It is commonly accepted that marketing strategies play very important roles in most international organizations. Some believe that a company which plans to expand its business and want to be a successful international firm should have very effective marketing strategies. As a number of writers (John, Letto-Gillies, Cox and Grimwade 1997, Ketelhohn 1993, Johnson and Scholes 2002) have pointed out, international marketing strategy is concerned with making important policy decisions affecting the long-time direction of the company. This paper first proposes the importance of international company’s marketing strategy, and then considers how to make a competitive marketing strategy and carry out it in a right way. After that, it will look at how to understand ‘change’ in business environment and what organizations should pay attention to in a changeable market. In the final part, it will focus on a specific international company’s global marketing strategy.
Importance of international marketing strategy.
Over the years, many definitions of ‘marketing strategy’ have been made and developed, a typical definition was made by Quinn (cited in John, Letto-Gillies, Cox and Grimwade, 1997) who describes marketing strategy as:
… the pattern or plan that integrates an organisation’s major goals, policies and action sequences into a cohesive whole. A well-formulated marketing strategy helps to marshal and allocate an organisation’s resources into a unique and viable posture based on its relative internal competencies and shortcomings, anticipated changes in the environment and contingent moves by intelligent opponents.
According to John, Letto-Gillies, Cox and Grimwade (1997), although there were many definitions about marketing strategy, most of them emphasize the same direction in which the organization is developing, where the organization is going, where the organization is or where it should be. In fact, problems mentioned by them are the biggest headache and trouble maker for most international enterprises, thus marketing strategies enable companies to find out how and where to develop. As Hill (2005) sees the marketing strategy in international business, nowadays, process of the global economy and liberalization of investment environment result in many global markets becoming extremely competitive, in order to get more profit in such an international environment, a company should have a very clear marketing strategy which cares a lot about its position.
In all models of marketing strategies, international marketing strategy is a very large part and it affects other part of strategies to a international company in a certain degree. As Manu (1992) has pointed out, more and more organizations take the whole world as their market with the quickening process of globalization in the past decades, the role and effective marketing strategies in different geographic market-places become a greater need for them to analyse caused by the growth in the globalization of business and markets. All these indicate that marketing strategies do have important influence on international enterprise’s performance; therefore an effective marketing strategy cannot be ignored when companies plan to expand their business.
How to make a competitive marketing strategy.
From the very start, how to make a competitive marketing strategy is always the problem which international companies have to face. As Ketelhohn (1993) has pointed out, a strategic analysis is the most important of all; it starts by setting the generic strategies which are hypotheses in the industry and finding out the main success factors which are related to each strategy. Then consulting teams in the company should check their understanding of those marketing strategies by comparing them with documented facts. Once they are satisfied with those marketing strategies which they think fit their enterprises’ capabilities, they are able to choose consultants and build strengths in key success factors in which the firm is weak by recommending investment projects.
All these details should be considered into companies’ marketing strategies, after planning and making marketing strategies, the next important step is taking those marketing strategies into action and managing them in a right way, good strategic management is not only related to one department, but the responsibility of the whole company, as Johnson and Scholes (2002) see it, ‘marketing strategy is about how organizations perform overall. Since very few individuals sit at the very top of organizations, their experience of, and contribution to, strategic success is from “below”. They will operate in parts of an organization where their day-to-day work is dominated by issues about that function’. According to them, enabling the success of marketing strategy in action should from the very top managers to individuals lower down as resources and competences which are crucial in this process are controlled by them.
‘Change’ in business environment.
Change is accepted widely in our modern life, it also exists in the business environment all the time, according to the research of Drummond, Ensor and Ashford (2003), ‘the phrase “change is the only certainty” has become something of a business mantra. All organizations are subject to increasing levels of change.’ Actually, every change exists in the market has the original factor which concerned with the environment where international organizations carry out their marketing strategies, Carter (2002) identifies those factors as political factors, economic factors, technological factors, social or cultural factors, legal factors and competitive factors. It is very important for international companies to full understand these various factors and identify the most important kinds of factors which may influence the company and its consumers’ relationship when they carrying out foreign marketing strategies.
Peugeot Company was established in France in 1890 and now it has become one of the ten biggest car manufactures in the world. In order to explore the market, Peugeot invested in Guangzhou, China, in 1985, it failed and left China in 1997. The main reason is lack of competitiveness of its products. On the other hand, Dongfeng Peugeot was created in China. From the external environment, four pieces of information are very clear: firstly, China entered into WTO and then cut its tariffs on auto imports. Secondly, China’s car market is booming.
Thirdly, personal incomes are increasing. Finally, more competitors are entering into China’s market. By analysing and summarising Peugeot’s marketing strategies, there are four main marketing strategies related to its operations: firstly, Peugeot tries to improve the quality and design and find out the acceptance of Chinese marketplace. Secondly, it cuts prices to boost sales. Thirdly, it offers an effective on-line sale channel. Finally, it tries to improve customer service all the time.
In conclusion, there is no doubt that marketing strategy plays a crucial role in international enterprises. Making an effective global marketing strategy is a good beginning, carrying out the marketing strategy in a proper way is very essential in the globalization process, understanding the market’s change and identifying problems which is related to a company are also very important in carrying out the marketing strategy. All these steps are linked with one another; they are key points relating to the marketing strategy which is really necessary in international organization.
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Hill, C.W.L (2005) International Business. New York: The McGraw-Hill Companies.
John, R., Letto-Gillies, G., Cox, H., and Grimwade, N. (1997) Global Business Strategy. London: International Thomson Business Press.
Johnson, G. and Scholes, K (2002) Exploring Corporate Strategy. Edinburgh: Pearson Education Limited.
Ketelhohn,W(1993)International Business Strategy.London: Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd.
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Manu, F.A. (1992), “Innovation Orientation, Environment and Performance: A Comparison of U.S. and European Markets,” Journal of International Business Studies, 23 (2), 332-59.