International Marketing Environment
The key difference between domestic marketing and marketing on an international scale is the multidimensionality and complexity of the many foreign country markets a company may operate in. An international manager needs a knowledge and awareness of these complexities and the implications they have for international marketing management.
Environmental Influences on International Marketing
1. Social/cultural environment
The social and cultural influences on international marketing are immense. Differences in social conditions, religion and material culture all affect consumers’ perceptions and patterns of buying behaviour. It is this area that determines the extent to which consumers across the globe are either similar or different and so determines the potential for global branding and standardisation. A failure to understand the social/cultural dimensions of a market are complex to manage, as McDonald’s found in India. It had to deal with a market that is 40 per cent vegetarian, had an aversion to either beef or pork among meat-eaters and a hostility to frozen meat and fish, but with the general Indian fondness for spice with everything. To satisfy such tastes, McDonald’s discovered it needed to do more than provide the right burgers. Customers buying vegetarian burgers wanted to be sure that these were cooked in a separate area in the kitchen using separate utensils and sauces like McMasala and McImli were developed to satisfy the Indian taste for spice. Interestingly however, these are now innovations they have introduced into other markets.
2. Legal environment
Legal systems vary both in content and interpretation. A company is not just bound by the laws of its home country but also by those of its host country and by the growing body of international law. This can affect many aspects of a marketing strategy – for instance advertising – in the form of media restrictions and the acceptability of particular creative appeals. ). Product acceptability in a country can be affected by minor regulations on such things as packaging and by more major changes in legislation. It is important, therefore, for the firm to know the legal environment in each of its markets. These laws constitute the ‘rules of the game’ for business activity. The legal environment in international marketing is more complicated than in domestic markets since it has three dimensions:
(1) local domestic law;
(2) international law;
(3) domestic laws in the firm’s home base.