How to Create a Marketing Mix for Individual Cultures & Countries

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  • 0:06 Marketing Mixes for…
  • 1:06 Cross-Cultural Marketing
  • 2:21 4 Types of Changes
  • 3:26 Examples
  • 6:07 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: John McLaughlin
In this lesson, you will learn how companies modify their domestic marketing mix to suit the unique needs and norms of foreign cultures and countries. Companies may find it necessary to modify their current product, their current promotional message, or both.

How to Create a Marketing Mix for Different Cultures

Vacu-Bot is an American vacuum producer that manufactures a robotic vacuum for home use. Unlike the other small disc-shaped vacuums on the market, the Vacu-Bot is an actual 4-foot tall robot that not only vacuums your carpet but lifts up your furniture and vacuums underneath it. While most robotic vacuums take hours to vacuum a single room, Vacu-Bot only takes a few minutes and does a much more thorough job. Sales of Vacu-Bot have been strong in the United States - so strong that the executives at Vacu-Bot recently decided to launch their product into other countries.

Although they did a great deal of market research into every foreign country where they introduced their product, the marketers at Vacu-Bot have a problem. In some foreign markets, the Vacu-Bot is selling very well, but in four specific markets, they have sold very few Vacu-Bots. The marketers at Vacu-Bot cannot understand what has gone wrong in these foreign markets.

Cross-Cultural Marketing

People who are from different countries often do many things differently. They dress differently, speak different languages and have a different concept of what is normal conduct. These behavioral differences are the result of people in different communities being taught different ways to accomplish the same thing. Learned behavior that provides guidelines for how people act is known as culture. When companies decide to sell products to countries with cultures that are different than their own, they are participating in what is known as cross-cultural marketing.

When modifying their marketing mix for a foreign culture or country, marketers must first develop a thorough understanding of the unfamiliar target market that they wish to serve and must be sure their current marketing mix fits the culture and characteristics of this new market. If it does not, marketers must make changes to all aspects of their marketing mix that do not fit this foreign market.

In order for their existing product to be accepted by a foreign culture, it may be necessary for companies to make changes to any of the four Ps of their current marketing mix: price, place, product or promotion. In some cases, changes might be necessary to more than one of these four parts of the mix.

Four Types of Marketing Mix Changes

Altering the size of an existing product is an example of product adaptation.
Product Adaptation Example

There are four categories of change that companies might deem necessary:

Product Invention If the current product offering does not in any way suit the foreign culture, the company launching the new product may need to make radical product changes to their existing product or invent an entirely new product.
Product Adaptation If only a few aspects of the current product offering do not suit the foreign culture, the company launching the new product may need to make only minor product changes to the existing product in order to suit the differing needs of the foreign market.
Promotion Adaptation If the product suits the foreign market but consumers do not understand the current marketing message, the company launching the new product may be able to keep their existing product the same and make promotional strategy changes.
Global Standardization If a company makes no changes to the product or the promotional message in foreign markets, it is using a Global Standardization strategy. Companies that use this type of strategy include Coca-Cola, Revlon and Sony television.

Four Types of Marketing Mix Changes: Examples

The marketers of Vacu-Bot are experiencing low sales volumes in four countries: Germany, Japan, China and the Bahamas. Although they did a great deal of market research before introducing the Vacu-Bot to these four countries, something is preventing their product from selling in each of these different markets. The marketers at Vacu-Bot decide to hire a marketing consultant to investigate. Here is what they learn:

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