Global Marketing Strategies
Any company engaging in global marketing operations is faced with a number of very important strategic decisions. At the outset, a decision in principle needs to be made committing the company to some level of internationalization. Increasingly, firms will find that the presence of a strong global logic demands that global marketing must be pursued for competitive reasons and that it is often not an optional strategy. Once committed, the company needs to decide where to go, both in terms of geographic regions and specific countries.
During the 1990's, a changing competitive environment has considerably affected these choices. In the past, companies have moved from largely domestic or regional firms to become global. As multidomestic companies, these firms competed in many local markets and attempted to meet the local market requirements as best they could. Although many firms still approach their international marketing effort this way, an increasing number are taking a global view of their marketplace.
The global firm operates differently from the multidomestic or regional company. Pursuing a global marketing strategy does not necessarily mean that the company is attempting to standardize all of its marketing programs on a global scale. Furthermore, a global marketing strategy also does not imply that the company is represented in all markets of the world. Rather, a global marketing strategy requires a new way of thinking about global marketing operations. Global companies are fully aware of their strengths across as many markets as possible. Consequently, the global company will build its marketing strategy on the basis of a thorough understanding of global logic pressures and will enter any markets dictated by the overall global logic it faces in any given industry.
A global company is also keenly aware of the value of global size and market share. As a result, a number of strategic decisions, such as which markets to enter, will become subject to the overall global strategy. Rather than making each market pay its way separately, a global firm may aim to break even in some markets if this will help its overall position by holding back a key competitor. As strategy begins to resemble that of a global chess game, companies have to develop new skills and learn about new concepts to survive. Understanding and exploiting the lead market principle will become more important.
Globalization of many industries today is a fact. Some companies have no choice but to become globalized; once key competitors in their industries are globalized, other firms must follow. This leads to a rethinking of the strategic choices and inevitably will lead to new priorities. Globalization is not simply a new term for something that has existed all along; it is a new competitive game requiring companies to adjust to and learn new ways of doing business. For many companies, survival depends on how well they learn this new game.
As we have seen in this chapter, globalization has become a multifaceted term requiring companies to carefully monitor their markets. Globalization may occur in several parts of a firm's business and may require different responses whether it occurs at the customer, market, industry, or competitor level. As a result, there are many types of generic global marketing strategies a firm may choose from, moving the fundamental choice away from whether a global marketing strategy should be pursued toward which global marketing strategy should be adopted.
In the future, we can expect to see global marketing strategies adopted by firms from all parts of the world. As markets become increasingly accessible to all firms, the trend toward globalization will continue. Firms in developing and emerging economies, which are as affected by the global logic as those based in the developed world, will begin to concentrate on their own strengths and develop global marketing strategies for a particular sector. This is a key reason why managers in emerging markets will need a global mindset as much as their peers in developed countries.
Global marketing strategies are also becoming an issue for firms not typically associated with globalization. Smaller firms, although focused, will increasingly find benefits from a global marketing strategy. To make the best of their limited resources, these firms will likely select niche strategies but pursue global reach in many key markets. Furthermore, many of the new venture start-ups will join the global game from the outset as they compete for key markets globally. Such venture firms will implement global marketing strategies early and by design, in contrast with their earlier international brethren such as Nestlé, Unilever, and others, who more often became global accidentally rather than as the result of an explicit and intentional strategy.