International Marketing Term Paper

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International Marketing

Ethnocentrism is an attitude of superiority, in a cultural sense, where one thinks that one's culture is superior to the others'. Ethnocentrism is the basis of the racism and nationalism and the tribalism sentiments that exist in the world of humans. (Definition of ethnocentrism) In addition, ethnocentricity is generally accompanied by a feeling that because one's own culture is the bets, it is easy to feel contempt and hatred towards other cultures that exist, and also, because of this feeling, the world is also seen through rose tinted glasses. (Speak Soft, Speak Sure) This means that since our own culture is the best, it automatically means that all the others must fit into the expectations that are a part and parcel of our culture, especially since their culture is so inferior to ours. Here it has to be mentioned that the concept of Ethnocentrism cannot be said to be a part of the culture of certain sects of people, in any particular country; it is rather a general feeling that exists in all human beings anywhere in the world. (Mission Resources)

Self-reference on the other hand is when an object refers to itself, when there are two logical levels of a level and a meta-level. The concept of self-reference is generally used in philosophy, mathematics, linguistics, computer programming, and so on, and statements based on the idea of self reference tend to lead to paradoxes. (Self reference definition) How do the concepts of ethnocentricity and self-reference affect the world of International Marketing? In a paper written by Mark Speece and Krairoeck Pinkaeo the concept of 'ethnocentrism' is examined by taking as examples the instances where the price/equality relationship that is generally seen in several countries all over the world deviates from the accepted norms. The examples that are stated are taken from life insurance and from certain international programs held in Universities of Thailand.

It was noticed that when consumers were asked to rate the Thai services being offered in evaluating the country of origin brands and their designs, Thais rated the services of Thai as being the very best, thereby demonstrating the fact that ethnocentrism did exist. However, it must be remembered that this may not be an accurate method of assessing ethnocentrism in Thailand, since it is an irrefutable fact that most consumers tend to believe that the goods and services, as in this case, being offered by their own country are of the best quality, unrivalled by any others. Therefore, it goes without saying that when the consumers believe that these services are of the best quality, then they will be ready to pay the price for the quality, as better quality is always associated with higher prices. However, in Thailand, it was seen that the Thais were not ready to pay the appropriate price for the quality that they were expecting, and this is the basis of this paper.

It is a fact that the influence of the World Trade Organization and the General Agreement on Trade in Services has created a rapidly growing market for trade in services. Though this may be a very good symptom of the future prosperity and growth of world trade and international business, the very subtle but very real barriers of ethnocentrism must be acknowledged by the open service markets and the foreign services and trading sector who wish to establish a base in any foreign country. The issue of ethnocentrism can be taken in the light of the broader issue of the problem of the 'country of origin' or COO, as it is referred to, when foreign services generally bring their own images of their own country with them when they enter the other country, and the initial judgment is passed by the consumers after a very short initial evaluation, especially in cases where the entrant is a virtual newcomer, and there is no previous experience to judge from. The perceptions, based on the 'country of origin' may become quite distorted by ethnocentrism, wherein the products and services being offered at home seem to be much better and more attractive to the domestic consumer in every aspect than those that the foreigner is trying to sell in the International market. (Service expectations and consumer ethnocentrism)

Sometimes it can even so happen that the consumer feels an innate and newfound obligation to buy his own country's products, and not those that are being offered by the newcomer. It is a fact that nobody has been able to give a satisfactory definition or explanation to the problem of ethnocentrism. There is a general opinion that ethnocentrism is deeply rooted in the belief that it would be bets to buy the products and services being offered at home, because of a feeling of nationalism or patriotism, whereby, if these products are bought, then it is good for the country, and the consumers nationalistic ideals are fulfilled and satisfied. This explanation may be true in some cases and not in all, and this still dose not explain the concept of ethnocentrism. One example for ethnocentrism is seen in the economic crisis that was faced by Thailand, during which several companies and the government tried to base their advertising campaigns on the concept that it would be bets for consumers to 'buy Thai' products and services because they would be demonstrating a patriotic feeling by remaining loyal to their own country.

This campaign failed miserably, while 'Buy Thai' campaigns that focused on the better quality of home products and services fared much better and saw more success. This example shows that ethnocentrism may not always be based solely on patriotism and nationalistic feelings, but may involve quite a few complex feelings related to the quality of the product and its pricing, and the feelings of patriotism all linked together. Therefore when the individual feels that his home product is high up the quality hierarchy, then he can feel that 'my own country's products are the bets', a sentiment that is seen in most developed countries. Developing countries may feel that their home products rate second to those from an industrialized and developed country, but they may still feel that their country's products rate higher in the COO hierarchy. (Service expectations and consumer ethnocentrism)

What actually is International Marketing, and how does ethnocentrism affect it? International Marketing is the idea that involves the concept of recognizing that people in different parts of the world have different needs. Certain large companies like Coca-Cola, Gillette, BIC, and Nissan have manufactured brands that are known all over the world; in other words, they are known as 'global brands' that are sold to a 'global audience'. The marketing mix that these companies use for selling their products must be of the exact proportion that includes the knowledge of regional customs and traditions, and in values and language and even in their currency so that it can be positioned accurately. This is what international marketing means. These companies must be aware of the fact that unless the focus is mainly on the local languages and customs, the marketing campaign will not be a success. For example, in the case of Coca-Cola, the advertising focused on local languages and traditions when attempting to position the product, especially in countries like China and in India, where local flavor is of paramount importance. (International Marketing)

The company must accept that there are differences in the lifestyles and traditions of people all over the world, and also that certain products would only suit certain countries and not others. Before marketing the product, the overseas market must be analyzed and tested, in the same manner, as it would be done in their own home countries. This effort will take a much longer time to get done, primarily because of the unfamiliarity of the new location. However, once it is done, it will reap immense benefits for the company, because it would be known whether the product could be sold or not, and if it can be sold in that country, how it can be positioned so that local sentiments and flavors are not interfered with. Some companies undertake to standardize their products so that they may be easily adaptable to the foreign markets. When this is done, the three standard approaches must be kept in mind. These are: 'polycentrism', wherein a company would create subsidiaries, each with their own policies and marketing objectives, and these subsidiaries would remain completely decentralized from the original parent company.

When this method is used, the product could be adapted easily to the exact mix that would appeal to the consumer in the overseas market. The method of 'ethnocentrism' is one in which overseas operations are not given appropriate importance; the plans for the marketing campaigns are created at home, and the differences in consumers and in their different behaviors are not considered to be of any importance. The third approach is termed 'geocentrism' wherein standardization will only take place whenever it is absolutely necessary, and adaptation will…[continue]

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