When considering the marketing, product, and positioning strategies involved with taking a US based consumer product global, there are many variables to consider. Some key considerations include; the market’s economy, political climate, legal system, and of course, there are cultural considerations (Levens, 2012). Of these, culture may have the most effect on how to market a product internationally.
There are currently two schools of thought for international marketing, which are the adoption of a standardized strategy or a localized strategy (Solomon, 2015). One would think that with globalization and the exportation of western culture, that most consumer products would be able to adopt a standardized strategy because, after all, a TV is a TV and a washing machine is a washing machine. Unfortunately things are not so simple, and we need to be careful not to make the assumption that the whole world is exactly like the United States.
Perhaps a TV is a TV and a smartphone is a smartphone, and other than the socio-economic factors that decide whether or not it is a luxury item, marketing could be essentially uniform. But when you consider other items such as refrigerators, clothing washers ; dryers, dishwashing machines, personal hygiene products, and so many more, there can be many cultural factors to consider. For example,many cultures shop for groceries several times per week, some even daily, Americans shop for groceries, on average, once per week.
Since Americans only shop once per week, American homes have the largest refrigerators on the planet with an average size of 17. 5 cubic feet (Rees, 2013). With such cultural differences, it would not be possible to use a standardized marketing strategy, but is a localized strategy the way to go. Instead of choosing between a localized strategy or a standardized strategy, many international marketers balance the two strategies to a degree and use an adapted global marketing strategy (Armstrong ; Kotler, 2012).
By adopting an adapted global marketing strategy marketers can “think globally, but act locally. ” In doing so, the marketing strategy and marketing mix elements are adjusted to the market being served. Although the overall brand strategy is standardized, advertising and product mix is localized. The negative effect of this is the additional expense associated with local marketing and possibly having to modify products (Solomon 2015). However, this can be overshadowed by the ability to capture a larger market.