Marketing innovation: A consequence of competitiveness | Journal of Business Research | Part 1: Context

Professor Suraksha Gupta, University of Kent

Professor Naresh K Malhotra, Georgia Institute of Technology

Professor Michael Czinkota, Georgetown University

Professor Pantea Foroudi, Middlesex University

ISSN 0148-2963

    Various studies recommend that managers aiming to venture into the challenging field of internationalisation should create a competitive edge that helps them to demonstrate the superior abilities of their firm (Porter, 2011; Samli et al., 1994; Barney et al. 2011). But, fear of the unknown deters managers from stepping out of their home country and benefiting from internationalisation because growth markets tend to be very complex as they foster competition (Knight, 1995; Thai and Chong, 2013). A business-to-business model of distribution allows managers of international firms to successfully deal with entry barriers and enter smoothly into a foreign market and effectively address the complexity of a place that offers high potential of growth to their businesses (Yan, 2012).

    A distributor simultaneously facilitates the entry of multiple firms with competing products into the market and engages micro level small and medium firms in the local market for selling (Chen, 2003). Since distributors offer multiple similar and competing products to resellers, markets being served through resellers become very competitive for international brands. Competition in a market encourages competing firms to demonstrate their ability to innovatively serve customers (Freeman et al., 2006). Lack of in-depth native knowledge in such markets is a major shortcoming for firms aiming to internationalise because it decreases their capability to innovate their marketing related business practices by predicting the business environment and trends in the consumption patterns of the foreign market (Bell, 1995; Johanson and Vahlne, 2009). Distributors and resellers have an important role to play in the successful penetration of a foreign market so how an international firm develops its capability to   market its products through reseller networks needs to be understood.

    The resource advantage theory recognizes the creation of a competitive edge as a function of marketing and identifies the role of branding in creating the capability of a firm to demonstrate its superior abilities (Hunt and Morgan, 1995; Hunt and Morgan, 1996; Srivastava et al., 2001). Simultaneously, the industrial practices of industrial brands particularly in the IT and telecom sector indicates that the managers of strong brands can compete in foreign markets based on their brand leadership and brand relationships in the local market. It has also been noticed and reported in the literature of local firms by studies like Gupta and Malhotra (2013) that a brand that contributes to the competitiveness of the reseller is able to compete at the local level using innovative marketing initiatives. These observations of various researchers indicate that the relationship between an international brand and its resellers in foreign markets becomes very important for brands in a market that poses strong competition (Anderson and Weitz, 1992).

2014-15 Global Competitiveness Ranking

The Global Competitiveness Report that is published by the World Economic Forum looks at the competitive landscape of 144 economies in terms of the institutions, policies, and factors that determine the productivity and long-term growth of a country. Sectors such as a country’s infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health, education, job market, financial development, and technological readiness are all considered.

Key Findings:

  • Switzerland and Singapore retain their position as first and second respectively. The United States moves to third from fifth place last year.
  • Those countries in Europe such as Spain, Portugal, and Greece are effectively implementing reforms and remain highly competitive. Whereas, the other half of Europe is lagging behind including France and Italy.
  • Most improved region belongs to Southeast Asia where Malaysia (20th), Thailand (31st), Indonesia (34th), Philippines and Vietnam (68th) have all progressed in their rankings. The Philippines is the most improved economy since 2010 jumping from 85 to 52.
  • Emerging market economies such as Brazil (from 57 to 56) and India (from 60 to 71) lost their competitiveness. But Russia (from 64 to 53) and China (from 29 to 28) climbed in global rankings.
  • Most Latin American economies need to address their productivity challenges in order to keep the momentum of their growth in the past years.
  • Due to geopolitical instability in the Middle East and North Africa, the region depicts a mixed picture. United Arab Emirates takes the lead in 12th place. Sub-Saharan Africa continues to pose impressive growth rates of 5 percent.

Global Rank2Are the rankings useful to you? Any surprises? Tell us what you think.

Source:

News from the USTR: Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Negotiations

On July 25th, 2013, strong progress had been reported about the TPP negotiations that ended that same day. Japan was welcomed into the negotiations while TPP leaders hope to reach agreement by the end of the year.

The United States’ goal of this agreement is “to advance a 21st-century trade and investment framework that will boost competitiveness, expand trade and investment with the robust economies of the Asia Pacific, and support the creation and retention of U.S. jobs, while promoting core U.S. principles on labor rights, environmental protection, and transparency.”

Yes Virginia, the Ham Is Chinese (Part 3)

Another concern is more xenophobic.  Many Americans are worried about lessened American competitiveness and the rise of China. There were similar concerns about the wave of Japanese cars and the purchase of iconic real estate by Japanese investors in the 1980’s and 1990’s.  In fact, the success of Japanese brands, like Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, was mostly positive for Americans, particularly for consumers, as it was accompanied by new capital, more sophisticated domestic manufacturing, new product ideas, and, eventually,  improved competitiveness of American car companies. Now individual states in the U.S. have learned to compete to attract manufacturing and services company investment in their communities. No reason not to expand such activities into the agricultural sector as well.

Of even more interest is the reverse flow, where international investments have a spillover effect on home country markets. Why not eat Hunan pork with Smithfield ham during a picnic at the Yangtze river? What pork other than Smithfield’s should be specified when planning the Chinese  government-subsidized opening of  restaurant chains in Africa ? The Smithfield acquisition opens new markets both for the Chinese investors as well as for American ham. Such is the path of true globalization.

The recent meeting between Presidents Obama and Xi Jinping demonstrated, that the United States and China have more to gain from a cooperative, albeit competitive, rather than a conflict based relationship.  Given President Xi’s experience as a student living in Iowa, we can hope that he is instinctively more likely to be drawn to the value of a asymptotic relationship with the United States, rather than one based on abrasive disagreement.

One of the principal motivators for the deal from Smithfield’s point-of-view, was the ability to more successfully sell its products to the huge Chinese market. That such an approach can work is seen in the acquisition of European car-maker Volvo by the Chinese company Zhejiang Geely Holding in 2010.  Not only is Zhejiang looking to profit from the existing global business of Volvo, but it is also expected to help the brand further penetrate the Chinese market, the largest and fastest growing automobile market in the world.

This article is a part of a series written by Michael Czinkota and Charles Skuba. Read part 2 here.  Guest writer Charles Skuba teaches international business and marketing at Georgetown University. He served in the George W. Bush Administration in trade policy positions in the U.S. Department of Commerce.

No More Silos! (Part 5)

The New Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Andreas Pinkwart, former minister of science, technology, research and innovation, and now president of Handelshochschule Leipzig in Germany, said that if innovation and free trade are maintained, they will stimulate open borders. He sees negotiations on agriculture as a key impediment to progress in a transatlantic partnership but expects its success.

The TTIP, a newly inaugurated trade negotiation between the United States and the European Union may lead to further open export markets, expand the U.S. and E.U.’s investment partnership, address non-tariff barriers, and increase cooperation on issues including combatting discriminatory localization trade barriers and promoting SMEs’ global competitiveness.

The three key challenges that the partnership must address are climate problems, terrorism and economic imbalances. Also, the TTIP collaboration will serve well as a political and economic counterweight to China, even though the European Union and the U.S. combined are likely to soon have a lower GDP than China.

Speaking on behalf of the German government, Peter Fischer, head of economic affairs at the embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, suggested strong encouragement of a TTIP. Since the E.U. and the U.S. are the largest economies in the world, their collaboration could only strengthen world trade, in particular with a convergence of regulatory approaches. Results would be achieved within 18 to 24 months, he said.

Howard Fogt, a partner at Washington, D.C.-based law firm Foley & Lardner LLP who specializes in international trade regulation, took issue with such a time frame. He believes that the implementation of an agreement would be long, slow and expensive. Politically, he sees the leadership for a TTIP as emerging from the bottom, if major movements are to be achieved. He also stated repeatedly that culture matters and economics cannot be negotiated by itself, particularly when fundamental issues such as food are to be discussed. (For example, the acceptance or rejection of hormone-injected beef demonstrates national differences.)

This article is a part of a series written by Michael Czinkota and Charles Skuba who report on the March 2013 meeting on trade policy and international marketing, a collaboration between the American Marketing Association, Georgetown University and the U.S. International Trade Administration. View part 4 hereGuest writer Charles Skuba teaches international business and marketing at Georgetown University. He served in the George W. Bush Administration in trade policy positions in the U.S. Department of Commerce.