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Standardization/customization Debate in Global Marketing

Autor:   •  January 12, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  1,320 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,423 Views

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Within the field of international marketing, the debate of standardization and customization has played a large significant part of the research and Vignali and Vrontis (1999) indicated that this debate started as early as 1961 with the worldwide advertising (cited in Vrontis, Thrassou, and Lamprianou, 2009, p.478). When companies start to go global they need to decide on how they will do their marketing mix and whether to adapt to the local market or go from a standardized approach or a mix of both. This essay will discuss the factors that promote both standardization and customization, as well as discussing to what extent are consumer buying habits converging.

Factors that promote standardization

There has been must research done of the advantages of standardization for companies acting globally and the main point will be discussed here.

Supporters for standardization believe that the markets are becoming more and homogenous and they believe that in order to survive companies have to standardize the products and services (Levitt, 1983 cited in Vrontis, Thrassou and Lamprianou, 2009, p. 478). They also argue that consumers needs, want and requirements do not vary significantly across market or nations (Vrontis, Thrassou and Lamprianou, 2009). Backhaus and van Doom (2007) argue that different advertisements in different countries might create confusion amongst customer; therefore using standardized advertisement may prevent this from happening (cited in Vrongis, Thrassou and Lamprianou, 2009, p. 479). Gillete uses this approach with their standardized Mach3 product for their packaging and the product itself (Keifer, 2005). According to Levitt (1983), by adapting a standardized approach companies can provide the global markets products that are advanced, functional, reliable and low in price, as well as it would allow companies to concentrate on what everyone wants rather than worrying about details of what everyone might like (cited in Vrongis, Thrassou and Lamprianou, 2009, p. 480). Coca Cola uses this sort of approach in their global expansion. They standardize their syrup all over the world and the bottlers in each country then adjust their products to the markets, which could be by the amount and type of sugar used as well as the liquid used to mix the syrup with (Keifer, 2005).

There are numerous factors that promote standardization, but according to Papavassiliou and Stathakopoulos (1997), these are the main ones:

• Consistent image and brand identity on a global basis

• Minimizes confusion among buyers that travel

• Allows companies to develop a single tactical approach

• Enables the companies to take advantage of competitive advantage of economies of scale in production and experience and learning curve.

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