In the early 1980s, few would have guessed that the world economy would change so dramatically. Cars were not very different from what they had been in the 1960s. Grocery stores (rather than ‘supermarkets’) in 1980 still had no electronic inventory or point-of-sale systems. No one could even have imagined the widespread use of home computers or the burgeoning use of the internet.
While the global economic framework had expanded, changed, and drawn in new and different players, such as Japan and Taiwan, the basic features remained the same: economic dominance by the USA, with the irrepressible ascent of Japan and a rehabilitated Germany combining with other European Economic Community countries to form a single trading bloc. The massive potential of China, India, Brazil, and Russia, not to mention the so-called Third World nations, were relatively untapped.
But in the light of increasing globalisation of the world economy, global marketing is now a necessity for the survival of all organisations, big or small, rather than a luxury traditionally reserved for the multinational corporations. As consumers and citizens, we live in an era when almost everything can be made and sold anywhere. The phrase ‘global village’ is such an integral part of the international vocabulary that it is difficult to conceive of a place which is not touched by something ‘international’.
Climbing Mount Everest, for instance, once an awe-inspiring achievement for the brave few, is no longer an expedition but a commoditised package tour. Growth in the total volume and value of world trade now exceeds any other period in history. The World Trade Organisation puts the global trade in goods today at an estimated US$11.76 trillion per annum, while services at some US$2.71 trillion per annum.
The importance of global marketing for companies in Wales means we need to re-think the way we market to foreign consumers. Every successful company has a marketing department that works diligently to make the company known throughout their country and eventually the world, and global marketing is simply marketing to the entire world and overcoming barriers and meeting the expectations of varieties of consumers all over the world.
Put simply, marketing consists of establishing relationships with others through the planning, execution and successful distribution of goods to satisfied consumers. Some of the most successful companies to achieve global marketing include auto manufacturers such as Toyota, Ford, Honda, General Motors, and Volkswagen. These companies all started as small entities in their own countries and eventually achieved successful global implementation.
New companies have modern marketing tools to help them achieve successful global marketing. The internet and e-commerce immediately makes a company a global business. Since the internet is a world-wide entity, a small company based in Brecon can easily reach customers in China with the click of a mouse. Customers can literally come from anywhere.
But successful global marketing was not achieved overnight for companies. Global marketing is a process just like other aspects of marketing. Usually a company starts out with a small export base. They work hard to achieve domestic marketing first and then they begin tackling the rest of the world.
Some companies tackle the small export base and they don’t get any further from there. Global marketing is more than just exporting goods to another country; it is successful implementation of a product into a foreign trade market.
Marketing decisions are made at home and sent overseas and expected to sink or swim. But the foreign customer is very different from the domestic customer. Language barriers, customs paperwork, and shipping costs deter many companies from becoming global entities.
Cultural ignorance can also hinder a company from global marketing. One of the best ways to target the foreign market is to create products in the country that are based on the needs of the local customers. Marketers that create local product development are called ‘polycentric’. A polycentric marketer understands that each country has different needs and they must market to the country differently than they would in their country.
The world is one big market that Welsh companies must take advantage of. There are marketers in each country that will help firms meet the needs and expectations of all the countries in which they sell their products.
A good example of a successful global marketing company is the Coca-Cola Corporation, where the beverage remains the same, but the can changes. The advertisements are different in each country, and instead of merely being tolerated, they have translated their logo and brand name to suit the needs of each country in which they market.
The goal of businesses in Wales should be to become like the Coca-Cola Corporation and sell the same product to everyone in the world, with perhaps just one or two small changes to the product that will suit the needs of everyone in the world.
There are four simple steps a company must establish to start global marketing: first, a company needs to achieve domestic dominance. If a company is trusted at home, it is easier to integrate their focus into the global market. A company that only focuses on marketing to their own country will eventually run out of people to market to and lose its place. Some companies can remain successful domestic entities because the demand for the product on the home front is high.
Second, a company must have a home focus with exporting. The products and message from the company should be based on home values, but it should be able to cross country lines and incorporate the message to foreign markets.
Third, marketing to global markets must be mixed with overseas organisations. Changing the marketing strategy to become a polycentric strategy is the best way to adapt to the needs of all the potential customers throughout the world.
Fourth, and finally, the value of the product must be on demand in a global market. The company needs to focus on serving the needs over customers throughout the world; this is achieved by targeted marketing to individual countries and determining the customer needs in each country.
Companies in Wales need to developed global strategies to recognise the financial aspect of each consumer and respond to different marketing ploys. Global marketing is unpredictable and firms must be aware of different opportunities and be willing to adapt and create new products for global demands.