International Marketing – Definition and Examples

International Marketing is nothing but Marketing seen through a global lens.


International Marketing Definition

International Marketing is defined as the performance of business activities designed to plan, price, promote, and direct the flow of a company’s goods and services to consumers or users in more than one nation for a profit. The only difference between the definitions of domestic marketing and international marketing is that in the latter case, marketing activities take place in more than one country. No matter domestic or international the Marketing objective remains the same for marketers. The objective is to make profit by selling products or services in geographies which have a demand for them.

Challenges with International Marketing

When compared to domestic Marketing, International Marketing has its own set of challenges. Marketers are generally unaware of the foreign environment and therefore have to deep dive into the market where they plan to venture.

The challenges can be:

  1. Competition
  2. Legal Restrains
  3. Government Controls
  4. Varied Consumer Behaviour
  5. Ecological factors – Weather etc-

Controlling all the above mentioned factors to create a favourable market is next to impossible for the marketers as most of them are beyond their control. Therefore, marketers need to focus more on what they can control instead of things which is out of their purview. International Marketing Managers adapt to the prevailing conditions and function in a way so that they can smoothen their operation in the country with predictable results of their action.

What makes marketing interesting in the international arena is the fact that marketers have to alter is their elements of marketing – product, price, promotion, distribution, and research keeping in mind the uncontrollable elements of the marketplace – competition, politics, laws, consumer behavior, technology, in a way that marketing objectives are achieved.

International Marketing Examples:

When McDonalds entered in India, they did an extensive research before zeroing upon the menu on offer for the Indian consumers. The entire menu was tailer made as per Indian consumer taste. The company stuck to 40% Pure Vegetarian offering unlike any other overseas market. McDonald’s also made sure to respect Indian culture by not serving beef or pork recipes which on the other hand were popular ingredients in other markets. McDonalds also made sure to create recipes with Indian spices to match the local taste. You can check the current menu here – McDonald’s Indian Menu

Mc Donalds India MenuKellogg’s, the global giant when it comes to cereals, entered in India in 1994 and introduced their proprietary ‘original’ recipe which failed miserably in the Indian subcontinent. The main reason was that Kellogg’s India did not correctly ascertain their competition. Indian consumers were used to local homemade wheat based breakfast recipes. Kellogg’s quickly learnt from their mistake and customised their product from their original recipe to wheat flakes, rice flakes etc-

There are plenty of other examples where global giants customised their offering to meet Indian consumer equipment and thrived. Here are few:

  1. Nokia – Dust resistant phone, anti slip grip and in built flash light for India rural consumer.
  2. Hindustan Unilever – Introduced shampoo sachets priced at Re 1 for price sensitive Indian consumer.
  3. MTV – Localised programming help to gain wider audience.

All these product localizations translated into success stories in India and helped the brand reach every household in the country. Post the success of these products and familiarity with the brand, it gave companies leeway to experiment with their new offerings and lure consumers to try new variants.

Read More on How Unilever Fought the Indian Rural Marketing Challenge – Kan Khajura Tesan – Classic example of fighting Rural Marketing challenges


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