Why It Matters: Marketing Globally

Why identify issues that organizations face and approaches they use when marketing to different countries and cultures?

Suppose you’re in the marketing department for a highly successful snack food company in the U.S. You’re in a brainstorming meeting about expanding into China, and the discussion is starting to get heated. Should you lead with your company’s best-selling nacho-cheese-flavored snacks to take China by storm? Or would it be better to start out with the ranch-dressing-flavored snack instead, because it’s so quintessentially American and it’d be a great way to introduce the Chinese to the tastes Americans love?

Or would something else be a better fit?

It’s time to vote: your manager wants everyone on the team to name the flavor they want to lead with. What are you going to choose?

Set aside your top pick while you watch this short but very interesting video.

You can read a transcript of the video here.

So . . . how did you do? How close did you come to favorite flavors in the video? Were you in the ballpark? Are you ready for a career developing snack foods for global markets?

If you’re like most Americans, your recommendation probably wasn’t very close to the mark, and you’re probably thinking that many of the flavors that are delicious to Chinese consumers sound a bit odd to you. Well, now you know how a lot of Chinese consumers probably feel when presented with Cheetos Crunchy Flamin’ Hot Limon Cheese Flavored Snacks or Zapp’s Spicy Cajun Crawtator potato chips. A little queasy.

Hopefully this scenario helps highlight some of the challenges of global marketing, as companies start selling products in other countries. How should you enter a new market? Are you offering products that consumers in other countries will want to buy? What should you do to make sure your product–and the rest of your marketing mix–is a good fit for the global customers you want to attract?

Global marketing is a complex and fascinating business. In this module, we can’t cover everything about global marketing–not by a long shot. But we will introduce key challenges, opportunities, and factors to consider when marketing to target audiences outside your home country.

Learning Outcomes

  • Describe globalization and the major benefits and challenges it poses for multinational organizations penetrating global markets
  • Describe common approaches used by organizations to compete successfully on a global scale
  • Explain the importance of understanding how demographic, cultural and institutional factors shape the global marketing environment