We are all paying a higher price because of global terrorism– an issue identified by our Delphi study. As freedom suffers, so does international marketing. In most instances, terrorism is not an outgrowth of choice but rather a lack of it. Terrorists may succeed in reducing the freedom of other but not in increasing their own. Who is typically most affected by terrorist acts? Attacks aimed at businesses, such as the infamous bombings of U.S. franchises abroad, do not bring big corporations to their knees. The local participants, the local employees, the local investors, and the local customers are affected the most.
Who can protect themselves against such attacks and who can afford to protect targets? Only the more wealthy countries and companies can. They have the choice of where to place their funds, with whom to trade, and whether to hold the enemy at bay through a security bubble created by changing business formats via exporting or franchising. The poor players do not have choices. The local businesses, the nations with economies in development, and the poor customers continue to be exposed to further acts of terrorism with very limited ability to influence events.
But international marketers can enable the disenfranchised to develop alternatives. Multinational firms can invest in the world’s poorest markets and reduce poverty while increasing their own revenue. With support from shareholders and the benefit of good governance, global marketers can, and should, continue in their role as social change agents. If it is worthwhile to fulfill the needs of large segments of people, even at low margins, then it will be done. International marketers want to create new customers and suppliers and they are delighted when, in the process, they can bring about freedom from extremes of hunger, sickness, and intolerance.
This is an excerpt from Dr. Czinkota’s book Global Business: Positioning Ventures Ahead, co-authored by Dr. Ilkka Ronkainen.
Michael R Czinkota and Ilkka A Ronkainen, Global Business: Positioning Ventures Ahead (New York: Routledge, 2011), pg. 235-236.