The role of truthfulness and simplicity within marketing were discussed yesterday in Setting Things Right Through Marketing! How Can Your Business Do It!. One other aspect to take into consideration is Expanding Participation.
International marketing needs to be truly international in its outlook. For example, using only English as the ‘language of business’ denigrates the use of other languages and reduces the idiosyncratic and precise participation of other nations and their citizens. If Eskimos had to talk about snow only in English, the rich diversity of this theme in their own language would be sharply diminished.
History indicates that power waxes and wanes. Just think of the Incas, the Greeks, the Icelanders, the Persians. Marketing preparation, can convert crashes into soft landings.
Communicate with Critics
Opponents are a constituency that must be brought into the tent. Human tendency is to focus on and celebrate winners. But not everyone touched by international marketing will come out a winner. International marketing relies on a fundamental belief into the virtues of risk, competition, profit and private property. Yes, not everyone considers these four dimensions as crucial or acceptable. When the rising tide lifts all boats, it becomes crucial that the vessels don’t leak, that the crew has been trained, and that the sails are tight and strong. Otherwise there is only a ‘winner takes all’ approach.
In international marketing, distance can mean abdication of responsibility. Marketers sometimes demonstrate their desire not to know—by appointing a middleman about whose behavior one can later on be suitably astonished, and mortified. Though the chairman of the multinational corporation may feel removed from local issues, be assured that the locals take all of the firm’s actions very personally.
Though many say that we understand each other so well, the reality is quite different. The actual overlap between societies is typically miniscule. Some Chinese leaders may have developed a good understanding of the world, but they represent a very small fraction of the Chinese populace. The average Chinese person may understand as much about Columbus, Ohio as the average American knows about Tianjin.
The goal for international marketers is not only to apply existing frameworks to new situations but also to develop new frameworks from the insights that they garner from working in different and diverse environments.
They are playing a new and growing role. In part, this has been the outgrowth of global crises which had not been anticipated or addressed by market forces. Today there are new global regulations and restrictions. However, it is not clear whether the signals of the market place or the plans and mandates of governments are more accurate. Markets are not always successful in their constraints and self-regulation, and governments are not always free of fault and ambition.
We need to set reasonable boundaries for firms. A key tenet of marketing is reverence for the customer. Many firms stray and take a predatory approach. Skuba works on the phenomenon of Vampire Marketing to highlight inappropriate, unjust, and ultimately counterproductive actions by firms. Typically, this takes place when the key consumption decision has already been made, but circumstances allow for additional offers. High minibar charges in a hotel, or pillows for rent on an airplane are examples.
For international marketers change is a key opportunity. Curative Marketing can help us all, by overcoming past shortcomings and avoiding future ills. Marketers are the agents of change and need to be directly involved in change. As the great Ludwig von Wittgenstein stated: “A philosopher who is not taking part in discussions is like a boxer who never goes into the ring.” It is time for international marketers to enter the ring.
From “ From Professor Michael R. Czinkota’s editorial, “Curative International Marketing: The Next Step Up.”
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