International Marketing strategies
One of the main trends of the modern society is globalization. That is why any company should tend to enter international markets. In order to make this step successful, a company should have an appropriate marketing and business strategy. First of all, it is necessary to define the term marketing strategy. One of the most precise definitions of this term is the following.
Marketing strategy is an organization's strategy that combines all of its marketing goals into one comprehensive plan. A good marketing strategy should be drawn from market research and focus on the right product mix in order to achieve the maximum profit potential and sustain the business. The marketing strategy is the foundation of a marketing plan (Business Dictionary n.d.).
Simply speaking, marketing strategy is a plan and roadmap how to reach the desired company’s position on a market taking into account the overall market situation and abilities of the company. The desired goals should be reached by means of marketing instruments called marketing mix. International marketing strategy is targeted at effective performance of a company on the international arena.
The case under consideration is Carrefour Company. Carrefour Group is a French retailer, the second largest retailer in the world after Wal Mart. It was founded in 1957 and has become one of the leaders in the industry since that time. Its annual turnover is more than $120 billion. The company has branches around the whole world and employs almost 500 thousand of employees.
The company performs under various trademarks. Among them, the following ones may be pointed out: Carrefour Market and Shopi and Dia. Some additional information about the company can be got from the following quote:
Typically, the Carrefour group will be one of the leading private employers in any country where it operates. Naturally, this is the case for France, where the group was originally founded, but it is also true of such countries as Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Italy and Greece. The group also seeks to support local suppliers, with some 90-95% of the products on its shelves sourced locally, depending on the country (Carrefour Company Profile n.d.).
Thus, it is obvious that the company is really successful. It has managed to reach such an impressive success because of the combination of reasonable business strategy and special attitude to the clients and relations with them. In fact, a client is a central element of the company’s business strategy and philosophy.
Basically, the company performs in two business segments – retail stores and direct marketing. The company’s stores are characterized by different types – from small “home stores” to large supermarkets. Also, these stores are situated in the different locations, including villages, specialty centers, malls and urban centers.
One of the most successful instruments of direct marketing is the company’s catalogue. All the proposed items are broadcasted in the catalogue, which is distributed in the stores and via mail. In fact, it is an efficient technique of direct marketing as it lets the consumers view the items and choose the most appropriate one.
Generally, the company specializes in a variety of business segments talking about demographic and financial characteristics of the customers. Its products are available for people with the average level of income and with the level of income higher than average. Recently, the company has entered the upscale segment of the market.
The company has been always trying to exceed the expectations of its clients. That is why it usually implements innovations in its business. For example, taking into account the growing role of the Internet in the modern world, the company develops online sales channel.
However, the development of the Internet is not the only trend in the modern society. Any company should be socially and environmentally responsible. The analyzed company is not an exception. Talking about social responsibility, the company has an initiative to help women to get a college degree later in life can be mentioned.
Also, Carrefour conducts some initiatives in the area of environmental responsibility. It is an important part of the company’s international marketing strategy since this step is able to improve the company’s image and result in better financial outcomes. These initiatives include the following directions: more efficient energy management and responsible paper sourcing. The company tries to establish effective energy management systems in its every store. The final aim of this initiative is to decrease the greenhouse gas emissions. It is a well-known fact that these emissions are the primary reason for the global warming.
The company realizes that its usage of catalogues is a great waste of paper. That is why it developed a Paper Procurement Policy in 2009 in order to limit the negative impact of this process on the natural environment. Also, due to this, the company develops online channel of sales. Thus, it is obvious that this company can be called a really modern company that realizes the modern trend and tries to follow them.
As it has been already mentioned, the company is going to enter a global market. That is why it has to develop appropriate international marketing strategy. The main goal of this strategy is to promote the company’s image and products.
Some marketing experts assume that the most effective international marketing strategies are banner advertising and target marketing.
First of all, it is necessary to define both of these strategies. Banner advertising is an instrument of promoting a company’s brand or product in the Internet. Via it, a company’s brand or some particular product is displayed on thousands of web sites all over the Internet. It makes some particular brand more familiar for the potential customers. The reason is that the more times potential customers see the advertising in the Internet the more familiar with the company and its brand they become. This phenomenon has the name of brand awareness (Majon n.d.).
Not surprisingly that brand advertising is really popular today. Its significance will be increasing taking into account the paces of growth of the Internet possibilities.
Another effective promotional instrument is target marketing that helps a company to focus its resources and efforts on some particular consumers and segments of the market. Target marketing implies dividing a market into sections in order to focusing all the efforts on the target section or sections. This trick makes it easier to promote, price and distribute the products of the company (Blue Phoenix Studio n.d.).
Thus, target marketing divides the potential customers into particular groups according to some features – sex, age, level of income etc. Then, company’s promotional strategies are diversified according to these segments for the purpose of covering all the features of a segment. It makes a company’s performance more specialized and, as a result, more effective and relevant.
Target marketing is good to use for large companies that produce a wide range of products for different groups of customers from the whole world. It is essential for such companies to diversify their marketing strategies. Not surprisingly that it is the favorite strategy of large multinational companies.
All the rest strategies are also effective but not in all situations and contexts. For example, direct e-mail can be treated like spam. This situation is to be analyzed below. Cross media advertising is a quite traditional and probably even conservative promotional instrument. Nowadays, it is a time to invent something new. Public relations are the overall term of advertising – it includes all the possible instruments of cooperation between customers and companies. That is why it is treated like an overall strategy but not the particular instrument. Search engine registration is quite an effective instrument; however, it is also quite an expensive promotional strategy. Thus, the most effective will be a combination of two mentioned strategies.
At this particular stage, it is important to understand the mechanism of realization of this strategy. This mechanism should include the following elements: deadlines, people and departments responsible for the strategy’s realization and the mechanism of control of the strategy’s realization. All these processes can be united by one term – marketing organization.
Looking at the pace of development of the modern market, it is possible to say that there is not much time to implement the strategy. Any minute, competitors can overcome us. There is not time to spin out. That is why the strategy should be realized in one year. Three months are needed to develop a strategy. The next nine months are required to implement the strategy. After a year, the company’s managers are going to be ready to evaluate the results of the strategy.
On the other hand, realization of the strategy cannot be evaluated only after the whole planned period. It is also necessary to use intermediate evaluations. Tactical objectives should be estimated by these evaluations. In such a way, the chosen strategy can be really flexible. For example, the strategy can be changed if the circumstances change.
Of course, the main responsibility for the results of the strategy’s realization is carried by the company’s top managers. However, there should always be certain people responsible for it. In such a case, it is always possible to relate the results to performance of these certain people. In general, all the employees of the company should be involved in the process of realization of the strategy.
Finally, it is necessary to define the mechanism of control of the strategy’s implementation. As said it has already been mentioned, this control should be constant. The company’s managers should monitor not only the final results but also realization of the tactical objectives. Doing this, it is always possible to implement changes and correct the strategy. In fact, it is an element of the so-called contingency planning.
Second of all, people responsible for the final results should regularly report to the company’s top managers and shareholders. It should be done because the top managers are eventually responsible for the final results.
Third of all, outsourcing of services of specialized marketing companies can be proposed. They are more experienced in this area and can choose the best way to the desired goals. However, if the company has its own professional department, it can rely on its skills and experience.
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