1.1 Defining Global Marketing

Case: Toyota has a vehicle for every market

2018 Toyota Camry
Photo by EurovisionNim, CC BY-SA 4.0

Each market has unique cultural characteristics and contextual circumstances that must be considered. For example, in North America roads tend to be wide; highways can accommodate a broad array of vehicles with a high number of lanes, and people demand a mix of cars based on their needs. Conversely, in Europe roads tend to be narrow, and the market demands smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. Therefore, while a Toyota 4Runner tends to sell extremely well in the US or Canada, it would not be a very popular model in Europe for these very reasons.

As a result, Toyota invests billions of dollars every year into market research and market development to make sure they meet the needs and wants of its customers, in each specific country they sell their vehicles in. This has led to Toyota’s success in the North American automotive market. With their #1 selling sedan, Toyota Camry, a wide array of hybrid models, trucks, and SUVs to meet the North American consumer’s constantly-changing expectations. In the automotive industry, Toyota is arguably one of the strongest players among its competitors.

Case: Insurance Giant, Sunlife Financial in Today’s Global Digital Market

Sun shining on snow covered field
Taken one morning on my way to Fanshawe College. Seeing the sun brightly shining during this winter season makes me happy and somehow Sun Life’s slogan “Life’s brighter under the sun” is true in every sense of the word. Photo by Ma Rona Loren Escrupolo CC-BY-NC-SA

Sun Life Financial has positioned itself as a trusted provider of financial products and services. It has embraced digital technology to provide customers with various financial solutions, including insurance, investments, retirement planning, and more. Its global marketing strategies include a focus on digital marketing and customer experience. Sun Life Financial has taken a proactive approach to the worldwide market by investing heavily in digital technologies to make its products and services easy to access and use. This includes developing a comprehensive digital platform that allows customers to access personalized advice and assistance from their homes. They provide customers with a more personalized experience through marketing campaigns, customer loyalty programs, and customized services. In 2016, Sun Life launched Ella, an interactive digital coach that helps their clients by providing information and can help anyone find a physiotherapist, a dentist, or a massage therapist. (Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, 2023). Sun Life also seeks to stay ahead by leveraging digital technology to provide customers with the most up-to-date financial solutions and keep up with the evolving technology trend, thus partnering with MaRS, the largest innovation hub in North America (Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada, 2023).

Ma Rona Loren Escrupolo, March 2023

Now that the world has entered the next millennium, we are seeing the emergence of an interdependent global economy that is characterized by faster communication, transportation, and financial flows, all of which are creating new marketing opportunities and challenges. Given these circumstances, it could be argued that companies face a deceptively straightforward and stark choice: they must either respond to the challenges posed by this new environment or recognize and accept the long-term consequences of failing to do so. This need to respond is not confined to firms of a certain size or particular industries. It is a change that to a greater or lesser extent will ultimately affect companies of all sizes in virtually all markets. The pressures of the international environment are now so great, and the bases of competition within many markets are changing so fundamentally, that the opportunities to survive with a purely domestic strategy are increasingly limited to small and medium-sized companies in local niche markets.

Perhaps partly because of the rapid evolution of global marketing, a vast array of terms have emerged. Clarification of these terms is a necessary first step before we can discuss this topic more thoroughly.

Let us begin with the assumption that the marketing process that you have learned in any basic marketing course is just as applicable to domestic marketing as to international marketing. In both markets, we are goal-driven, do necessary marketing research, select target markets, employ the various tools of marketing (i.e., product, pricing, distribution, communication), develop a budget, and check our results. However, the uncontrollable factors such as cultural, social, legal, and economic factors, along with the political and competitive environment, all create the need for a myriad of adjustments in the marketing management process.

Global vs Domestic Marketing

One of the inevitable questions that surfaces concerning global marketing is, how does global marketing truly differ from domestic marketing, if at all?

Historically, there has been much discussion over commonalities and differences between global and domestic marketing, but the three most common points of view upon which scholars agree are the following:

  1. All marketing is about the formulation and implementation of the basic policies known as the 4 Ps: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion.
  2. Global marketing, unlike domestic marketing, is understood to be carried out “across borders”.
  3. Global marketing is not synonymous with international trade (Perry, 1990). Perhaps the best way to distinguish between the two is simply to focus on the textbook definition of international marketing. One comprehensive definition states that “international marketing means identifying needs and wants of customers in different markets and cultures, providing products, services, technologies, and ideas to give the firm a competitive marketing advantage, communicating information about these products and services and distributing and exchanging them internationally through one or a combination of foreign market entry modes” (Bradley, 2005).

At its simplest level, global marketing involves the firm making one or more marketing decisions across national boundaries. At its most complex, it involves the firm establishing manufacturing and marketing facilities overseas and coordinating marketing strategies across markets. Thus, how global marketing is defined and interpreted depends on the level of involvement of the company in the international marketplace.

Core Principles of International Marketing – Chapter 1.2 by Babu John Mariadoss is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.


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Global Marketing In a Digital World Copyright © 2022 by Lina Manuel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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