“As today's business decisions and choices are increasingly influenced by the diverse cultural backgrounds and perspectives of various corporate stakeholders. It is critical for business managers to have multicultural understanding”(Chang,2008) International marketing is defined as the performance of business activities that direct the flow of a company's goods and services to the individual customers across national borders(Ghauri & Cateora,2006).International marketing is complicated because the goods or services, which customer desire, may be different across cultures. Therefore International marketing need to be adapted to geographic, competitive, cultural or legal differences.
Culture has a great impact on international marketing. Marketers have to study the local culture deeply before introducing a product to them. According to Domen (1987)”Culture is the learned and shared human patterns of models for living day to day living patterns. These patterns and models pervade all impacts of human social interaction. Culture is mankind's primary adoptive mechanism. ”In other words it can be said that culture is what we are i.e. our way of dressing, eating, speaking, believes, norms that is to say a sum of our lifestyle and personality. As Sichone (2000) mentioned “Culture is not written but inscribed on people's heart and minds given their background orientation. Thus, culture is relative and may not be same in all the places”
ELEMENTS OF THE CULTURE
Terpstra and Sarathy (2000) classify eight elements of culture which figure a convenient framework for examining a culture from a marketing viewpoint (figure 1)
A Cultural Framework
“Language has been described as the mirror of the culture. Language itself is multidimensional by nature.” (Czinkota, Ronkainen 2007) Not simply of the spoken phrase but also of that could be called the nonverbal language of international business. Messages are expressed by the words, by the method the words are spoken, and by nonverbal language.
Very frequently, mastery of the language is vital before person is assimilated to a culture other than their own. Language mastery have to go beyond the methodological capability, for the reason that all languages have phrases that could be readily understood only in context. these phrases are carriers of culture; they symbolize particular ways a culture has developed to view some part of human existence.
The director's direct of the national language in a market have to be superior than simple word recognition. For example, “Swedish is spoken as a mother tongue by 8 percent of the population in Finland, where it has idioms that are not well understood by Swedes. Good year has identified five different terms for the word tires in the Spanish-speaking Americas: cauchos in Venezuela, cubiertas in Argentina, gomas in Puerto Rico, neumaticos in Chile and llantas in most of the other countries in the region.” (Czinkota, Ronkainen 2007)
Directors have to consider the hidden idiom of foreign cultures. “Five topic-time, space, material possessions, friendship patterns, and business agreements- offer a starting point from which managers can begin to acquire the understanding necessary to do business in foreign countries.” (Czinkota, Ronkainen 2007) In a lots of place of the world, time is not strict; people come late to meetings or might not attend at all. In Hong Kong, for instance, it is pointless to put specific appointment times, because getting to meeting point might takes hours depending on the travel. Showing intolerant at such behaviour would surprise in Arab, Latin American, or Asian.
Education adverts to the transmission of skilfulness, ideas and attitudes as education in exacting discipline. Education can transmit cultural ideas or be used for change, for example the university is able to construct up an economy's performance.
Attitudes and values
A value frequently has a spiritual base, and attitudes refer to economic performances. It is necessary to determine attitudes in the direction of marketing performances which show the way to material gain, for instance, in Buddhist culture these might not be related.
Aesthetics advert to the facts in a culture regarding beauty and good taste arts -music, art, drama and dancing and the specific appreciation of colour and form. That may be different considerably even in otherwise very related markets. Sex in advertising is an example. In an apparent try to conserve the purity of Japanese womanhood. Advertisers in Japan often work with the light-coloured, blue-eyed foreign models.
Refers to the technique persons communicate to each other, for instance, extensive families, relationship. In several countries association may be a tribe and maybe so segmentation ought to be based on it. Other types of groups might be spiritual or political, age. All those grouping may affect the marketer in his/her plan.
The character and complication of the dissimilar beliefs an international marketer might meet is pretty varied. The businesses have to confirm that their goods and services are not objectionable to the local population. This includes marketing promotion and product.
In China in 2007 (pig year for China) all advertise that included images of pigs was banned. This was to keep harmony with the country's Muslim population of about 3%. The ban included images of pork, and advertise that included a pig.
Law and Politics
As with many aspects of Terpstra and Sarathy's Cultural Framework, “the underpinning social culture will drive the political and legal landscape. The political ideology on which the society is based will impact upon your decision to market there.”( Terpstra and Sarathy 2000). For instance, the England has a for the most part market-driven, democratic civilization with laws founded precedent and legislation, whilst Iran has a political and officially permitted system founded the tradition and ideology Islam and a Sharia beliefs.
Technology and material culture
This refer relates to local market's capability to handle and agreement with modern technology. A number of cultures find the thought of leaving freezers plugged in during the night, or servicing trucks that have not yet out of order not easy to understand. Inn examples such as those the organisation is frequently faced with the option of either educating the population or de-engineering the produce or facility.
From Hofstede's work we see that there are four dimensions in the corporate culture patterns exhibited across countries .These are Masculinity/Feminity, Uncertainity avoidance ,power distance and individualism/collectivism. Masculine cultures value aggressive self assurance,independence,task orientation and individual confidence. Masculine culture's strategy for negotiation is always resulting in a win-lose situation.Individuals from masculine countries are more likely to focus on the specifics of the agreement and not show much concern for its overall impact on the other party while negotiating.The dimension of uncertainity avoidance refers to the comfort level of a person in an obscure or risky situation.Higly uncertain avoidance cultures have formal bureaucratic negotiation rules.They rely on rituals, standarts and rely on family and friends.Negotiations from high risk avoidance cultures are more likely to seek specific commitments in terms of volume,timing and requirements.The third dimension,power distance,refers to the acceptance of authority differences between those who have power and those affected by power.High power distance cultures authoritarian and protocol formality.Hierarchy is very important for high power distance cultures.When a person from a high masculine culture negotiates with a high power distance culture then conflict will most likely result if neither party makes an effort to understand the cultural balance.Dealings between low masculinity and low power distance usually result in a more cooperative and creative behavior.The last dimension is Individualism/collectivism, individualistic cultures tend to put tasks before relationshis and value independence highly.These cultures tolerate open conflict and place the needs of the individual over the needs of a group,community or society.In negotiations the individualistic society expects the other party to have the authority to make decisions unilaterally(Hollensen,2008).
In international marketing, national and regional cultures play an important role in determining whether groups of customers will observe profit in the same products and services, understand the same communications and make the same organizations for cultural symbols. (Bridgewater, Egan, 2002)
It is vital importance when entering foreign markets that the culture of the country. It is better to consider the culture as different from the home culture. in this way, dissimilarities and similarities can be discovered and the reasons for differences can be required and described. ` The differences approach avoids the evaluative and often superior approach based on one`s own self-reference criterion (Doole, Robin, 2008)
One may add that cultural mechanism is almost an unconscious action. The cost of accepting the cultural behaviour of the environment in which one lives is minimal. But there are generally excessive expenses related with the classification and acceptance of the character of another culture. This is shown clearly by the difficulties encountered by settlers in incorporating, even those who have immigrated willingly.
due to the high cost of changing one`s culture, most people live without even envisaging such a option. This causes what James Lee (1966) calls the SRC (self-reference criterion). (Usunier, Lee, 2009). The matter of SRC in international marketing examine is an important one. As highlighted by Adler (1983a, p. 35): “researchers must guard against imposing their own cultural perspective on the research design, data collection, interpretation, and analysis. This often means working with researches from the target cultures and consciously masking one`s own cultural conditioning.” Since cultural conditioning is largely unconscious, it is important to be conscious that the researcher`s own background generates the real starting point for the research method, the real contrast base where researchers begins, implicitly or explicitly. Researchers in international marketing have therefore to attend to issues of SRC and to question its own inspiration in researching cross nationality. (Usunier, 1998)
Usunier & Lee(2005) suggests four steps to eliminate Self Reference Criterion. “1-Define the problem or goal in terms of home country cultural traits,habits and norms.
2-Define the problem or goal in terms of the foreign culture,traits,habits and norms.
3-Isolate the SRC influence in the problem and examine it carefully to see how it complicatetheproblem. 4-Redefine the problem without the SRC influence and solve it for the foreign market situation.”
“One of the most important developments in the history of marketing has been the realization that many overall markets are up of significantly different groups. The people or organizations comprising each of these groups are often sufficiently similar as to be treated as a separate market in terms of product offering, communication strategy pricing policy, distribution and other marketing mix elements”(Lancaster, et al,2002). The growth of international market segments has resulted in firms producing goods and services that are more closely related to the needs of different sub-groups. Instead of treating all customers as a homogenous, firms need to identify sub-groups of customers whose needs can be more effectively meet.
According to Levitt (1974) “the marketer should stop thinking of customers as a part of same massively homogenous market. He/she must start thinking of them as numerous small islands of distinctiveness. Each of which requires its own unique strategies in product policy, in promotional strategy, in pricing, in distribution methods and in direct selling techniques
Generally international market parts have geographical separation, which are opportune and also productive segmentation criteria depending on homogeneity. However, social variables or lifestyles might also be significant. In fact, firms have complexity deciding on whether to goal international ethnic part, a nationalized part or a cross border local part. Usunier suggest (Usunier, Lee, 2009) “process that begins with a review of the cultural literature to gather information that identifies and details cultural grouping before segmenting market.” The matter of local, national segmentation, which is mostly significant in large nations such as the United States and economic groups like the European Union (EU).
“Several nationalities can speak the same language or have similar race and heritage, but it does not follow that similarities exist in other respect.” (Graham, Cateora, 2002).As the case of Spanish-speaking group, for instance, countries such as Mexico, Spain and Chile would result in a group of extremely different markets. “Thus, although language must be considered in assessing country markets, it can not be used by itself as a basis for evaluating their attractiveness.” (Muhlbacher, Dahringer, Leihs,2006).South America has mostly been illustrated as a Spanish speaking, and ethnically Hispanic part of the world. “More than 450 different languages are spoken in the region. Nowhere is this linguistic and cultural complexity more true then the Andean sub-region, from Venezuela to Chile, which has more than 200 Amerindian linguistic groups. Furthermore, more of the indigenous languages are being accepted and used as languages of education, having officially recognized alphabets and writing system.”(Burton,2009)
According to Schiffman & Kanuk(2004) subcultural analysis helps the international marketer to focus on natural market segments.While processing this analysis the marketer should decide whether the beliefs,values and customs shared by members of a specific subgroup make them desirable candidates for special marketing attention.”For example,the non hispanic (white) population of the US,which made up to 71% of Americans in the year 2000 is projected to represent about 53% of the US population by the year 2050”.Moreover “the state of California in 1999 reported that the state's multicultural or combined minority population became the state's majority population.
Since Hofstede`s original study there have been many studies covering a multitude of companies and countries over a large number of time periods. There are, however, three non-trivial problems connected to the Hofstede approach:
1. Cultural clusters are not homogenous over all parts of a country as there can be significantly different subcultural groups within a country.
2. Some subcultural groups cross national boundaries.
3. The definitions of cultural dimensions used in Hofstede-type approaches reflect a particular sociological and anthropological view of the world. (Hofstede 1980)
Religious subculture is an another important example. There are more than200 different organized religious subcultures in the world. The members of all these religious groups at times are likely to make purchase decisions that are influenced by their religious identity. The widely known religious are Christian, Muslim and catholic.
According to US census data, one in ten Americans is foreign born, for these Americans have a strong sense of identification and pride in culture of their ancestors. The number of Hispanic Americans had grown by more than 60% during the 1990s.These 35.3 million Americans represent about 12% of the US population and approximately $452 billion puchasin power in 2001.35% of the Hispanics are 18 years-old or younger.This subcultural group can be considered as a single market based on common language and culture.
The US census bureau found that 13%of the US population is African-American with a purchasing power estimated to be $573 billion.Asian-American community's purchasing power experienced 125% increase to $254 billion from 1990 to 2000.This tends to be loyal customers.It is very important to keep in mind that Asian-Americans comes from diverse cultural backgrounds.Although Asian-Americans have many similarities,international marketer should avoid thinking Asian-American as a single market that is to say they are not homogenous.For instance,Vietnamese Americans follow the traditional model in which man makes the decision for large purchases,whereas Chinese Americans husband and wife are more likely to share in decision making process.
To get a product or service to the right international market,firstly a marketer should segment the market then target a single segment and position within the segment. “Given the heterogeneity of most markets,segmentation in both domestic and international markets entails breaking down the market for a particular product or service into segments of customers which differ in terms of their response to marketing strategies”(Wind &Douglas 1972). By segmenting market,the managers can manage its marketing policies to the needs of specific segment.This results in greater sales and profitability,consumer satisfaction,competitive positions for existing brands.
“In domestic markets consumer characteristics such as age,sex,social class,personality,brand loyality, product usage and attitudes toward the given brand are often used as bases for segmentation.International market on the other hand a further dimension has to be considered namely that of country characteristics”(Wind & Douglas 1972).Each country has specific environmental conditions,cultural and social patterns,economical power,technology etc…They all affect the buying patterns.”Culture will be an adequate basis of segmentation only if the difference in the response of two cultures (the variance between segments) will be greater than the differences in response among members of a given culture (variance within segments)”(Wind 1967).
The degree of intra-country homogeneity varies from one country to another. In case of Japan, the society as a whole is remarkably homogeneous. Although some local and ethnic diversities as well as differences among income classes are to be found, the differentials are not pronoced . there are some reasons why Japan is comparatively homogeneous country. It is small country in terms of area , making its populace geographically concentrated. National arrogance and management philosophy also help to falsify a high degree of unity. As a result , people work together pleasantly to attain common aims. The need to work hard together was fostered originally by the need to mend the economy after World War II, and the lessons learned from this experience have not been forgotten.
Canada, in contrast, is a large country in terms of geography, its population, though much smaller than that of Japan, is much more geographically dispersed, and regional differences exist among the provinces, each having its own unique characteristics. Furthermore, ethnic differences are clearly visible to anyone who travels across Canada. (Onkvisit, Shaw 2004)
Cultures set down suitable beliefs, traditions, customs, and values that are then socially shared. though some cultural manners are worldwide, many others are unique and vary from country to country. And in spite of national norms , cultural differences as a law even exist within each country.
While there may be a tendency to misunderstand different cultures and subcultures, this temptation should be resisted. Being the force that it is, the culture of one country should not be judged as superior to the culture of another one. Each culture has its own particular values and social practices, and the international marketer will be much further ahead if marketer tries to walk in the other person`s shoes in order to understand more clearly that person`s concerns and ideas