How to Enter Into an International Market

There are clearly cases when the same consumer segment exists in many countries across the world, though obviously to differing degrees. Thus, the very rich in Korea, China, the Netherlands, or Brazil may all want to buy luxury cards such as a Mercedes, and that car can be positioned as such worldwide to this segment. Cross-cultural anthropologists talk about cross-cultural cohorts, groups of people who belong to different cultures or nationalities but nevertheless share common sets of needs, values, and attitudes. Thus, no matter where they live, consumer groups such as new mothers, computer users, international business travelers, audiophiles, high-end photographers, and so on represent groups with similar needs and wants. Because babies' bottoms are the same everywhere, diapers such as Pampers can use the same marketing and advertising strategies worldwide. This could act as an impetus for an international marketer, to draw out an entry point based on identical global segmentation.

Many researchers, companies and marketers have conducted research to find out if such global segments can be identified using psycho-graphic research. Alfred Boote, a psycho-graphic researcher, studied the comparative value structures of 500 women each in Germany, United Kingdom, and France in 1978, and found both similarities and differences. In terms of similarities, it appeared through statistical analysis that all three countries had four types, or segments of women labeled "traditional homemaker", "contemporary homemaker", "and appearance conscious"and"spontaneous". However, while the "traditional home makers" accounted for about one third of the sample from each country, the proportions for the other three segments varied dramatically across the countries. The "contemporary home makers" were found more in the UK than in the other two countries, the "appearance conscious" group was made up almost entirely of Germans, while the "spontaneous" was mostly French. Boote's conclusion was that while a common mode of entry in to an international market for a marketer might be possible for these three European countries, thematic variations across the countries, to accommodate country-specific differences, were also advisable.

The young and Rubicam research agency finally has its own theory-based global segmentation scheme, called Cross Cultural Consumer Characterizations; in which consumers in 20 countries have been placed into 7 segments based on data on their goals, motivations, and values. These 7 segments included 2 are characterized by financial insecurity, three that comprise the "middle majority" and 2 that are more driven by either internal values or social betterment.

No matter what strategy a business adapts to enter into an international market, it is vital that a prior research is sufficiently been conducted and also about the acceptability in other countries of marketing practices in another, and allow the local subsidiary managers inadequate input into the tailoring of marketing programs for their countries. Global companies, such as Nestle, have elaborate "cross-pollination" mechanisms and systems to ensure that marketing ideas and practices used in one market are known and made available to managers in other countries, such as newsletters and conferences. But the decision of whether and when to use a particular idea is usually left to local managers.

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