
increase in communications it is becoming more difficult to store, access and
apply the valuable knowledge that exists amongst the huge volume of relatively
worthless data that the company deals with. Consequently, effective knowledge
management is now critical for success. This means having Web-enabled database
systems that facilitate effective data collection, storage in data warehouses and
data mining (the identification of opportunities from patterns that emerge from
detailed analysis of the data held).
Successful global operators use the knowledge gained to assess their strengths
and weaknesses in light of their organisational learning and ensure they have the
company capability and resources to respond to their learning in order to sustain
their competitive advantage. This is particularly important in international
markets as, for example, customer and brand loyalty may be much stronger in
certain markets than others, and products that may be at the end of their life
in the domestic market may be ideal for less sophisticated markets. In the
dynamic international markets, therefore, if a firm is to succeed it must develop
the ability to think, analyse and develop strategic and innovative responses on an

Characteristics of best practice in
international marketing
It is apparent, therefore, that firms and organisations planning to compete effec-
tively in world markets need a clear and well-focused international marketing
strategy that is based on a thorough understanding of the markets which the
company is targeting or operating in. International markets are dynamic entities
that require constant monitoring and evaluation. As we have discussed, as
markets change so must marketing techniques. Innovation is an important
competitive variable, not only in terms of the product or service but throughout

three major components to the strategies of firms
successfully competing in international markets:
■ A clear international competitive focus achieved through a thorough
knowledge of the international markets, a strong competitive positioning and
a strategic perspective which was truly international.
■ An effective relationship strategy achieved through strong customer relations,
a commitment to quality products and service and a dedication to customer
service throughout international markets.
■ Well-managed organisations with a culture of learning. Firms were innovative
and willing to learn, showed high levels of energy and commitment to
international markets and had effective monitoring and control procedures
for all their international markets.


a) Market differences:
• Economic factors: The stage of development and state of the economy play a fundamental role. What is affordable to most in the US may be a luxury in less wealthy markets, affecting the tone and positioning of the
• Media environment: Although global media exist, all markets have their local media landscapes. This affects which media people encounter and
how people consume advertising.
• Advertising regulations/restrictions: Sometimes regulations may prohibit advertising to certain target groups or products altogether—to
children in Sweden, or for cigarettes in many countries. They can also restrict the content permitted.
• Category development: This is one of the most common variables facing advertisers and is a popular means of segmenting markets into less-developed and better-developed groupings. For example, categories
are very different in mobile telecommunications markets in Western Europe and the Middle East.
• Competitive development: Though your own brand may be international, the competitive set can vary widely between countries, both in number and positioning. Contrast the competitive context for San Miguel beer in Spain and the UK. Equally, order of entry into the market
may play a key role, even if the main brands are the same.

b) Consumer differences:
• Cultural differences: The cultural heritage, values and habits of a country (and different groups within it) influence perceptions and reactions to creative styles, driving the use of humor, settings, casting and
tonality. The attitude toward consumption of snacks such as crisps in the UK is entirely different, for example, from Spain, where consumers
generally follow regular meal patterns.
• Communication syntax: Each country has social habits or values that  influence the expression of emotions, gestures, facial expressions, body
language and even verbal communication.
• Experience with the brand: How consumers use, consume and interact with the brand may differ, as may their level of experience of the brand.

Challenging times for international advertising campaigns
The consumer and market differences proposed   highlight
some important factors that limit the scope for finding common conditions  across markets. There are clearly many more detailed factors and examples
that add further difficulties.
If we focus now on the cultural differences and follow Marieke de Mooij’s hypothesis that “all aspects of consumer behavior are culture-bound
and not subject merely to environmental factors”,1 it becomes clear that we need some help in order to identify the differences in consumer behavior
across countries.

theory: that world cultures vary along consistent, fundamental dimensions.
More importantly, he identified those dimensions and catalogued countries according to them. In my opinion, there are some weaknesses that invalidate
his work to a certain extent. For instance, he maintained that each country has just one dominant culture, when that is not always necessarily the case.
Nonetheless, the general framework he designed is very useful for marketers; it is a good starting point, as authors like De Mooij have acknowledged.
Hofstede (1997) identified five dimensions of culture: collectivism vs individualism, femininity vs. masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, power-distance, and long- vs. short-term orientation:

a. Collectivism vs. individualism: Individualist cultures typically emphasize the goals of the individual, individual initiative and achievement, more dominantly than collectivist societies, which are more concerned
with collective goals and the group as a whole. In advertising, individualist societies rely more heavily on facts and figures to determine the
optimum outcome, whereas collectivist societies put a greater emphasis
on personal relationships and group harmony.

b. Femininity vs. masculinity: Masculine cultures typically favor assertive, competitive and tough attitudes, whereas feminine cultures emphasize
caring and tender attitudes. Typically, masculine societies offer higher  rewards and favor a challenging and competitive environment, whereas
in feminine societies the emphasis is more on good relationships and cooperation.

c. Uncertainty avoidance: The degree of risk aversion in a society is central to this dimension. Countries that score low in uncertainty avoidance typically favor taking risks, trying new ways and using novel approaches. Societies that score high, however, tend to put greater
emphasis on the “tried and tested” methods, are unlikely to take on high risks,
and are generally considered to be averse to ambiguity.

d. Power distance: This dimension is concerned with the respect for authority, hierarchy and status. The respect for authority and status are typically more dominant in high-power-distance countries than low-power-distance countries, where decisions from the top can (and
should) usually be questioned and are typically based on reasoning and factual information. In extremely high-power-distance countries, the
respect for authority figures, such as teachers, superior managers and parents, is generally so high that their decisions are not questioned and
have to be obeyed.

e. Long-term orientation: This dimension is typically concerned with the time frame in which the individual operates. Short-term orientation is
primarily concerned with the present and immediate future, such as favoring immediate benefits over long-term gain. The emphasis in longterm-oriented cultures is more clearly on the continuity of the past to the
future, such as the adaptation of traditions to modern life, and the perseverance towards slow gains.

Hofstede notes that some relativism is necessary since not everyone in a society fits the cultural pattern precisely. However, there is enough statistical
regularity to identify trends and tendencies. The good thing for international marketers is that these trends and tendencies, visualized in the country
ratings, can be used to their advantage.
“Post-globalization” markets are those regions in which most peoples’ needs and wishes are increasingly being homogenized—even with strong
opposition from anti-globalization defenders. They are significantly bigger and consequently more attractive than the old home markets, but are also
infinitely more complex. There are many local rules and expectations, particularly in terms of differences betweens markets and consumers.
Among the consumer differences, culture is one of the most important aspects,  “consumer behavior is culture-

Atomization of the media
The first multinational brands could afford to tackle local markets one by one, with local agencies using local creative work developed according to
certain guidelines. They could easily reach their target market via very limited and centralized mass media. Since mass communication was new
and exciting, people were more receptive to its message, which was trusted just “because it was on TV”. The message was also seen as reliable because
consumers usually shared the values it expressed, as they were produced by

Challenging times for international advertising campaigns
their own culture and for that culture. Over the years, that trust has been eroded, while the diversity of brands and the media has increased. Further-
more, with the advent of satellite, cable TV and the Internet, the media have become very atomized and specialized, making it difficult and expensive for
brands to communicate effectively with their target audiences. At the same time, international travel, mass tourism and the Internet have eroded borders,
making cross-border branding discrepancies apparent and increasing the level of consumer expectations.
Increased competition and consumer expectations
Big companies are facing a dilemma. For some, the only way to keep growing is to expand abroad, even though this means taking on the challenges of cross-cultural communication. The arrival of new competitors on
the home turf creates a greater need to defend the brands at home by offering better communication and higher quality in products and services to compete
with these foreign entrants. As a result, the total target market of each company is likely to become more multilingual and the share of the target
population speaking the language of the company’s home market will shrink.

Cross-cultural communication will therefore become a way of life for brands, and very often the only way to survive.
Consumers interact with brands thanks to new media
The Internet and the rest of new media are responsible for another major shift in the brand-consumer dialogue. In the past, information about a brand
came through TV and radio ads, printed material, and little more. Feedback
was limited to a few postal exchanges, resulting in one-way communication.
In order to know more about their target audience and how the brand was being understood, companies had to interview samples of people in the
street, at home, or in focus groups. Gathering information took a long time.
However, it was important, because “branding has traditionally relied on a two-way dialogue with consumers” .
Mobile phones and especially the Internet have introduced brands into the era of two-way communication. Online communities, blogs and websites
have become some of the major sources of information for and about brands.
Thousands of consumers (and not only those in a focus group) have become accustomed to interacting with the brand, writing emails, volunteering
information, and shopping online. They actually expect to be able to give feedback to the brands they feel identified with. Communication is now continuous and two-way; we are in fact already in the web 2.0 era, and one
medium leads to the other (from TV and radio to Internet, for instance).

still the relationship between the brand and the consumer”
Web advertising has the opportunity to be the pivot, where we take an unknown but interested consumer and get the person to invite our brand
into a dialogue. Strong Web media brands create that pivot point. The advertiser gets the opportunity to invite somebody who’s in one relation-
ship—with a media brand—into another one. It’s not just about serving ads to the right person—it’s about finding the right person in the right mindset to start a relationship. The ability to turn that critical corner, and
start a relationship on an individual level, is what makes the power of the Web so incredibly exciting. This dialogue helps companies know their audience much better; it is a planner’s dream come true. However, the audience has come to expect very
high standards in service, speed of response, and quantity of information.
Furthermore, what used to be the communication in pre-Internet times, i.e. TV and press advertisements, is now only considered a starting point for a
discussion, a statement of intent, which is up for negotiation with the consumer in this brand-consumer dialogue. This is worth the effort because
“the ultimate return on the investment is not click-through or even brand awareness, it’s the actual business value added—the enhanced relationship
with the consumer… and online has proven to be the most efficient way to build this relationship” .

The fact that this relationship-building and two-way communication process takes place in a global environment means that the brand is expected
to be able to carry out its dialogue with the consumers in their own language:
-after all no politician would dream of asking you for your vote in a language other than the one you speak, since only in your language will they be able
truly to reach you and persuade you. The same applies to brands.
In foreign markets, respect is measured in accordance with the effort that each brand shows in understanding the local culture. A new level of trust and respect between brands and consumers is more important than ever
and, thanks to the Internet, more achievable. And respect is just the pre-requisite a brand has to earn in order to gain the right to engage in a dialogue
with the local target.

Consumers become multitasking prosumers
The relationship between brands and consumers has changed quite dramatically in the last 20 years. Brands have become very significant in consumers’
lives, almost a political choice. Therefore consumers have learnt to search for information in order to make more informed decisions.
“the receiver has been transformed into an active
information seeker” . This new kind of proactive

Challenging times for international advertising campaigns
consumer is also known as prosumer and,
explains “prosumers not only seek out information and opinions prior to purchase, they are marketing savvy and demand that retailers, marketers and
manufacturers are aware of their value as consumers and treat them accordingly”.
The Internet has become one of the prosumer’s favorite tools to gather information about brands and products. On websites, people can find many
answers, and when they do not, they can send an email to the company (or call the free phone number) to enquire about a certain issue. The company is
expected to reply, often in real time. Failure to do so could alienate the consumer. If the issue is recognized as important, the website’s communication should then be corrected. The Internet also affords the longest 2
interaction time between consumer and brand of all the media, as visitors on average interact with a brand for several minutes, compared to a few seconds
for TV, radio and press ads. This means the content comes under much closer scrutiny, and therefore any error or gaffe is much more likely to be
picked up.
Very often prosumers are well traveled and learned, multilingual and tend to multitask in their media consumption pattern. This means that
reaching them requires great coordination of communication across media
for best use of media synergies. This also means that international consistency in a brand’s core values has to be reached to avoid confusing the
global target, while local declinations of these values and other “by-values” can be added to add local flavor.

Budget limitations
All these changes, including the increased expectations, have taken place in the context of falling advertising budgets due to strong competition, thus
forcing brands to rethink their strategies in terms of efficiency and return on investment.
Global Advertising Strategies
In the previous pages the reader has become more familiar with the current advertising environment. In this context, the purpose of examining global
2 US Internet users are spending more time online and less with other media, according to research by Burst! Media. Their findings also show that consumers are
continuing to spend their media time among various media types, which has made it
increasingly difficult for marketers to not only reach their target consumer, but also get their attention.
advertising strategies is to determine those practices that are employed by the widest range of international advertisers.
Standardization vs. adaptation of the original strategy
The communication boom that started in the 1970s led advertisers to invent
“international” marketing strategies under the influence of the standardization approach: promoting the same product with the same brand name and
the same strategy everywhere in the world.
The strategy of standardization has been successful in a multitude of cases and is approved by marketing managers due to its cost-effectiveness.
“Standardization versus adaptation of international advertising strategies” list the reasons that
make the standardization approach appealing to multinationals:
a) It allows the multinational corporation to maintain a consistent image
and identity throughout the world.
b) It minimizes confusion among buyers who travel frequently.
c) It allows the multinational company to develop a single, coordinated
advertising campaign across different markets.
d) This approach results in considerable savings in media costs and
advertising illustrative material.
The standardization approach has also been at the forefront of the market
globalization process.

Globalization refers to the move towards international trading in a single global marketplace and also blurring between social and cultural differences between countries. Some perceive it as Westernization or even

However, a very important lesson that companies have had to learn in the age of globalization is that the blurring of cultural differences does not mean
disrespecting the local culture. In order to overcome the cultural boundaries and to transmit a message across cultures effectively and respectfully, an
emerging approach that seems to achieve better results than the standardization approach consists in the adaptation or localization of the original
advertising strategy
a list of the arguments introduced by the proponents of the adaptation approach:
a) Separate messages should be used to reach buyers in different markets
by fitting the message to each particular country.

Challenging times for international advertising campaigns
b) There are insurmountable differences (e.g. cultural, economic, legal, media and product dissimilarities) between countries and even between
regions of the same country.
c) These differences necessitate the adaptation or development of
new/different advertising strategies.
d) Assuming similar buying motives for consumers across foreign markets may be simplistic, or even dangerous.
Therefore an immediate consequence for organizations that wish to compete in the global marketplace,  is that they need an
“in-depth understanding of foreign marketing environments to assess the
advantages of its own products and services”

The theoretical framework for the supporters of the standardization approach in the online arena is that a single website can operate efficiently as a
company’s link to the whole world by overcoming both physical and cultural boundaries. This seems to include the assumption that most Internet users
can speak English. Thus English can operate as a lingua franca bringing this new digital world and its inhabitants closer together.
Relevant data show that this might no longer be the case. The notion that English is the dominant language on the Net is now considered outdated.
- shows that more than 70% of the websites available in 2007 are written in a language other than English.
The idea that English will be the official language in business and that commercial transactions will in the future take place in a borderless world,
under the same legislation and a homogenized culture, has been a common utopia in marketing circles for the last few decades. Facts show otherwise:
geographical boundaries have just been replaced with cultural ones.

a five-stage strategy for translation” , group approaches to the translating of advertisements into five
broad categories:
• Do not change advertisement: retain both graphics and text.
• Export advertisements: play on the positive stereotypes of the originating culture, retaining logo, slogan etc. in the original. If necessary, have
additional copy in target language.
• Straight translation.
• Adaptation: keep visuals, change text slightly or significantly.
• Revision: keep visuals, write new text.

advertising markets as target areas for translation” , describe
what they consider the three main strategies usually followed in the translation of advertisements:
• Major transfer = literalness (image and semantic contents preserved,
exotic features of the original highlighted).
• Translation with minimum changes = advertising compromise = partial
adaptation (various degrees of departure from the original, partly
adapted discourses).
• Adapted translation = cultural transplantation = total adaptation (images
and text transformed to appear more alluring to the target audience,
exchange of picture and sound or text for a domestic milieu).

Challenging times for international advertising campaigns
Literalness and adaptation constitute extreme variants of translational policy, the continuum in between being filled in by various degrees of departure from the original advert.
This means that each instance of advertising or marketing is a unique one and the strategy adopted is a hybrid of the levels introduced by the two groups of linguists. Even in the same case of marketing translation, a
combination of strategies can be used with success.
Messages differ primarily in the degree to which content or form is the dominant consideration. Of course, the content of a message can never be
completely abstracted from the form, and the form is nothing apart from
content; but in some messages the content is of primary consideration,
and in others the form must be given a higher priority.
This is the reason the translator must choose either to be faithful to the form of the original message or try to convey to the readers of the target language
the same effect that the original text caused to its readers.  There are varying degrees of such translations:
Between the two poles of translating (i.e. between strict formal equivalence and complete dynamic equivalence) there are a number of intervening grades, representing various acceptable standards of literary translat-

On the web, a translated website that is tied to the form of the original
website resembles the translations

What makes things more interesting are the notions that
in order to justify the choice of dynamic equivalence over formal correspondence. These are the principle of equivalent effect and the notion of cultural
translation or translation from culture to culture.

a translation that is based on the principle of equivalent effect “is not
concerned with matching the receptor-language message with the source- language message, but that the dynamic relationship between receptor and
message should be substantially the same as that which existed between the original receptors and the message” .

This notion is,  what marketers should ask for from translators when they localize
websites, since linguistic equivalents in a cross-cultural environment signify
successful localization. An absence of dynamic equivalence and a tendency
towards formal correspondence signifies a less successful adaptation of the
marketing strategy. This process can be applied to both iconic and linguistic
segments of a website alike.
Markets are people, not products. There may be global products, but there
are no global people. There may be global brands but there are no global motivations for buying these brands.
In order to ensure the accessibility of a marketing campaign to different cultures, the practice of adaptation or localization seems to be the most
appropriate approach. Every marketing strategy has a clear objective, to convince consumers to buy a service or a product. This is the desired effect
of every marketing move, of every advertisement ever made, and this is the effect to be duplicated while translating them, to convince new consumers
that speak another language to buy from the same source again and again.
This is best achieved through an adaptation approach.
Final remarks
The world is now becoming a global market for an ever-increasing and varied number of companies with a common aim: to sell their products to as

Challenging times for international advertising campaigns
many consumers as possible. However, the globalization of the market also means that companies nowadays are addressing an incredibly varied target
audience, with many different languages and, more importantly, cultures.
While until recently many international campaigns could afford to be little
more than translated domestic campaigns, increasing competition and
consumer expectations have enforced substantial changes. All this has happened at a time when many brands now depend heavily on foreign sales.
Consumers have also become very sophisticated and demanding, and new media—in particular the Internet—not only have become new communication channels but have also introduced expectations of interaction and
dialogue with the brand. Because of this, brands now have to be able to engage in a two-way communication with consumers and earn the consumers’ respect in each market in order to increase sales and fight competitors.
And respect can only be achieved through an adaptation approach. Indeed,
“respect” has become the buzzword in the advertising industry.
Consumers respond best to marketers who invest in relationships—reaching out with respect—first to their hearts and then their wallets. To win, begin at the beginning: listen to your audience; market to their needs;
and communicate on their terms.

Products or services will not sell unless people are told about them. It is true that few companies from developing countries are global in operation, so much of the promotion process is limited to either third party advertising (for example the Dutch advertising Kenya grown flowers) or taking part in international exhibitions (for example the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo). As many primary products of developing countries become the end products of developed countries, most promotion is limited to mentions of origin in developed country promotion.
Nonetheless, the rules still apply for effective promotion, whether it is of limited or more extensive nature.
The nature of global promotion
Generally advertising is used primarily for low cost, mass volume consumer products. Products like fertilizers, canned and fresh produce and tobacco - all products which are used by end consumers - are the subject of heavy promotion. In intermediate products like timber, leather and cotton the advertising may be more limited in nature due to the fewer end purchasers of the raw material. Until recently, per capita GNP and advertising were directly correlated, due to the more widespread availability of media and higher incomes, giving a larger potential market for products. This is no longer the case. Optimal levels of advertising occur where the advertising/sales overseas effect is equal to the marginal advertising expenditure. The problem is in estimating the levels of each.
Global expenditure on advertising is believed to be more than US$ 200 billion, with the US the largest spender and Japan next. Individual companies like General Motors and IBM are each spending billions on advertising per annum. Worldwide, although less in Africa, the average advertising expenditure as a percentage of GNP is around 1.4% The major expenditure is on the television medic, the USA spending over US$ 30 billion on this medium. In many African countries radio is widely used, especially where television is not available, as in Malawi. Global programmes like CNN news and MNet television have dramatically increased the global advertising and direct selling possibilities via satellite. Print advertising continues to be a major medium in Africa.
Global promotion
When organisations advertise across international boundaries a number of important factors have to be taken into consideration. Whilst the process is ostensibly straightforward, (that is someone (seller) says something (message) to someone (buyer) through a medium) the process is compounded by certain factors.
The advertising paradigm
These mitigating factors can be called "noise" and have an effect on the decision to "extend", "adapt" or "create" new messages.
Language differences may mean that straight translation is not enough when it comes to message design. Advertising may also play different roles within developed, between developed and underdeveloped and within underdeveloped countries. In developing countries "education" and "information" may be paramount objectives. In developed countries, the objectives may be more persuasive.
Cultural differences may account for the greatest challenge. However, many challenged the need to adapt messages and images, as he argued that consumer differences between countries are diminishing. Changes may be needed only in translation. However, this is only one point of view, as there is no doubt that cultural differences do exist across the world. For example, it would be quite unacceptable to have swimsuited ladies advertising sun care products in Moslem countries.
Three major difficulties occur in attempting to communicate internationally: the message may not get through to the intended recipient, due to a lack of media knowledge; the message may get through but not be understood, due to lack of audience understanding and: the message may get through, be understood but not provoke action. This may be due to lack of cultural understanding.
Media availability is a mitigating factor. Take for example, television. Whilst in Africa a number of countries do have it, the extent of its use and time available may be limited. Media use and availability, coupled with the type of message which may or may not be used, is tied to government control. Government may ban types of advertising, as is the case of cigarettes on British television. Intending advertisers should refer to the appropriate codes of advertising practice available in each country.
Campaign design
Before embarking on a promotion campaign, the following questions, among many others, must be answered. What can be said about the product? Which audience is being reached? What resources does the organisation have? Can someone do it better, say an agency?
Basic steps in conducting an advertising campaign
Advertising must only be undertaken for a specific purpose(s) and this purpose must be translated into objectives. Whilst difficult to directly attribute to advertising, persuasive advertising's ultimate objective is to obtain sales. Other objectives include building a favourable image, information giving, stimulating distributors or building confidence in a product. Whatever objective(s) are pursued, these must be related to the product life cycle and the stage the product is in.
Budgets can be set in a variety of ways. Many budgets use a percentage of past or future sales, objective and task methods, or rule of thumb. "Scientific" methods include sales response methods and linear programming.
Agencies can be used or not depending on the organisation's own abilities, confidence in the market and market coverage. Many  organisations, like Lintas and Interpublic, are worldwide and offer a wide range of expertise.
Message selection
Message selection is probably where the most care has to be taken. Decisions hinge on the standardisation or adaptation of message decision, language nuances and the development of global segments and customers. Message design has three elements, illustration, layout and copy. Advertising appeals should be consistent with tastes, wants and attitudes in the market. Coke and Pepsi have found universal appeal. With the "postmodern age" now affecting marketing, message design is becoming particularly crucial. It is not just a question of selling, but of crafting images. It is often the image, not the product, which is commercialised. Products do not project images, products fill the images which the communication campaign projects. Coke's "Life" theme is a classic in this regard.
In illustrations and artwork, some forms are universally understood. Coke, again, with its "life" theme is applicable anywhere. Cheese and beer adverts would go well together in Germany, but it would have to be cheese and wine in France.
Copy, or text, has been the subject of much debate. Effective translation requires good technical knowledge of the original and translated language, the product and the objectives of the original copy. Care has to be taken that the meaning does not get lost in translation.
Media selection
There is a great difference in variety and availability of media across the world. The choice of media depends on its cost, coverage, availability, character (national or local or international) and its "atmosphere", for example in Zimbabwe posters versus adverts in the Financial Gazette.
In advertising the choice is television, radio, press, magazines, cinema, posters, direct mail, transport and video promotion. In promotion the choice is wide between money-off offers, discounts, extra quantities, and so on. Other forms of promotion include exhibitions, trade missions, public relations, selling, packaging, branding and sponsored events. Governments can be a very powerful promotion source, both by providing organisations like Horticultural Promotion Councils and by giving information and finance. GATT/UNCTAD Geneva provides a promotional service, giving information about products to interested parties. Trade Fairs are popular both as a "flag flyer", and as a product display and competitive information gathering facility. There are over 600 trade fairs worldwide; These include the Hanover Fair, Germany, the Royal Agricultural Show, UK for machinery and the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair for agricultural produce and other things in general. The criterion for participating in fairs is always cost versus effectiveness.
Campaign scheduling
Scheduling international campaigns is difficult, especially if handled alone rather than with an agency or third party. Scheduling decisions involve decisions on when to break the campaign, the use of media solely or in combination, and the specific dates and times for advertisements to appear in the media.
Advertising campaign evaluation is not very easy at the best of times. Whilst it would be nice to say that "X" sales had resulted from "Y" advertising inputs, too many intervening factors make the simple tie-up difficult. Evaluation takes place at two levels - the effectiveness of the message and the effectiveness of the media. Few African developing countries, except Kenya, have any sophisticated methods for campaign evaluation. Measures include message recall tests, diary completion, and brand recall.
Organisation and control
Whilst companies like Nestle may have centrally organised and controlled advertising campaigns, many are devolved to local subsidiaries or agencies. The degree of autonomy afforded to local subsidiaries depends on the philosophy of the organisation and the relative knowledge of the local market by the principal.
Whilst truly global advertising, or even regional advertising, is a phenomenon not normally associated with African countries, as time goes by it may be. Unfortunately few countries see or use the overseas media to advantage. Fro developing countries, trade missions can be very useful for promotion. This is a relatively cheap but effective medium. Few countries activate their overseas embassies sufficiently to generate possible trade. If, however, it is done, the foregoing sections have to be considered carefully in order that possible mistakes are avoided.
No product or service will sell unless it is promoted. Whilst many commodities from developing countries end up as ingredients in downstream industries, which themselves may promote their brand, many suffer from the lack of a reputation.
As with product choice, promotion decisions are subject to the "standardisation " versus "adaptation" argument, depending on the similarities and differences between product and markets. When the appropriate strategy is chosen then decisions have to be made on the promotional campaign objectives, budget, message and media selection, scheduling and evaluation.
As with global intelligence gathering, promotion campaigns can be subject to all sorts of distortion or "noise". These are mainly related to cultural differences but could also be caused by physical problems including lack of media availability and skilled personnel.
1. Adaption versus standardisation Definitions
• Adaption - changing the communications strategy to fit the nuances of each recipient country; and,
• Standardisation - same communications strategy irrespective of country.
• language differences;
• cultural differences;
• physical differences e.g. media form; and,
• egal or regulations differences.
Students should expand on the answers given.
Students should firstly describe steps in conducting a campaign:
• set objectives
• set budget
• Agency use if need be
• Message selection
• Media choice
• Scheduling campaign
• Organisation in evaluation and control of campaign.
Difficulties are associated with a number of factors as follows:-
• Availability of agencies, media, research facilities;
• Cultural differences - language nuances, translation, mores and attitudes, literacy;
• Regulatory and Government issues - what can or cannot be advertised;
• Control issues - control of agency, campaign, expenditure;
• Message difficulties e.g. message not getting through to intended recipient - message getting through but not understood; message getting through, understood but no action resulting;
• Lack of support from retailers, etc.
• Market issues - location, dispersion, buying power, reachability.
3. Students should describe the strategy along the following times:-
• Adaption versus standardisation (e.g. Coca Cola standardised)
• Objectives of campaign
• Mix of communications elements - advertising, promotion, selling, public relations and exhibitions and emphasis
• Message intention and target audience.
• Mix of target audience - consumers, middlemen or other "publics".


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Leo Lingham


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18 years working managerial experience covering business planning, strategic planning, corporate planning, management service, organization development, marketing, sales management etc


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