Communication Decisions for International Markets

‡ Firms convey a set of messages to target customers through a communication channel with the objective to not only create a favourable response for its market offerings but also to receive market feedback on a regular basis ‡ The marketing communication mix involves advertising, sales promotion, public relation, personal selling, and direct and inter-active marketing, as depicted in Figure 1 ‡ A firm generally uses a mix of all these promotion tools after considering the firm¶s strategy and marketing requirements ‡ Advertising is a paid form of communication carried out through newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and other mass media by an identified sponsor

‡ Besides, it is also a non-personal form of communication ‡ Sales promotion comprises short-term marketing measures which stimulate quick buyers¶ action and result in immediate sale of the product ‡ It includes rebates and price discounts, firm¶s catalogues and brochures, samples, coupons, and gifts ‡ As a part of its image-building exercise, a firm invests in public relations ‡ It may include sponsorship of sports and cultural events, press releases, and even lobbying at government level ‡ Direct marketing is also an effective marketing communication tool wherein a firm has direct inter-action with the customers

‡ Personal selling involves direct selling by firm¶s sales force and is considered to be a two-way method of marketing communication, which helps in building strong customer relationships.

Advertising

Sales promotion

Personal selling

Customer

Public relations

Direct and Inter-active marketing

Figure 1, International Marketing Communication Mix

Communication mix for an international market is influenced by the following factors: ‡ Market size ‡ Cost of promotional activity ‡ Resource availability, especially finances ‡ Media availability ‡ Type of product and its price sensitivity ‡ Mode of entry into international market ‡ Market characteristics.

Consumer Response Hierarchy Models
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ The objective of any marketing communication strategy is to induce the target customer segment to buy the product This can be achieved by conveying some aspect of the product to the consumers The conveyed message is expected to change the customers¶ attitude towards the product and make them buy it These response stages are known as cognitive, affective, and behavioural stages, respectively Figure 2 depicts two such widely used hierarchy models.

Attention

Awareness

Interest

Interest

Evaluation Desire Trial Action µAIDA¶ Model Adoption Innovation-Adoption Model

Figure 2, Consumer Response Hierarchy Models

µAIDA¶ Model
‡ In this approach the main objective of a firm is to make the customers aware of the product and seek their attention through effective marketing communication, such as through effective advertising ‡ The awareness would, in turn, generate interest about the product in the consumers followed by the desire to own ‡ The entire process would ultimately lead to purchase.

Innovation-Adoption Model
‡ Another model on consumer adoption, developed by Rogers, especially in reference to a new product is the innovation-adoption model, depicted in Figure 2 ‡ In the innovation-adoption model, a firm creates awareness and generates interest before the customer gets a chance to evaluate it first hand ‡ The firm also gives a final trial to the new product before it is actually adopted by the customers.

Process of International Marketing Communication
‡ Marketing communication aims at conveying a firm¶s message as effectively and accurately as possible ‡ The basic process of marketing communication, as depicted in Figure 3, involves the following constituents: 1. Sender 6. Receiver 2. Encoding 7. Noise 3. Message 8. Feedback 4. Medium 5. Decoding

Noise

Home Country Context Encoding Medium Sender (Firm) Message

Foreign Country Context Decoding

Receiver (Customer)

Feedback

Figure 3, Process of International Marketing Communication

1. Sender
‡ It refers to the marketing firm which is conveying the message.

2. Encoding
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Before a message can be sent, it has to be encoded Putting thoughts, ideas, or information into a symbolic form is termed as encoding Encoding ensures the correct interpretation of message by the receiver, who is often the ultimate customer The use of words, signs, or symbols should be such that they become familiar to the target audience Firms often use symbols for encoding messages that have a universal meaning Language and cultural issues need to be taken care of while encoding the message.

3. Message
‡ ‡ ‡ A message may be verbal or non-verbal, oral, written, or symbolic A message contains all the information or meaning that the sender aims to convey A message is put into a transmittable form depending upon the channels of communication From a semiotic perspective, every marketing message has three basic components: an object, sign or symbol, and an interpretant The object is the product that is the focus of the message (e.g., Marlboro cigarettes)

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‡ The sign is the sensory imagery that represents the intended meaning of the object (e.g., the Marlboro cowboy) ‡ The interpratant is the meaning derived (e.g., rugged, individualistic, American).

4. Medium
‡ The channel used to convey the encoded message to the intended receiver is termed as medium The medium can be categorized in the following manner : 4A. Personal 4B. Non-Personal

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4A.

Personal ‡ ‡ It involves direct inter-personal (face-to-face) contact with the target group Sales people serve as the channel of communication as they deliver the sales message to the target customers Friends, peers, neighbours, and family members constitute social channels µWord of mouth¶ communication is a very powerful source of personal communication.

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4B.

Non-Personal ‡ ‡ These are channels which convey message without any inter-personal contact between the sender and the receiver Since the message is communicated to many persons at a time, these channels are also referred to as mass media or mass communication channels The non-personal channels of communication may further be broadly classified as follows: ‡ Print media: Newspapers, magazines, direct mails, etc. ‡ Electronic media: Radio and Television.

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5. Decoding
‡ ‡ It is the process of transforming the sender¶s message back into thought Decoding is highly influenced by the selfreference criteria (SRC), which is unintended reference to one¶s own culture.

6. Receiver
‡ It is the target audience or customers who receive the message by way of reading, hearing, or seeing A number of factors influence how the message is received These include the clarity of message, the interest generated, the translation, the sound if words, and the visuals used in the message.

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7. Noise
‡ ‡ ‡ The unplanned distortions or interference of the message is termed as µnoise¶ A message is subjected to a variety of external factors that distort or interfere its reception Technical snags, such as problems in telecommunication or signals, both at the sending and the receiving end may cause distortion The competitors¶ promotional activities often create confusion in the minds of the customers and are a major source of noise.

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8. Feedback
‡ In order to assess the effectiveness of the marketing communication process, feedback from the customers is crucial The time needed to assess the communication impact depends upon the type of promotion used For instance, an immediate feedback can be obtained by personal selling, whereas it takes much longer time to assess the communication effectiveness in case of advertisements In international markets, a firm has to communicate with the customers and the

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channel intermediaries located in overseas markets that have considerably different marketing environment characteristics The differences in cultural environment, economic development of the market, regulatory framework, language, and media availability make the task of international marketing communication much more complex compared to domestic marketing.

Marketing Communication Strategies
‡ On the basis of promotional focus on market intermediaries in the distribution systems or the end customers, a firm has the following two options in marketing communication strategies: 1. Push Strategy 2. Pull Strategy

1. Push Strategy
‡ In push strategy, the promotional programme is primarily directed at the market intermediaries in the distribution system It aims to motivate the market intermediaries to stock, promote, and sell the products to the ultimate customers, as depicted in Figure 4 The market intermediaries, such as the distributors, wholesalers, and retailers, are offered a variety of incentives to push the product in the market Generally, in push strategy, the distributors are motivated to promote the product to the

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wholesalers, who, in turn, promote the product to the retailers, who finally push the product to the consumers ‡ The tools used in push strategy include personal selling and sales promotion, contests for salespersons, and trade shows.

Marketing Communication

Firm
Product push

Channel intermediary

Marketing Communication Product push

End customer

Figure 4, Push Strategy

Push strategy is usually found to be more effective under the following situations: ‡ Lack of product differentiation ‡ Weak brand identity or brand clutter ‡ Low brand loyalty ‡ Difficulty in appreciation product benefits ‡ Industrial products ‡ Institutional sales ‡ Lack of access to advertising media ‡ Low promotional budget ‡ Short and direct marketing channels ‡ Low wages, i.e., cost of employing salespersons is lower than the advertising cost through the distribution channels

‡ Besides, commoditization of brands has made it difficult for the customers to differentiate between the competing brands, making push strategy more effective ‡ The biggest drawback of push strategy is that hardly any brand loyalty is created even after spending huge sums of money ‡ Besides, the channel intermediaries become more demanding and ask for increase in their margins to support the product ‡ In case the demand for a product is low, a marketer has to accede to the demands of channel intermediaries ‡ This triggers an unhealthy competition among the marketers to offer more and more margins,

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which further squeezes their promotion budgets for advertising In developing countries, the size of the retail outlets is small and a majority of them are managed by one or two persons only Therefore, the customers come in direct contact with the sellers and often seek their opinion about the product The margin of the seller on a particular product often determines his opinion Under such situations, push strategy serves as an effective promotional tool.

2. Pull Strategy
‡ The process of motivating the customers to buy the product from the retailers through promotional programmes, as given in Figure 5, is referred to as full strategy A retailer asks for a product from a wholesaler and the wholesaler asks for the product from a distributor who gets the product from the firm.

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Firm

Product request

Channel intermediary

Product request

End customer

Marketing communication

Figure 5, Pull Strategy

Pull strategy is more effective in the following situations: ‡ Perceived product differentiation ‡ Strong brand identity ‡ High brand loyalty ‡ High-involvement product category ‡ High promotional budgets ‡ Self-service in retail system, i.e., supermarket culture ‡ The promotional techniques used for pull strategy include advertising and sales promotion campaign directed at consumers, such as discounts, gift vouchers, samples, etc.

‡ In retail outlets where self-service is pre-dominant, pull strategy is more effective ‡ Besides, pull strategy also facilitates long-term brand loyalty among the customers ‡ However, in view of the market conditions and the factors mentioned above, a firm may use a judicial mix of pull and push strategies for market promotion.

Tools for International Marketing Communication
‡ An international marketing communication strategy may use a variety of marketing tools, such as advertising, direct marketing, sales promotion, personal selling, public relations, trade fairs, and exhibitions Each of these tools is discussed in detail in this chapter. A. Advertising B. Direct Marketing C. Personal Selling D. International Trade Fairs And Exhibitions E. Trade Missions F. Sales Promotion

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1. Advertising
‡ Any paid form of non-personal communication by an identified sponsor is termed as advertising It can be for a product, service, an idea, or organization The non-personal means, such as newspaper, magazine, TV, or radio can transmit the message to a large number of individuals often at the same time Advertising is the most widely used form of promotion, especially for mass marketing.

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1A.

Standardization vs Adaptation 1A.1 Standardization 1A.2 Adaptation

1A. Standardization vs Adaptation
‡ An international marketing firm may opt for a standardized advertising strategy or may customize it depending upon the needs of various markets The arguments in favour of standardized campaign include economy of scale and uniform projection of a firm¶s image in global markets The adaptation of advertising may be either due to mandatory reasons, such as regulatory framework or due to competitive market response.

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1A.1 Standardization ‡ ‡ Using the same advertising strategy across the country is termed as standardization However, the extent or degree of standardization varies Ad with no change: Same advertisement is used with no change in theme, copy, or illustration except for translation Benetton Group Spa, the Italy±based global clothing retailer, uses global advertising campaigns with the same theme, µThe United Colours of Benetton¶, However, Benetton¶s ad has shocking photos

to attract public attention on global issues related to environment, terrorism, racism, and HIV Many of Benetton¶s ad campaigns have been criticized in a number of countries Benetton, however, is keen on continuing with its shock advertising campaigns as long as the ad manages to create and sustain the interest of the customers. Ad with changes in illustration: When ads use different models, generally local models, for different countries but maintain the same ad copy and theme, it is also considered standardized advertising Virginia Slims, the worldwide market leader in women¶s cigarette, initiated a worldwide campaign in which it used local models in different countries

‡ Advertising plays an important role in positioning a brand ‡ Virginia Slims was always positioned as a women¶s cigarette right from its inception in 1968 ‡ It later became an international market leader ‡ Initially Philip Morris positioned Marlboro as a women¶s cigarette in 1924 based on the slogan µMild as May¶ ‡ Its marketing communication programmes featured stylish women posed in plush settings to target female audience ‡ During World War II, Marlboro was re-introduced as a more µsofter¶ filtered brand and was targeted at addicted male smokers who were afraid of getting lung cancer

‡ However, this repositioning did not work in the market as filtered cigarettes were considered to be feminine ‡ It was only in 1955 that Marlboro made a breakthrough by re-positioning itself as a men¶s cigarette and eventually became a global market leader ‡ Lux has maintained a single advertising concept world-wide ‡ It promotes the brand through cine stars ‡ Lux has been positioned as the µbeauty soap of film stars¶ ‡ However, adaptations have been made in different countries depending upon the local context

Universal appeals in international advertising are used in the following situations: ‡ Superior Quality: The promise of superior quality may be used universally For instance, BMW uses the slogan µultimate driving machine¶ world-wide. ‡ New Product/Services: The world-wide launch of a product under the sprinkler approach is generally coupled with global communication campaign For instance, Microsoft used such campaigns while launching Windows 95 and Windows 2000. ‡ Country of Origin: Brands in product categories which have a strong country stereotype

often leverage their route by emphasizing on µmade in«.¶ cachet The country of origin is often emphasized in case of luxury and fashion products. ‡ Celebrities: Celebrities with universal appeal are engaged for global products, whereas the regional or national celebrities are employed for regional communication Swiss watchmaker SMH International promoted its Omega brand with a TV commercial featuring actor Pierce Brosnan after the release of James Bond movie Golden Eye Sachin Tendulkar and Aishwarya Rai have been used in a number of advertising campaign in the south asian region.

‡ Lifestyle: A large number of global upscale brands use lifestyle ads to target customers regardless of the country. ‡ Global Presence: In order to enhance the brand¶s image, firms project their µglobal presence¶ by communicating to the target audience that the product is used world-wide and by using it they also would become a part of global customers¶ community. ‡ Market Leadership: Brands with a strong country image often send a signal to the target audience that it is the most preferred brand in their home markets The fact that the company is a market leader nationally, regionally, or internationally gives out a strong message to the customers.

‡ Corporate Image: Firms also use a uniform marketing communication approach to project a certain uniform corporate image.

Adopting a standardized advertising strategy is gaining wider acceptance due to a large number of factors, which are as follows: ‡ The preferences and lifestyles of consumers are increasingly becoming homogeneous, enabling psychographic segmentation of markets that can be targeted through a uniform message ‡ The consumer behaviour is increasingly getting similar in the urban centres across the world The city dwellers exhibit similar working, shopping, travelling, and lifestyle patterns across countries ‡ A sharp increase in international travel among customers has made standardized advertising strategy quite popular among the companies

‡ International reach of media, such as television programmes, magazines and some of the newspapers, has also boosted the use of standardized advertisements For instance, programmes on channels like Zee TV, Star Plus, ESPN, Discovery, BBC, CNN, etc. are telecasted and watched across the globe ‡ Standardized advertising approach facilitates creation of uniform corporate image ‡ A firm achieves economies of scale if it follows standardized advertising approach.

The major benefits of standardized advertising include economies of scale and projection of uniform image in international markets Such an approach can be adopted in the following marketing situations: ‡ The target market is segmented on the basis of psychographic profile of the customers, such as their lifestyles, behaviour, and attitudes ‡ Cultural proximity among the customers ‡ Technology intensive or industrial products ‡ Similarity in marketing environment, such as political, legal, and social.

1A.2 Adaptation ‡ ‡ ‡ Modification in the advertisement message, copy, or content is termed as adaptation or customization However, the emphasis on communication strategies varies between markets For example rich lather in bathtub and foamy experience is stressed in the ad campaigns by Lux in Europe where it is primarily sold as a liquid soap, which may not be the case in other countries Lux is mainly a shampoo in China, Taiwan, and the Philippines, soap in India, and everything from a soap to a shampoo in Japan

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Hence, the benefits of the marketed product are emphasized in each of the markets Communication adaptation is often needed in international markets due to: ‡ Difference in cultural values among the countries ‡ Difficulties in language translation ‡ Variations in the level of education of the target groups ‡ Media availability ‡ Social attitudes towards advertising, and ‡ Regulatory framework of the target market
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‡ As the customer behaviour is greatly influenced by the cultural factors in the target market, it is difficult for a standardized communication strategy to be effective across different country markets ‡ Therefore, to convey a similar concept across various cultures, a firm has to adapt its advertising campaigns in different markets in view of the different cultural contexts ‡ For instance, in products with image-based positioning, such as Pepsi, an ad in Western countries may depict scantily clad women in swim suites on a beach or in a bar, which is not feasible to adapt in Islamic countries due to the statutory framework and the cultural aspects

‡ Pepsi customizes its advertising campaigns to depict its core values of youthfulness (spirited, young, up-to-date, and out-going) associated with µgeneratioNext.¶ ‡ As celebrities enjoy a demi-god status in India, Pepsi uses a number of celebrities, such as Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Sachin Tendulkar, Amitabh Bachhan, Kajol, and Rani Mukherjee, in its ads.

2. Direct Marketing
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Selling products and services to the customers without using any market intermediary is termed as direct marketing It deals with the customers on one-to-one basis, unlike the conventional mass-marketing approach that deals indirectly with customers Direct marketing has little dependence on mass promotion or advertising, whereas conventional marketing relies heavily on mass promotion Technological advances, such as proliferation of telecommunication and information technology, have facilitated direct marketing across the world

‡ The rapid growth in credit card usage has increased payments over the Internet, which has facilitated international sales transactions ‡ Direct marketing offers the following benefits over conventional marketing: ‡ Provides direct contact with the customers ‡ Facilitates finalization of sales deals through inter-action ‡ Helps in mass customization of a firm¶s market offerings rather than mass marketing ‡ Facilitates effective and deeper market segmentation ‡ Eliminates waste market coverage due to its selective reach ‡ Personalized service ‡ Helps in building customer relationships.

2A. 2B. 2C.

Direct Mailing Door-to-Door Marketing Multi-level Marketing

2A. Direct Mailing
‡ It involves sending letters, brochures or catalogues, e-mails faxes, or even product samples directly to the consumers, who may, in turn, purchase the product through mail.

2B. Door-to-Door Marketing
‡ ‡ ‡ Receptivity of door-to-door marketing varies considerably among the cultures In Japans even motorcars and stocks are sold door to door Amway, Avon, and Tupperware are some of the world¶s largest firms that rely on door-todoor marketing world-wide.

2C. Multi-level Marketing
‡ It involves a revolutionary distribution system with little spending on advertising and infrastructure In multi-level marketing, a core group of distributors is recruited who generally pay the company some registration fee and are introduced to the company by a sponsor Each of these distributors picks up a product worth a certain sum, for instance, Rs 1,000, and then sell it directly to the customers The mark-up is generally pegged at 25%30%

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‡ However, the distributors can charge a lower price if they reduce their commission ‡ These core distributors appoint another level of distributors and get additional commission from the sales made by them ‡ Some of the major global firms involved in multilevel marketing are Amway, Avon, Oriflame, Mary Kay Cosmetics, etc. ‡ The major benefits of multi-level marketing involve rapid, continuous, and automatic growth of distribution networks ‡ Besides, it is a quick and cost-effective marketing method ‡ As the marketing system depends upon the

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continuity of the network, any snap in its linkage creates major setbacks for the entire distribution cum sales system Since the direct sellers repeatedly approach the prospects, it makes the prospects quite irritated The high-pressure tactics used to push the product may adversely affect the brand image The firm has limited control over the sales force in terms of prices offered After economic liberalization in the People¶s Republic of China, multi-level marketing firms, such as Amway, Avon, and Mary Kay Cosmetics grew rapidly By 1997, Amway had approximately 80,000 sales

representatives who generated $ 178 million in sales, and Avon had nearly 50,000 representatives who produced $ 75 million ‡ It was reported that some other companies using the so-called pyramid scheme were cheating consumers ‡ Consequently, the Chinese government banned direct selling in April 1998 ‡ As a result, Avon was forced to open its own retail stores.

3. Personal Selling
‡ ‡ It involves personal meeting of a firm¶s representatives with the customers As the languages, customs, and business culture are different in different international markets, personal selling becomes very complex Generally, firms employ local salespersons for personal selling in international markets.

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Personal selling is generally employed in markets where: ‡ Wages are low compared to advertising Thus, personal selling is highly cost-effective in low-income countries ‡ Customers are multi-linguistic, such as in India, and a single language of communication hardly succeeds, in such cases personal selling plays an important role ‡ Countries where literacy level is low, personal selling becomes an important tool to communicate ‡ In oriental cultures, the sellers¶ one-to-one contact with the customers pays, as it facilitates the establishment of strong customer relationships

‡ An international firm should also provide periodic inputs to distributors¶ sales force, such as through periodic trainings, sales literature, and the facility of direct mailing ‡ This way a firm makes its tasks easier and improves efficiency Personal selling has a special role to play in the Japanese market due to some peculiar socio-cultural features, which are as follows: ‡ Individuality and independence are not as highly valued in Japan as they are in the West Besides, Japanese marketers and salespeople are less inclined to take credit for success or blame other for failures

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Japanese companies rarely use nonfinancial incentives to recognize, praise, or reward salespeople for performing well Good performance is simply expected, and special praise is deemed unnecessary Loyalty to one¶s employer is a fundamental characteristic of Japanese society; commissions are generally an unnecessary component of compensation packages Salespeople consider it their duty to generate business for their companies It is the honourable thing to do and no special compensation is required for doing what duty demands.

4. International Trade Fair and Exhibitions
‡ Trade fairs and exhibitions are the oldest and the most effective methods to explore marketing opportunities Trade fairs are organized gatherings where the buyers and the sellers meet and establish communication.

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Trade fairs may be of the following types: 4a. General Trade Fairs 4b. Specialized Trade Fairs 4c. Consumer Fairs 4d. Minor Trade Fairs 4e. Solo Exhibitions 4f. Catalogue Shows

4a. General Trade Fairs
‡ ‡ ‡ All types of consumer and industrial goods are exhibited in trade fairs Such trade fairs are open both for general public and business-persons Generally, in less-developed countries general trade fairs are the only option.

4b. Specialized Trade Fairs
‡ ‡ Such trade fairs focus on a specific industrial or trade sector, such as apparels or food Specialized trade fairs are targeted at business visitors but usually are also open for the general public on specific days and at specific times Specialized trade fairs provide excellent opportunity to explore contacts in international markets, such as importers, agents, distributors, etc. Even established firms participate in specialized fairs in order to establish contacts.

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4c. Consumer Fairs
‡ Generally targeted at individual customers, the consumer fairs focus on household goods.

4d. Minor Trade Fairs
‡ These are fairs held at a small level, such as toy or shoe fairs.

4e. Solo Exhibitions
‡ ‡ Exhibitions held by a specific country or group In these exhibitions, a number of dealers of a particular product field put up the show in a hotel, hall, or lounge Solo exhibitions may be international, regional, national, or provincial in terms of its scope and participants Solo exhibitions provide opportunity for buyer-seller interface

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International trade fairs offer the following benefits: ‡ They provide an opportunity to get information on the competing products, their attributes, prices, etc. in the market ‡ They help in assessing customer¶s response to a firm¶s products ‡ They serve as a meeting place for potential importers, agents, and distributors in the International market ‡ They provide publicity and generate goodwill ‡ They provide an opportunity to meet the existing clients in the market and assess their performance vis-à-vis competitors

A firm needs to consider the following parameters while selecting an international trade fair: ‡ Compatibility of the fair with the firm¶s product profile and marketing objectives ‡ Location of the fair ‡ Visitors¶ and participants¶ profile ‡ Performance of the fair in terms of the sales concluded, the type of exhibitors, and the number of visitors during the previous years ‡ Experience of previous business exhibitors ‡ Cost of participation vis-à-vis other promotional alternatives

In order to generate business and to make the participation in an international trade fair meaningful, the following issues need to be taken care of: ‡ Visit the overseas market in advance, one year to six months before the fair, to gather information about the markets, business dynamics, and to get oneself familiarized with the market ‡ Carry out a market analysis in advance in terms of the social, cultural, linguistic, economic, legal, and political issues that influence the marketing opportunities ‡ Before participation one should prepare as detailed a plan of display as possible ‡ Prepare exhibition materials, such as literature, promotional CD ROMs, videotapes, media kits, business cards, display items, signage, and promotional products

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Immediate follow up after participation in the fair is crucial to achieve business generation Therefore, all queries should be answered within a week¶s time after the trade fair The effectiveness of the firm¶s participation in trade fairs may be assessed from the following: ‡ Securing business leads and contacts ‡ Volume of sales order ‡ Securing contacts ‡ Finding international trade partners ‡ Conducting market and competitor research ‡ Acquiring information about new products, processes, and technology ‡ Meeting with existing customers ‡ Creating awareness about the firm.

4f.

Catalogue Shows
‡ As participation in trade fairs involves considerable cost and time, the display of catalogues, sometimes accompanied with trade samples, provides an opportunity to create market awareness about the firm¶s products Generally, the government organizations and industry associations actively promote such catalogue shows.

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5. Sales Promotion
‡ ‡ ‡ ‡ Sales promotion entails various tools that are used as short-term incentives to induce a purchase decision Due to increased competitive intensity in the market, firms make use of sale promotion to get short-term results Besides, the buyers also expect some purchase incentives in view of competitors¶ offerings It is estimated that manufacturers as a group spend about twice as much on trade promotion as they do on advertising, and an equal amount is spent on consumer promotions

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The promotional offer has a local focus and generally varies from country to country The basic objectives of consumer promotion programmes are as follows: ‡ To solicit product enquiries ‡ To generate trials for new or related products ‡ To generate additional sales ‡ To motivate customers for repeat purchase

Sales promotion can be categorized as follows: 5a. 5b. Trade Promotions Consumer Promotions

5a. Trade Promotions
‡ ‡ These are the promotional tools aimed at the market intermediaries Due to increase in market competition and inter-firm rivalry, firms often offer promotional schemes to the market intermediaries to enhance the feeling of loyalty among the customers and push their products in the market Various tools used for sales promotion include offering margins higher than the competitors, incentives for not keeping competitors¶ products, organizing joint promotions, providing financial assistance for promotional budgets, etc.

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5b. Consumer Promotions
‡ ‡ These are the promotional tools directed at the ultimate consumers Various tools used for consumer promotion include discounts, free samples, contests, gifts, gift coupons, festival sales, special price offers for bulk purchase, etc.

6. Public Relations
‡ In overseas markets, it is increasingly becoming important for a firm to be an µinsider¶ ‡ Public relations aim at building corporate image and influencing media and other target groups to have a favourable publicity Various methods used for public relations are as follows: ‡ Sponsorship of sports, cultural events, etc. ‡ Press release ‡ Contribution to awards and prices for sports and other events

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‡ Publicity of a firm¶s promotional campaign ‡ Lobbying at government level Public relations may aim at internal as well as external communication directed at employees, shareholders suppliers of inputs and components, customers, and the general public Indian firms, such as JK Tyres, also sponsor sports events in Europe, as a part of its public relation activity A firm attempts to create links with the media, politicians, bureaucrats, and other influential groups and persons in the target market to gain positive publicity In high-income countries, professional firms offer

specialized public relations services, whereas in low-income countries the µword of mouth¶ mode of publicity is widely used for spreading a message.

Factors Influencing International Communication Decisions
As the marketing environment across countries varies considerably, there are various factors that influence international marketing communication. A. Culture B. The Cultural Contexts C. Language D. Education E. Media Infrastructure F. Government Regulations

A. Culture
‡ It is a well-known fact that the culture of a country influence the customers¶ behaviour immensely Customers are quite sensitive about the cultural aspects depicted in marketing communications Advertising themes incorporating social acceptance, mutual dependence, respect for elders and traditions, harmony with nature, use of seasons, innovation and novelty, distinctive use of celebrities, changing family role are often effective

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Let us now illustrate, some of the marketing blunders in international markets which occurred due to the faulty understanding of different cultures on the marketers¶ part ‡ Parker Pen Company successfully used the slogan µAvoid Embarrassment ± Use Quink¶ in the US The product was marketed in Latin America with the Spanish translation µEvite Embarazos ± Use Quink¶ of the above slogan that un-intentionally meant µAvoid Pregnancy ± Use Quink¶ resulting in an embarrassment for the company ‡ Procter & Gamble showed an animated stork delivering Pampers diapers in its ad campaigns in the United States

The same ad copy was used in Japan, only the language was changed However, this ad did not work in Japan The subsequent market research revealed that, unlike the Western folklore, storks, according to the Japanese folklore, are not expected to deliver babies On the contrary, Japanese people believe that it is the giant peaches that float on the river that bring babies to the deserving parents Subsequently, Procter & Gamble changed the theme of the ad campaign to µexpert mom¶, a nurse who is also a mother theme

Muhammad Ali is immensely popular in the Middle East One of the car manufacturers used Muhammad Ali in its ad campaign for the region The ad theme was, µI am the greatest¶ The ad backfired and offended the Muslims who regard only the God as great ‡ Islamic countries impose certain restrictions on the presentation of women in TV commercials ‡ The most stringent laws regarding presentation of women are in Saudi Arabia where the TV commercials can show only a veiled woman or her back

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For advertising Pert Plus Shampoo, Procter & Gamble had to adopt an unusual strategy in Saudi Arabia Since the focus had to be on the prospect¶s hair, the ad showed the hair of a woman from the back and another veiled woman from the front.

B. The Cultural Contexts
‡ ‡ The culture has broadly been divided as highcontext and low-context culture Oriental countries, such as Japan, China, India, and Middle East generally have highcontext cultures where the contextual background of communication is extremely significant unlike low-context countries Therefore, marketing communication in highcontext culture has to be more implicit than explicit

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The cultural contexts can be applied to international communication in the following manners: B1. B2. B3. Conversational Principles Presentation Principles Return Word Principles

B1. Conversational Principles
‡ In high-context cultures, the customers look keenly at the details of the sales executives and the company Therefore, any promotional or advertising campaign in such cases should aim at establishing the firm¶s credibility and background There should be clarity in presentation Jargons and slangs should be avoided One should speak slowly and without a strong accent, unlike Western markets Focus on identification with the international recipients by way of using phrases or words from the recipient language or use of historical or contemporary illustrations

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‡ Body language and tone of voice should be consistent with the message.

B2. Presentation Principles
‡ One should show respect for cultures that are more formal It needs structured presentation in terms of format and content of communication It should give due respect and appeal to different foreign audience One should be patient with the pace of different cultures The length of message is often viewed as an indication of the importance the promoter attaches to its subject.

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B3. Return Word Principles
‡ In low-context cultures, communication is generally direct, to the point, and immediately stated However, emphasis needs to be given on politeness and decorum of the message, besides, proper translation in high-context cultures is very important It needs modifications in slogans or branding so that the message does not offend the target audience.

C. Language
‡ ‡ Translation from one language to another is crucial in international communication The literal translation may fail to convey the desired message across the countries due to cultural factors For instance, the word µyes¶ is understood differently in different countries In low-context societies, such as the USA and Europe, µyes¶ means µyes¶, but in high-context societies, such as Japan, µyes¶ means µI am listening to what you are saying¶ and it does not necessarily mean µyes¶

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‡ In Thailand, µyes¶ means µOK¶ ‡ Such vast differences in the meaning of µyes¶ is due to the fact that in high-context cultures, the other person is given opportunity to save one¶s face and direct refusals are hardly appreciated by the society ‡ Some instances of the translation blunders in international communication are as follows: ‡ Pepsi used the German translation of the slogan µcome alive with Pepsi¶ in its ad campaign in West Germany However, the slogan when translated to German actually meant µcome out of the grave with Pepsi¶ and failed to generate any market response from the customers

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General Motor translated its slogan µBody by Fischer¶ to µCorps by Fischer¶ in Belgium that offended the Belgian customers.

D. Education
‡ The level of literacy plays an important role in deciding what communication tool and message should be used in an international market Market segments with lower level of adult literacy need to be addressed by way of more audio-visual content rather than a written message It should be ensured that the visuals convey the desired message rather than the text part of the communication.

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E. Media Infrastructure
‡ ‡ ‡ Availability of media, that varies widely, often influences the advertisers¶ options for using a particular medium A cross-country comparison of the share of advertising expenditure on various mediums of communication is given in Table 5 It reveals that the advertising expenditure of print media in India was 53% compared to 59% in UK, 46% in US, 40% in China, and 28% in Mexico, whereas the share of advertising spending on TV was 38% in India compared to 29% in UK, 37% in US, 43% in China, 55% in Thailand, and 57% in Mexico in 2001

‡ The radio spending was highest at 15% in Mexico and 14% in US compared to merely 2% in India.

India China Mexico Thailand US UK

Print 53 40 28 32 46 59

TV 38 43 57 55 37 29

Radio 2 4 15 9 14 5

Other 8 13 0 4 4 7

Total 100 100 100 100 100 100

Table 5, AD Spend Share ± Global Comparison (2001)

F. Government Regulations
‡ The regulatory framework of a country influences the communication strategy in international markets The government regulations in various countries relate to the following issues: ‡ Advertising in foreign language ‡ Use of pornography and sensuality ‡ Comparative advertising referring to the competing products from rival firms ‡ Advertisements related to alcohol and tobacco

‡ Use of children as models ‡ Advertisements related to health food and pharmaceuticals Some of the advertising regulations in various countries include the following: ‡ In Malaysia, the Ministry of Information¶s advertising code states that women should not be the principal object of an advertisement and should not be used to attract sales unless the advertised product is relevant to women ‡ The Ministry of Information in Saudi Arabia prohibits any advertising depicting unveiled women

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Portuguese law prohibits sex discrimination or the sub-ordination or objectification of women in advertising Use of foreign words and expressions when French equivalents can be used are prohibited in France Norway prohibits any advertising that portrays men or women in an offensive manner or implies any derogatory judgment of either sex Most Arab countries prohibit explicit depiction of sensuality.

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