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Respond on Global Versus Local Marketing Assignment

Assignment 5.1: Dialogue 5 — Global Versus Local Marketing

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We can look at marketing from a strategic viewpoint that uses the marketing mix (product development, pricing, distribution, and advertising) as a complex tactical tool that must be integrated and implemented only after the organization has chosen its overall strategy. As such, marketing is a “top management” responsibility. It appears logical to assume that if a firm’s strategy is global, then the planning and execution of its marketing mix should also be global. However, due to cultural and traditional differences in target customers, this may not always be the case.

For example, the French yogurt maker Danone has spent considerable financial and human resources to “educate” the average Chinese consumer to eat yogurt, which was previously unknown as a food item for breakfast. Without this campaign, Danone could not have used the advertising campaigns that it had successfully applied in Europe and North America.

An older example from the 1960s is the Japanese motorbike maker, Honda Motorcycle. At the time, the U.S. market was dominated by traditional domestic firms, such as Harley-Davidson, and several British manufacturers. The first thing to appreciate is that Honda chose to enter the market at a time when motorcycles were basically in the mature phase of the product life-cycle, with a narrowly defined and well-established target customer (“bikers”). Honda’s overall strategic goal was to redefine the market by changing the nature of the motorcycle “experience” to favor a product that could be used “by anyone for everyday transportation.” This meant that the target customer was not a specialized sub-sector of bikers but the mass market. By redefining the market, Honda essentially created a growth market out of a mature market in the 1970s by applying the strategy developed in the domestic Japanese market first to the US, and then globally.

Many successful marketing campaigns in the recent years have started with a global concept launched worldwide using both traditional and online means. For example, a worldwide message telling people that drinking Coke would make them happy and inviting them to live on the positive side of life was behind “The Coke Side of Life,” a new global marketing platform for the brand launched in the second half of 2006.

In the pre-Internet and pre-globalization period, a national marketing strategy was described as a plan that determined how an organization could best achieve its objectives vis-à-vis competitive pressures and scarce resources (money, time, and people). In the 21st century, a global marketing strategy is also determined by cultural, linguistic, political, and historic considerations and e-business compatibility. Although the final verdict is still years ahead, it seems that widespread use of the Internet has “flattened” our world more than it has fragmented it, at least from the perspective of a marketing manager.

Taken together, a manager needs to address a continuum of four principal areas when developing a modern marketing strategy:

  • Objectives (typically framed in terms of short term profits or long term market share)
  • Customer targets (which segments or subsets of the market to target)
  • Competitor targets (how to position offerings in a segment with regard to the competition)
  • Customer compatibility (cultural, historical, linguistic)
  • Technical compatibility (internet)


  1. Select a product or a service that, if launched in the US, Western Europe, China, Japan, India, Brazil, or South Africa would benefit from a uniform marketing campaign. Then, select another product of your choice that you think would require a local advertising campaign. Suggested products include mobile phone services, foodstuffs, pharmaceutical drugs, or new airline promotional campaign for business travelers, B2B online services, and so on.
  2. By the end of Wednesday, post to the Forum a substantive report in which you describe the reasons for choosing the product, together with a brief description of your objectives, customer targets, possible competitor targets, and customer compatibility.

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