The Janus Face of International Marketing : Part 1

Effective marketing and ethical practices must exist
together.

We both are dyed-in-the-wool international marketers. Our last column explained our fervent belief in the contributions of international marketing to a better quality of life. Yet there are also fears and challenges emanating from the field and its activities. Just like the Roman god Janus, who had two faces and has come to embody the notion of contradiction to modern thinkers, international marketing brings both good and bad to the global marketplace. Exploitation of factory workers by global apparel brands exemplifies the negative consequences of globalization, but that is really more of an
operations and management issue (except for the risk and impact of negative
publicity on the brand). With the recent dramatic expansion of international
marketing to new audiences in the developing world, there are serious social
impacts that need consideration. Here are our thoughts on those, calibrated by
input from global executives.

Encounter of the unexpected. Janus was not only a god of contradiction but a god whose countenance the Romans put on doors and gates as a symbol of transition. There are many who, in times of transition, have come new to market, and even new to
marketing. New dimensions have made life more complex, both for marketers and
those who are being marketed to. For example, some slogans offered routinely to
markets with a public experienced with marketing, such as “you may have won a
new car,” may be interpreted quite differently by newcomers. Their high
expectations may lead to disappointments and even hostility. Because marketers
are the initiators of new practices, it is their responsibility to avoid causing harm.

By Michael R. Czinkota and Charles Skuba

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