Lowering of trade barriers, increased communication and the ease of international shipping have given rise to multinational corporations. These companies sell, manage and distribute products across geographic boundaries. Marketing approaches can vary drastically based on the company’s preferences, products and targeted regions. Marketing internationally requires reviewing differences in legal requirements, modifying languages on products and in advertising, and determining how to approach variations in culture, buying patterns and customer preferences.
In this approach, products, marketing and distribution channels are as similar as possible. While adjusting for language and legal variations as needed, the business strategy remains the same. This standardization works best when there is a strong brand in high demand around the globe. Standardizing multinational marketing minimizes costs, management requirements and the need for on-location personnel.
Local customs, laws and practices guide a customization multinational marketing strategy. This course relies heavily on local employees to help translate the product needs and marketing mix necessary for success in their local market. Products are customized based on the buying patterns and cultural differences between countries.
Regionalization balances localization and standardization strategies. Standard products and promotion approaches are developed on a regional basis. Regions may be defined by continent or by smaller blocks as appropriate. Some local employees are needed, especially to manage logistical tactics.
A centralization strategy uses a single headquarters for all marketing and distribution requirements. When needed, companies dispatch employees across the globe to support their marketing efforts. This type of marketing strategy helps unify the company and may minimize expenses. The drawback of centralization is the lack of local connections and the potential to misunderstand cultural trends and shopping habits.
Multinational firms can establish subsidiaries by region or nation that serve as partially independent entities for producing, distributing and marketing products to their geographic area. A subsidiary approach allows more local control and responsiveness to consumer changes and needs. This type of arrangement may be a necessity in countries where joint ventures are required for foreign entry of goods and services.