Market availability is the main issue to consider for any one opting to indulge in any business activity. After locating a suitable market one has to look at other factors too. People need to know the products being offered and what makes it better than the others. In order to win the confidence of the buyers and command a competitive market share a company needs to carry out a viable marketing strategy. A proper strategic marketing plan framework will ensure entry to new markets or introduction of products to the market. This paper seeks to analyse the strategic marketing framework and how it may differ in the international context.
“Marketing, whether domestic or international has a similar definition.” (Bennett, 45) However, international marketing is a complex process that depends on: the policies of the host country, different countries have different policies; different countries have different cultures which affects the way a company conducts business. (Bennett, 45) If you are spreading your business to Japan you must do it the Japanese way; language is another major issue, most countries conduct international business in English language, however in order to be competitive a company needs to use the local language. All these factors affect the marketing process in the international arena. However, a basic strategic marketing process is applied and modified appropriately depending on the specific needs of the country in question.
The mission of the company should be clearly stated, its market analysis should be based on the mission. A company has no business launching a product in a market that has no purchasing power. The questions to be asked include who will be the buyers? Do they have the purchasing power? What kind of products do they want or need? How will the company convince them that its products are superior? The financial implications must be seriously considered when a company is setting out its business goal.
The company should set a corporate objective that every worker will strive to achieve. This should be based on the “company’s mission and the types of products offered.”(Kamau, 34) An objective may be in form of targets the company aims at achieving in a certain period of time. The objectives are best arrived at by corporation between different departments or arms of the company.
This entails the actual determination of the potential market. The market constitutes three elements: buying units or customers which may be an individual or business entity; purchasing power, the customers must have money to access the goods or services the company intends to offer. The customers must have access to favourable credit to stimulate good purchasing behaviour that is beneficial to the company. “Market audit should include investigation of the competitor’s strategy and financial performance.”(kamau, 106)
A company seeking to introduce a product in a market should evaluate its “strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.” (Bennett, 290) This evaluation is based on what the competitor is offering or the specific market need. The strengths of a company may be in form quality service delivery or provision of quality products. The strengths of a company will enhance customer confidence in the company. The weaknesses may be failure to offer quality goods or services. If a company has poor strategy that leads to gross inefficiency, then the business will be in jeopardy. Weakness may also occur when the firm provides products that are similar to the competitors. The company should be able to identify the opportunities available to it and utilize them effectively. Opportunities which may include market expansion or increased demand for the products require additional financing and the company should be able to access credit facilities to increase its capacity. Threats to any business are common due to various factors. Threat may be due to diminished demand for the products as a result of difficult economic situations or completion. The company should put measures in place to protect itself from any threats in the market.
Assumptions need to be made in order to predict the future position of the company or market behaviour. Assumptions will be made based on information collected during market research. The assumptions may include projected growth of the company, potential threats and opportunities. The assumptions should be carefully made in accordance with the prevailing conditions to enable the company achieve its objectives.
Making objectives and strategies
“Based on the results of market audit/ research the company should set objectives that are consistent with the prevailing market conditions.” (Josh, 160)The strategies formulated will depend on the situation in the market; if the product is completely new then the people will need information on the product, this can be done through advertising and promotions. A strategy may also be formulated to counter a competitor’s momentum and enable a new company to command a competitive market share. “Market entry strategies may include; advertising, sales promotions, competitive prices and social responsibilities.” (Lopez, 145)
Estimate expected results
Based on the anticipated reception of the goods and services to be provided the company should proceed to estimate the expected results.
Identify alternative Plans and mixes
The company should always have a fall back plan in case the initial one fails. Both plans should be viable in order to safe gourd the firm from double tragedy. For maximum profitability the firm should explore the available mixes the firm can use.
Resource Allocation and Monitoring
A proper budgeting process should be performed to determine the cost of establishing the business. The running cost for the initial year should be included in the budget. The company should assess the different sources of finance available to it and choose the one that has minimum interest rates.
First year detailed implementation program
The strategic marketing framework should include a detailed implementation plan for the initial year of launching the business.
How and Why the Details of This Marketing Process May Differ in the International Context
International marketing entails “marketing activities carried out by companies overseas or across national border lines.” (Bennett, 35) A strategic marketing framework for international business will vary depending on the nations involved and the types of goods and services to be provided. The strategy will be of same structure but will be modified to suit the needs of different countries. The different strategies for different countries will arise because of:
Different countries have different policies on different products. For example, Cigarettes and alcoholic drinks are taxed heavily in Kenya but this may not be the case for other countries.
Some countries are richer than others and also may have a bigger market for a certain product than others. Strategic market for a country like China will differ considerably for a country such as Rwanda. Strategic marketing planning framework will differ in terms of resource allocation.
Different countries have different modes of transport and different levels of infrastructure development. The sourcing and distribution of the product from the home country may differ from one country to another. Some countries may be far away from the source country and therefore logistical issues may to a big variation in the marketing planning process.
A product may be well received in a certain market due to minimal competition or lack of it all together. On the other hands other markets may be a wash with similar products. If a company wishes to establish its business in the two types of countries then the market entry strategy will be more aggressive in the latter type. This will be accompanied with associated financial implications
Advertising a product may be easier in some countries than others. Countries with extensive internet coverage and usage are better positioned and advertising costs for products will be much less. The media houses in different countries have different pricing rates for advertising services. Furthermore, a company must consider the languages best understood by the locals for proper communication of product information.
The prices for different products may differ from one country to another due to; taxi structures, logistical issues, power costs and other expenditures incurred in the process of product production and delivery to the market.
Language barrier is a major issue in the process of strategic international market planning. Especially when doing market research it becomes difficult for the firm to collect relevant information, this leads to involvement of locals in the market research which increases the cost. Disseminating information about a product to the public is also difficult and requires interpretation into the local languages.
In the international context the strategy planning framework may differ in the following ways: first, the company will need to set specific objectives for each featured country. “The market audit/research will be tailor made for a particular country in question since different countries will offer varying types markets.” (Lopez, 210)SWOT analysis will be done for specific countries because of different market environments especially countries that are economically far apart. However, countries in the same region or trading block may have similar challenges and opportunities. The strategies for market entry will differ substantially due to prevailing market conditions in that country. The budget is the most affected when it comes to applying a strategic marketing planning framework in the international context. The implementation of such a program may take place in phases involving different countries.
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