International marketing is the process of planning and executing the conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods, and services across national boundaries to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational objectives.
International marketing management is a critical organizational operation that should be integrated with other basic functions such as operations and human resource management. International marketing is generally based on one of three business strategies: differentiation, cost leadership, or focus. Determining the firm’s marketing mix involves making decisions about products, pricing, promotion, and place. A related basic issue that marketing managers must address is the extent to which the marketing mix will be standardized or customized for different markets. A variety of factors must be considered in making their decisions.
Product policy focuses on the tangible and intangible factors that characterize the product itself. Standardization versus customization is again a consideration. Industrial products and consumer products usually require different types of product policies. Legal, cultural, and economic forces also affect product policy and must be carefully evaluated.
Pricing issues and decisions constitute the second element of the marketing mix. The three basic pricing philosophies are standard pricing, two-tiered pricing, and market pricing. Market pricing, the most widely used and complex policy, involves setting different prices for each market. Basic economic analyses are used to arrive at the prices. Concerns related to gray markets, dumping, and potential consumer resentment must be addressed by firms that use this approach. Otherwise, serious problems may result.
Promotion issues and decisions generally concern the use of advertising and other forms of promotion. The promotion mix is a blend of advertising, personal selling, sales promotion, and public relations. Each of these elements is usually carefully tailored for the market in which it will be used and implemented accordingly.
Finally, international marketing managers must also plan for distribution—getting products and services from the firm to customers. International distribution may involve a variety of transportation modes, each with its own unique set of advantages and disadvantages. A firm must also develop appropriate distribution channels, which may involve wholesalers and retailers in addition to the firm and its customers. Effective distribution can have a significant impact on a firm’s profitability.