Experiential marketing (EM) is known to increase overall and spontaneous brand awareness, purchases and recommendations by huge values in the market. This mode of marketing is fast gaining relevance in the market and becoming the necessary tool for marketers in general and specific for brand managers. With this importance, there has been a growing need for the use of experiential marketing in organizations thus indicating their relevance and effectiveness especially in the perishable market and the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector. In determining the relevance and appropriateness of experiential marketing a relationship between the marketing strategy and other variables will be explored, the positive consequences of these variables on experiential marketing is to indicate the relevance and appropriateness of the marketing mode.
In regards to the effectiveness, relevance and appropriateness of experiential marketing, the study sought to establish the relationship between experiential marketing, the consumer behavior or the behavior of purchaser, experiential value and customer loyalty in the fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector. In executing the study, a population of 1090 respondents was evaluated with the survey design being cross-sectional. In this population a sample of 381 was drawn.
Questionnaires were administered to assist collect the responses. In establishing the relationship of the study, there was a rigorous data analysis that was carried out. The relationship would help determine the relevance, appropriateness and effectiveness of EM. From the study, the relationships between the experiential marketing, consumer behavior, experiential value and the loyalty of the customer were found to be positive and quite significant in determining the appropriateness of the marketing mode. Upon carrying out regression analysis, the results showed that EM, value and consumer behavior were significant predictors of customer loyalty. Given that the model used could only explain the customer loyalty of FMCG products by 45.8% in variance, the study recommends that further research should be done with other factors in place or put in consideration especially those that were not part of the model. In carrying out a further research, a longitudinal study is recommended.
To carry out a detailed literature review of previous literature concerning the effectiveness, appropriateness and relevance of integration experiential marketing in organizations.
To examine the appropriateness of EM
To establish the relevance of experiential marketing
To determine the potential effectiveness of EM and experiential value.
To determine the relationship between EM, experiential value and customer loyalty
Experiential Marketing Dissertation Contents
1 – Introduction Background to the Study Statement of the Problem Purpose of the Study Research Objectives Research Questions Scope of the Study Subject scope Geographical scope Time Scope Significance of the Study Conceptual Framework
2 – Literature Review Customer Loyalty Experiential Value and Purchase Behavior Experiential Value and Customer Loyalty Purchase Behaviour and Customer Loyalty Consumer Relationships and Emotions with Brands Experiential Marketing Trend Schmitt’s 5-Stages Experiential Marketing Strategy
3 – Methodology Research Design Study Population and Area Sample Size and Sampling Technique Data Sources and Data Collection Instruments Measurement of variables Validity and Reliability Instrument Data Processing and Analysis Limitations to the Study
4 – Analysis and Discussion Survey results The Relationship between the Study Variables Customer Loyalty EM and Purchase Behavior EM and Experiential Value EM, Experiential Value and Customer Loyalty Regression Analysis
5 – Discussion Customer Loyalty EM and Purchase Behavior EM and Experiential Value EM and Experiential Value and Customer Loyalty
6 – Conclusions and Recommendations Recommendations Areas for further study
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It is vitally important that you gain access to dissertation topic examples marketing during your degree course notably in the final year. To provide an overview of why and how dissertations are written: these need to be both professionally and academically presented.
Difference between reports
and dissertation topic examples marketing
You may have developed your report writing skills in
previous years; if not, please refer to our Report Writing resources. The good
news is that the format and presentation is almost identical, but you will have
A report is usually an end of module assignment with very
clear guidelines from your Tutor. Features of dissertations, final year
projects and extended reports:
Undertaken in your final year of undergraduate
study, or in postgraduate education
Is linked to both current theory and practice
You will have more choice as to the topic and
methodology, and will decide on the aims and objectives of your study
You will be required to undertake more
independent research into subjects which may not have been taught or may have
been covered in a range of modules throughout your programme of study
The word count is usually much higher than for a
Often requires a Project Proposal in order to
gain approval for your key concepts before you start.
Why find dissertation
topic examples marketing?
dissertation topic examples marketing usually contain
sections of writing to record the methodology, results and conclusions of an
investigation. They are used to enable your lecturer to assess the way you have
approached your investigation, collected your data and evaluated your results.
Dissertations demonstrate skills in: planning, organising,
researching, problem solving and time management as well as oral and written
communication skills. They also demonstrate in-depth subject knowledge.
Format of dissertations
Are written using formal academic language
Headings and sub-headings should be used
Bullet points or numbers can be used to list
Are written to be discussed by more than one
Show vigour in research
Drawings, graphs, statistics and other
additional material can be added as appendices
Sections of a dissertation
dissertation topic examples marketing can be written in a
variety of ways depending on your subject area, and whether you have undertaken
primary or secondary research. However the sections below are a general
indication of what sections need to be included.
1. Title page
5. Aims and Objectives
6. Literature Review
7. Research Methodology
8. Ethical Issues
11. Recommendations (if requested)
1. The Title Page
The title should provide a clear indication of what the dissertation is about: it should be accurate and concise. The title page should also include the date the report was written, who wrote the report and who the report was for. Make clear the dissertation topic examples marketing.
2. Abstract (also known as Summary)
This is a summary of the whole report’s contents. Readers
will decide whether to read the whole report based on the abstract and
therefore it should be sufficient for them to understand what the report is
about, including the results of the investigation.
The abstract is written after the rest of the report even
though it is presented at the beginning. It should describe the work that has
been carried out, not the work that will be carried out.
A list of contents is required and should be correctly
formatted. See Student IT support on Managing Longer Pieces of Work.
This gives the background to the investigation. It puts your
investigation into context and gives the reader some idea of the value and
importance of your work. It tells the reader why this is an important subject
5. Aims and Objectives
You should have a clear statement about the purpose of your
study (aim) and how you are going to achieve those aims (objectives). State
what you are trying to achieve and how you will achieve it. This is a crucial
part of the report as it will be judged on whether your aims and objectives
have been achieved: ensure you are clear about the difference between these.
6. Literature Review
This informs the reader of the current thinking in your
particular topic. It will place your research in context and show how you are
building upon previous knowledge. This should also highlight any areas of
contention. Ensure you cite your sources of information and reference your
7. Research Methodologies
This section is important because if you undertake
inappropriate methodology your results and findings will be disputed. The
reader needs to know what you did to find out information so they can make a
judgement about the suitability of your methodology.
In this section, you state what you have done to achieve
your aims, what you did to find information you need and why you did it.
The methodology section can be sub-divided into the
A short section (one or two sentences) in which you make a
clear and accurate statement outlining what sort of investigation you used. Justify
your statements by referencing to best practice.
You should provide a brief description of who you used in
your sample and why. The information should include the essential features of
any respondents used.
• Who were the subjects of the study?
• How were they selected?
• How many were there?
Justify your decisions by referencing back to best practice.
Materials/Apparatus (if necessary)
What sorts of dissertation topic examples marketing material
were used? For example, experimental stimuli, tests, questionnaires. If using
established tests or materials, these should be fully referenced. Any apparatus
used should be described accurately (you could use diagrams or photographs).
This should be a description of exactly how you carried out
the investigation: what exactly happened during the investigation, from start
to finish in enough detail to allow replication. Remember to use the passive
voice (third person), past tense; for example: “The questionnaire was given to
all 1st year students.” “The responses to each question were recorded using
simple tally charts”.
The procedure does not have to take the form of an
experiment; some reports document the findings of desk based research and
extended literature reviews.
Method of Analysis
As your analysis is part of what you did, you should include
a statement of what methods of analysis were used and why they were chosen (do
not panic if the methodology section becomes long – it is quite normal for this
section to sometimes be the longest section of the report).
8. Ethical Issues
All dissertations and investigations should consider ethical
issues. You are expected to complete a Staffordshire University Ethical
Approval form and have this signed off by your tutor. This should be included
as an appendix. In your report you should make the reader aware of the possible
ethical issues of your research and how you overcame these issues, for example:
confidentiality, storage of data and so on.
9. Results/Findings (sometimes this section can be merged with Discussion
It tells the reader what you have found out and is
objective. It states the findings of your research. You may include tables and
graphs, but also explain the results in words. Any raw data should be included
as an appendix.
This covers the interpretation of the results, evaluation of
the theoretical significance of the findings and a general discussion of the
investigation. It should answer questions such as:
• What has your investigation shown?
• Did it achieve its objectives?
• What theory/literature does it support or contradict?
• What are the most plausible explanations of your findings?
• Are there any possible criticisms of the investigation?
The discussion should also:
• Build on the material in the introduction and literature
• Evaluate the adequacy of your methodology
• Suggest design features that may have affected the results
• Include whether the results would be different under
Use your findings and analysis to make recommendations in dissertation
topic examples marketing. You may make the recommendation that further
investigation is undertaken if you realise that there were gaps in your
methodology or anomalies in your findings. Alternatively, you may advise that
some actions be considered.
Make sure references are given correctly. All dissertation topic examples marketing must be reference in accordance to your university’s guidelines.
13. Appendices (content usually not included in the word count)
Do not put results here: only the raw data should be
presented in an Appendix. Some other materials may be usefully included in an
Appendix (for example, blank questionnaires, copy of written tests used).
Remember not to include anything in an appendix that has not been referred to
in the text.
References and further reading
Levin, P. (2011) Excellent Dissertations. Open University
McMillan, K. & Weyers, J. (2011) How to Write
Dissertations and Project Reports. (Smarter Student Series) Harlow: Pearson
Consumer behavior is an important management field, the study and application of which can provide a lot of insight and value to the marketers. This research paper is based mostly on the existing theories and models of consumer behavior. The first part looks for external factors influencing consuming behavior at various stages and the second applies theories to a well known business organization, L’Oreal.
says that the consumer decision making process is often the result of a single
problem however, at other times consumption decision is based on a number of
factors. The example provided by Hawkins (2008) to explain the difference
actually helps the reader in better analyzing the types of consumption requirement.
Running low on gasoline while driving leads to a single factor consumption
decision whereas the realization of an aging automobile, growing feeling of
inadequacy or low self esteem lead to a multi factor consumption decision
regarding a commodity or a service.
marketers of an organization, it is important to take into consideration both
the types of consumption such that the overall sales of that organization are
increased. Consumers are the end point of the supply chain processes. They actually
are the magnetic force for all kinds of manufacturing, production and retailing
processes that are taking place in a market or in an industry. The stronger the
magnetic force in fact, the better will be the overall processes of production,
manufacturing and retailing. It is therefore important for the organizations to
capture as much of that attraction of the customers as possible. One simple
reason for that is that customers are the ones that provide revenue to the
business. An interesting quote by Jeff Bezoz, the CEO of Amazon.com says that
it is actually the customers of the organization that give the business the
money to operate and not the competitors of the organization and thus, all the
strategies that the organization makes to improve the business performance (or
market capitalization) should be oriented towards the customers (Stockport,
then forms the core of the field of consumer behavior. Consumer behavior,
initially stemming out of the study of micro economics has actually gotten
extensive and intensive enough to be termed as a completely independent study
of management sciences and one that can have serious policy implications for a
behavior holds that the purchasing decision of the consumer can actually be
analyzed through various models and theories and using those findings, a
business can orient its market plan to gain competitive advantage in the
market. A number of external and internal factors become a part of
understanding how and why consumers making purchasing decision, using decisions
and disposing off decisions and how preferences and tastes as well as norms,
cultures, peer pressures and traditions become a part of this decision making
process (Lamb, Hair, McDaniel, 2011).
Since it has
now been established that a number of internal and external factors play a role
in influencing the consumers in their consuming decision, the breakdown of each
factor is possible. As far as a business organization and more precisely the
strategic managers or the marketers of the organization are concerned, external
factors are the ones which they have the power over and thus they can influence
the attraction felt by consumers for the product being marketed. However,
before the marketing managers can actually pin point the external factors and
manipulate them, each stage of the decision making process of the consumers
needs to be analyzed.
Analysis of how external variables are used by marketers to influence consumer decision making at the various stages of the consumer decision making model. Illustrations through examples
p. 561) identifies the nominal decision making process and defines it in the
“Nominal decision making, sometimes referred to
as habitual decision making, in effect involves no decision per se….A
completely nominal decision does not even include consideration of the “do not
purchase” alternative. For example you might notice that you are nearly out of
Aim toothpaste and resolve to purchase some the next time you are at the store.
You don’t even consider not replacing the toothpaste or purchasing another
to Hawkins (2008) then a nominal decision making process can be broken down
further into brand loyal decisions and repeat decisions.
For the marketers, development of brand loyalty is another arena that is receiving significant attention mostly because of its importance that has been highlighted through the theories of consumer behavior. The more the consumer feels loyal to the brands, the lesser he or she will actually consider buying another brand and thus the number of secure sales for the organization will increase and in the longer run, the provision of stability of revenue for the organization will also be enhanced.
The example for the nominal decision making process has already been highlighted by reviewing Hawkins (2008) however to provide another example is the purchase of soaps, bottled milk, tea brand, coffee brand or sanitary pads. Mostly, for all of these products, the consumer mechanically throw these products into the shopping cart without even considering that just right to the brand that they picked lies another, probably better brand. Development of this behaviour in the consumers requires effort and strategy from the marketing manager of the business organization.
Next is the
five step decision making process as studied by Lamb, Hair and McDaniel (2011).
In this model, the first step is the recognition of need of a product or
service by the consumers. The second is the information search, third the
evaluation of alternatives and fourth the purchase of the commodity or service.
Finally, the fifth step is the post purchase behaviour. In regards to the model
however, the following has been said (Lamb, Hair and McDaniel, 2011, p. 189),
“The five steps represent a general process that
can be used as a guide for studying how consumers make decision. It is
important to note though that consumers’ decisions do not always proceed in order
through all of these steps. In fact, the consumer may end that process at any
time or may not even make a purchase.”
this model does provide important steps that can be used by the marketers to
create external influence on the consuming behaviours of the customers. Baker
(2003) says that these five stages together are affected by a number of
external and internal factors. These factors include the cultural, social,
individual and psychological factors and are actually applicable to all the
stages of the consumer decision making process. Therefore, if the customers are
to use factors to influence the consumer decision making process, these factors
are to be manipulated. For the purpose of this section of the research report,
only external factors will be analyzed for each stage of consumption of the
goods and services.
step is the recognition of needs. This is actually the first and the most
important step that the marketers can use to attract the customers and thus
gain competitive advantage and even first movers advantage in the market. This
is possible by making the customers realize the need for the product that the
firm is offering. Hawkins (2008, p. 565) says that,
“Marketers often attempt to cause consumers to
recognize a potential problem for which the marketer has a solution…this
sometimes involves making consumers aware of problems well before they arise.”
important word here is “potential”. The usual way through which the problem
solving approach goes is to at first recognize the problem and then solve it. Providing
external stimulus on the need recognition stage of the decision making process,
marketers are actually making the customers create a problem in their head that
they did not realize existed before. Obviously this can be both real and
imaginary but there is no necessity that the consumer knew of the solution to
the problem before. For example, the invention of diapers stimulated the need
recognition stage of the decision making process. Before that for centuries,
mothers and maids were using cloth and plastic panties for their babies and
everything seemed to go fine. With the advent of diapers however, it became
almost a necessity. Something without which bearing a child seemed like a
the marketers can influence the information search stage of the consumer
decision making process by providing to the consumers the necessary information
through various media. Nowadays, television advertisement, billboards and
internet are the favorite sources of providing the consumers with the
information about the product and how that product is the one that the
consumers require in solving the problem. For example when proctor and gamble
came up with the diapers, pampers, they needed to provide the useful
information to the consumers about the product. So that the customers who have
already realized this problem and were looking for a solution find it in the
shape of pampers. This then can require free samples and other promotion
techniques as well. As of today however, the techniques that remain dominant
have been mentioned.
marketers can influence the third step that is of alternative evaluation by
allowing the customer, through efficient marketing strategies to realize that
the product the firm is offering is the best one for the consumer. The external factor used here can be the help
of celebrities to promote a product. Knowing that a specific product works
better than anything else for something well known and looked up to can
actually lead the consumers to be inclined more towards the purchase of that
fourth stage of the consumer decision making model, prices are the factors that
need to be considered and used by the marketers. The consumers should know that
the price they are paying for the product is actually worth it. Here, the
factor and consciousness of social class can play an important role. The effect
of social class on consumer behavior, apart from the direct relationship of
income levels and value of consumption, there is also a direct relationship
till the upper class between the realization of social class and the desire to
mobilize in the social class hierarchy and the value of consumption (Loudon, 2007).
It has been noted that the upper, upper middle and the middle class seriously
dreams of being recognized as the elite (how o not really care about the prices
but about the quality) make more expensive purchases of the products or
services to reinforce their social class image in the society.
Select a company or not-for-profit organisation that you are familiar with and critically evaluate how a specific consumer behavioral theory or model can aid in understanding consumers’ actions. Demonstrate how this then guides the practical implementation of marketing strategy in your chosen organisation.
The business entity selected for the purpose this section of the report is L’Oreal Paris. This is the largest beauty and cosmetics brand in the world. In 2009 L’Oreal completed its hundred years and recognizes its moves in the business world as that of being adventurous. L’Oreal (2011) notes that above and beyond that financial success that the organization has achieved, the journey of L’Oreal has been marked by a quest for innovation, a quest for excellence, a question for the purpose of actually existing in the market and finally a quest for diversity in regards to the range of cultures, preferences and tastes of women around the globe.
This organization has actually celebrated beauty around the globe. L’Oreal has a huge international presence and operates in five continents of the worlds excluding Antarctica and Australia from the list. By the global 100, this beauty brand was actually ranked amongst the world’s 100 most sustainable business organizations. Moreover, this organization in 2011 has been presented with the best financial performance by the Boursoscan (L’Oreal, 2011).
overview of the organization notes that for a century the organization has been
pushing back the boundaries of science to invest and meet the aspirations of
millions of women and men (L’Oreal, 2011). L’Oreal seeks to provide the best
cosmetics to the world in terms of quality, safety and efficacy. In 2010, the
business had consolidated sales figure of 195 billion Euros. Currently, the
organization is managing 23 global brands in 130 countries of the world and
registered 612 patents in the year 2010 (L’Oreal, 2011).
to the core behavioral theories, Schiffman (2008) notes that there are a number
of routes through which the conditioning of consumers to buy a particular
product can be done. The first route is the classical conditioning in which the
consumer links a certain response to a product. For example, in regards to
L’Oreal, classical condition will be that using the Voluminous Mascara
introduced by the organization, the eyelashes will actually look darker and
prettier and the result will be similar to what Ashwariya Rai puts on her eyes.
The conditioning stimulus here will be the darker, more volume eyelashes like
the ones that Ashwariya Rai appears with. Through the advertisement then the
unconditioned response of the consumer who needs to buy mascara turns into a
Schiffman (2008) studies the cognitive associative learning behavior. According
to this view, the relationship or (congruity) between the conditioned stimulus
and the unconditioned stimulus influences the expectations which in turn
influences the behavior of the being. This theory believes that the actions
that occur after certain stimuli have been provided are in fact learned and
occur because of the increase in knowledge. For example in the example above,
the purchase of mascara would occur because knowledge about the qualities of
the product has been gained. Unlike the cognitive associative behavior however,
the classical conditioning believes that the reaction that occurs is actually
these theories, one consumer behavior theory that actually stems out economics
more than psychology is the theory of consumer behavior. Irwin (2005) says that
the consumers according to the model provided in this theory consumes at a
point where there occurs an intersection between the consumer indifference
curve (the choice curve of the customer where combinations of consuming two
alternative goods achieve the same level of utility or satisfaction to the
customer) and the budget constraint of the individual (as understood mostly by
the current income levels of the person or the saved up income from a previous
assumes that the consumers are rational individuals who are responsive to a
price change of products and who also have complete information about the
product and the alternatives. Also it is assumed that the individual under
question is subject to a budget constraint and that he or she has to manage
more than one thing in a given period of time speaking financially.
(2011) however studies the theory of consumer behavior which says that the
problem solving approaches of the consumers are actually internal (made up of
the memory and thinking process of the individuals) and external (made up of
the word of mouth, the media, the store visits and the trials amongst others).
In this theory then, the evaluating behavior of the individuals are made up
either compensatory, non compensatory, hybrid or abandoned strategy. The first
one is the decision based on overall value of alternatives. The non
compensatory evaluation requires that the consuming decision meets at least one
important criterion and the hybrid is a combination of compensatory and non
compensatory evaluation types. Finally, the abandoned strategy is when the
consumer finds the initial criteria unrealistic and proceeds to a less
desirable solution to the problem. Next, Perner (2011) notes that the consuming
behavior of an individual is seriously affected by the attitudes of that
individual; and that in turn attitudes are affected by the intentions, the
beliefs and the feelings about a particular brand.
As far as L’Oreal is concerned, consumer
behavior can be understood critically through these four theories and the
findings can be further used to design a strategy to expand the consumer market
and the competitive advantage of the market.
with the attitudes of the consumers, L’Oreal can be added by understanding what
beliefs individuals have about the products and services that the brand itself
and that the competitors of the brand provide. This can be measured and
analyzed through the attitude measure developed by Perner (2011). Next, the
feelings of the consumers can be understood through this attitude model. For
example, a fan of Ashwariya Rai, or Penelope Cruz (the brand ambassadors of
L’Oreal) will feel a push for consuming the product after aggressively
understanding how they feel for the product. Also, being there for a century,
this brand is also a name through the generations. Understanding those feelings
of the consumers will help steer the marketing plan of the organization towards
a greater organizational performance overall.
Next, the theory of consumer behavior includes the importance of prices of the product. This is actually one of the core consumer behavior theories and is the most detail about the behaviors of the individuals. In this regard the organization can use the theory to understand what effect a price change of the products and services has on the sales of the organization and the demand of the consumers. Make up, after a certain limit is usually a luxury for individuals and L’Oreal is an expensive brand.
To keep up its market share and to not lose to organizations which are charging a lower price for similar products through the substitution and the income effect it is important for the management of the organization to carefully consider the underpinnings of the theory of consumer behavior. For this purpose, if the price of the good is actually not that far away from the actual investment put into the product in terms of research and development and manufacturing, the organization can actually use the coin of high quality. The perception of consumer about the quality of the product is a vital asset when an organization is designing its price and marketing policies. The better the consumer perceive the quality of a product to be, the more he or she will be willing to spare for that product because they will know that the money is being well spent and that there will be no hazardous consequences of using a particular product.
(1970) studies that the consumers are continuously busy in the choice making
between different products however, the consequences of these choices are dimly
known by them. One of the reasons is that they lack full knowledge about the
price and quality of the product. The marketers of a business organization then
can utilize the consuming behavior and the attitudes of the consumers for the
purpose of attracting the maximum share of revenue for the organization.
research paper studied how the marketers can actually use external factors
including the social class, peer pressure, celebrity following and fashion
trends to influence the consuming behavior of the consumers.
part of the research report analyzed the various theories of consumer behavior.
Those theories then were in critically used to apply for the case of L’Oreal
Paris, one of the largest multinationals in the world. Dholakia et al (2010)
says that in the case of multimedia and multi channel organization like
L’Oreal, the analysis of consumer behavior is different than the usual
analysis. Finally, for the applied consumer behavior theories, a number of
marketing strategies were recommended for L’Oreal.
Standardization versus Adaptation Debate in International Marketing
In the international business market field, standardization versus adaptation debate is not new, where thus far researchers have not agreed on which strategy is effective to be adopted in international market. Taking a business into international market and successfully selling its products and services can attract a range of challenges. For many years, many multinational corporations make costly mistakes when trying to sell to the global consumers or audience. Such mistakes are mainly described by a lack of awareness of the role and contributions of adaptation and standardization in international markets. This paper seeks to analyse the issues of adaptation (customization) and standardization (global strategy) within international marketing strategies and proposes specific approaches that can help companies compete efficiently and effectively within these global setting.
Since the start of the 1980s, globalization issue has developed significantly and critical to modern businesses. Globalization has helped in reducing the differences between countries. Both international of businesses and an increasing level of globalization have had a significant impact on how businesses plan and view their global marketing strategy (Wang & Yang, 2011). As a result, various research studies have been done on whether companies need to standardize or adapt certain behaviours in international market. As these multinational businesses start to market their products and services in foreign markets, one important strategic decision is whether to change the marketing strategies and mix to match the unique aspects of each local market or whether to adopt a standardized marketing mix (people, promotion, place, price, product, process management, and physical evidence) and a single marketing strategy in all international markets (Vrontis & Thrassou, 2007)
One consideration shows that markets are becoming more integrated, increasingly more global and similar and consider that the main element to business survival is its capability to standardize. In contrast, the other consideration identifies the challenges in adopting a standardized strategy, and thus, supports market adaptation or customization. Nevertheless, evidence proposes that following adaptation or standardization strategies depends on the positioning and dimensions present in respective international market.
Standardization versus Adaptation
Based on some studies, followers of standardization consider that there is an integration of cultures with the same customer demand and environmental demands across the world. They also state that trade barriers are being reduced and advancements in technology, where multinational companies reveal global integration in their strategies. Under standardization, providing a single strategy for the international market, along with standardizing the marketing mix components, can enable constancy with customers and also reduce costs. Brei, et al (2011) state that businesses managed effectively have shifted away from customizing their products to serving internationally standardized items that are low priced, reliable, functional, and advanced. Brei, et al (2011) further state that businesses can attain long-term success through focusing on what customers need instead of being afraid of the particulars of what customers think they might need.
In contrast, followers of international adaptation strategy focus on the significance of customization. The key base of the adaptation strategy is that when a business enters an international market, it needs to reflect on all environmental aspects, constraints, and factors, such as societies, cultures, different laws, taste, education, occupations, race, climate, and language (Akgün, et al., 2014). Nonetheless, studies have reported significant source of constraints that may be challenging to measure, for example, customs, manners, attitudes, values, religion, aesthetics, education, and cultural variations originated in history, along with variations in legal systems, economics, wants, and needs. Vrontis and Thrassou (2007) stated that multinational corporations need to realize how they should alter their whole marketing strategy and include how they order, distribute, and sell to match the new international or local market demands. It is also very vital to adjust the marketing strategy and mix to fit local preferences and tastes, customer non-equivalent requirements, and special market needs.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Standardization
Global uniformity and standardization have various benefits. First, customers can anticipate similar quality level of any particular brand in all outlets across the globe. Moreover, Hise and Choi (2013) posit that standardization facilitates positive consumer perceptions towards certain product. If companies that have a strong reputation and brand identity decide to follow the standardized approach, they will certainly gain success. In a global setting, positive word-of-mouth can imply an improvement in sales. Another benefit embraces cost reduction that provides the economies of scale (Hise & Choi, 2013). Selling huge amounts of non-adapted, same product and purchasing certain constituents in bulk may help in reducing the cost-per-unit.
Other benefits linked to economies of scale consist of reduced investment costs, marketing operational costs, and enhanced research and development. Additionally, standardization is a rational strategy in an era in which trade barriers are diminishing. Adopting a standardized approach assists multinational businesses to direct their emphasis on a uniformed marketing mix particularly concentrating on one single product or service, enabling adequate space for quality improvement. By focusing on one single uniformed product, employees will be trained to improve the product quality, which enables manufacturers to make equipment and technological investment that can protect the quality of the standardized product being served.
Nevertheless, standardization poses a range of shortcomings. Aforementioned, different international markets mean different consumer’s preferences. As a result, selling or offering one unified item poses lack of uniqueness. This enables competition to acquire bigger market share through adjusting their products to fit the need of a certain segment or market. Given that different markets have varied tastes and needs, by adopting the standardized strategy, businesses can become more at risk. One company example is Walmart’s failure when it entered international markets (Kim, 2008). Walmart encountered various challenges when it entered foreign markets such as Japan, South Korea, Brazil, and Germany as it realized that its recipe for success in the US (a huge set of merchandise, inventory control, and low prices) did not actually activate the same level of success in foreign markets with shoppers with varied habits and own discount chains. The key problem for the retail giant was that the company tried to inflict its values globally. Particularly, Walmart’s incident is Germany, where the company lost large sum of dollar as of 1998, has become an example or reference point for how not to expand internationally.
Another disadvantage is that it relies mainly on economies of scale. In nature, companies that are global often engage in manufacturing in various countries. This may also pose a great problem because some countries adopt trade barriers such as the EU and the US (Dimitrova & Rosenbloom, 2010). For such a case, adaptation is predetermined. However, even though the standardization strategy is more used, its adoption is not absolute. Standardization approach raises the performance of a firm. Nevertheless, this is only true for businesses where competition occurs in a global range, such as perfumes, luxury goods, fashion, electronics, consumer durables, among others. In such cases, similar product may be sold across all markets. In contrast, there are other sectors where this same action does not apply and thus, this needs to be considered.
Moreover, consumer non-durables, such as food products, are highly responsive to variations in national habits and tastes, making the companies to consider some adjustments to fit different markets. For instance, Unilever realized a greater opportunity among Indian low-income consumers who intended to purchase personal care products and high-end detergents, but might not afford them. To respond to this, Unilever produced a low-cost packaging product and various other alternatives that enabled it to provide radically cheaper alternatives. According to Theodosiou and Leonidou (2003), such a flexibility not only increase a new market for the business, but enabled also it to produce brand loyalty that customers benefit from it when their income increased and might afford higher-end products from similar manufacturer.
There are some questions which most businesses in the international market expansion need to answer: what products do we aim to standardize? And do we standardize distribution channels, pricing, marketing communications, product support and customer service? The answer to such questions need to either all adapted or all standardized.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Adaptation
Customization is also commonly considered an adaptation. Moreover, product adaptation is more applicable in the case in which: (1) there is an intense competition, compelling differentiation of products; (2) there is a considerable variations in consumer wants and needs; and (3) to meet essential host country requirements, including legal, technical, and packaging issues. These are also essential reasons for product adaptation and modification; literacy, customer lifestyle, and consumer’s income level.
The key arguments towards implementing adaptation approach is that it entails the individual approach as it enables the company to be aware of the preferences, wants, and needs of each market or consumer. Followers of adaptation strategy credibly support the idea that there is a considerable variation in consumer’s lifestyle, political system, regulations and rules, economic condition, culture, and consumer belief and values across the globe. Such elements need to be reflected on for the success of the company (Hussain & Khan, 2013). The application of adaptation marketing strategy supports the companies to gain an increased competitive advantage. In addition, the ultimate aim of a business needs not to be the cost reduction using standardization, but the actual long-term corporate profitability through improved sales attributable to the enhanced use of the differing consumer needs globally.
Poturak & Duman( 2014) assert that the followers of standardization does not possess the conventional knowledge of contemporary marketing. Irrespective of various arguments of improved consumer homogeneity, various studies have reported that consumers are becoming progressively more complex or diverse and do not essentially intend to substitute quality over price. Moreover, product modification or adaptation approach will results in a boost in sales volume of the company in international market; by highly meeting the wants and needs of the consumers, but reflecting on the competing companies; and by also retention of the current customers through frequently updating the product.
There are also certain drawbacks of product adaptation or modification of different marketing strategy, including duplication of the practices across the company and additional cost needed for the promotional practices. In this strategy, the company will need extra resources for research and development. The increased costs are attributable to defender fights and developments, which are also more risky. Moreover, companies may lack knowledge and experience regarding the technical elements of the different products and understanding on how to market a product (Hossain & Yazdanifard, 2015). This strategy also promotes decentralization of management.
Most Appropriate Strategy
These two strategies emerge to be coherent, logical, and rational, outlining the benefits that a company intending to expand internationally can acquire through implementing either strategy. When an international company puts forth all its efforts of the extreme side of either strategy, it normally becomes incoherent and unfeasible. The point is that marketing for international companies is not based on either of the two opposite strategies, since both strategies are probably to coexist, even in similar multinational company, brand, and product line (Rocha & Silva, 2011).
Vrontis and Thrassou (2007) stated that standardizing some components of the marketing mix, while adapting other components to differing market conditions is required. Adaptation and standardization should not be considered an ‘all or nothing’ proposal; rather it should be considered a matter of degree. For instance, diversity across various countries and markets does not enable whole standardization. Nevertheless, Schilke, et al. (2009) opines that higher cost associated to adaptation can limit the application of adaptation strategy. Wei and Yazdanifard (2014) focus on three factors to analyse adaptation and standardization practices: transferability of competitive advantage; homogeneity of various consumers’ reponse towards the marketing mix; and similarities in the level of economic freedom.
Schilke, et al. (2009) point out that even in markets or countries with the same cultures, such as across the EU, there are variations in customer wants and needs. In addition, they state that standardization will be effective when the customer response homogeneity and the level of sameness in economic freedom are higher, with easily transferable competitive advantages. Components of both strategies need to be integrated so that it can enable international companies to achieve desirable success. Acquiring the benefits of both strategies needs various firms to not only standardize different components of marketing strategies and marketing mix, but to implement also adaptation when needed with the aim of meeting the evident market needs (Batraga & Pūķe, 2015).
McDonald’s Case Study
An example of a major corporation that has been able to demonstrate the benefits of both adaptation and standardization strategy is McDonald’s. With around 35,000 restaurants in around 120 countries globally, McDonald’s competently manages its franchise system, providing an outstandingly reliable branding and customer experience, while also enabling for locally appropriate service and menu differentiations in segments or markets globally. Moreover, all advertisements are provided in twelve different languages, characterizing the tailored products organized to each region or market (Vignali, 2001). McDonald’s launched the McArabia (a flatbread sandwich product) in 2003, to its outlets in the Middle East. In addition, in India, it launched the McVeggie, while introducing EBI-Fillet-O shrimp in Japanese markets.
The company also selects convenient locations for its franchises, which include local neighbourhoods, airports, and malls. Such marketing strategies have proven to be efficient, showed by the company’s 8% increase in profit margins within the last five years. Nonetheless, McDonald’s has placed various efforts to improve them using the latest marketing practices in regards to the 7Ps. The company has started to modernize its eateries, shifting from a plastic-appearance to a more wood and brick design with the aim of sustaining a modern image (Yeu, et al., 2012). McDonald’s has also chosen to “re-image” its business operations in their advertisements through integrating a hip-hop theme with young generation icons such as Lee Hom and Justin Timberlake in China as a way of attracting young people. Moreover, this company has started to serve healthier foods (e.g. oatmeal), provided consumers are highly health conscious.
Conclusion on Standardization versus Adaptation
The regular topic in international marketing is whether multinational firms need to plan for adapted or standardized marketing strategy is immensely debated in scholarly setting and is a major issue to all multinational firms and marketing individuals. Followers of standardized strategy state that the international market has become homogenized and thus, these firms can market their commodities similarly across the globe. Using similar approaches will lead to higher margins and reduced costs. On the contrast, followers of the adaptation strategy focus on the evident differences between the markets of various countries and markets, particularly those for consumer goods, and favour adopting global differentiated marketing initiatives
This paper listed some advantages and disadvantages of every strategy, suggesting that the solution to an effective market strategy lies between these two extreme strategies. Firms can promote a strong international marketing strategy with the relevant structure, attitude, and operating behaviours that attain an effective and efficient balance between standardization versus adaptation approaches. Companies intending to expand internationally need not to treat the world as one singular market. Rather, they should initiate market research and establish their customers, and their wants and needs.
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Hise, R., & Choi, Y.-T. 2013. Are US companies employing standardization versus adaptation strategies in their international markets? Journal of International Business and Cultural Studies, 1-29.
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Kim, R. 2008. Wal-Mart Korea: Challenges of Entering a Foreign Market. Journal of Asia-Pacific Business, 9(4), pp.344-357.
Poturak, M., & Duman, T. 2014. The Role of Marketing Standardization versus Adaptation Strategies on Managers’ Satisfaction with Export Performance: Proposal of a Conceptual Framework. European Journal of Economic Studies, 10(4), pp. 252-262.
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Schilke, O., Reimann, M., & Thomas, J. 2009. When Does International Marketing Standardization Matter to Firm Performance? Journal of International Marketing, 17(4), pp. 24–46.
Theodosiou, M., & Leonidou, L. 2003. Standardization versus adaptation of international marketing strategy: an integrative assessment of the empirical research. International Business Review, 12, pp.141–171.
Vignali, C. 2001. McDonald’s: “think global, act local” – the marketing mix. British Food Journal, 103(2), pp.97 -111.
Vrontis, D., & Thrassou, A. 2007. Adaptation versus standardization in international marketing – the country-of-origin effect. Innovative Marketing, 2(3), pp.7-20.
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Did you find any useful knowledge relating to the impact of standardization and adaptation on International Marketing in this post? What are the key facts that grabbed your attention? Let us know in the comments. Thank you.
Title: Reputation and Brand Management. In the recent years, some companies have been paying little attention to managing their reputations. Although the image of some companies is at risk, they do not see the risk posed by the loss of reputation (Issacharoff & Rave 2013). The BP oil spill accident was one of the largest environmental crises to happen in the recent times because it affected both the marine life and the human sector (Issacharoff & Rave 2013). Although this accident may not have affected the company directly in terms of financial performance, it lost part of its reputation. The company spent a lot of money on restoring the undermined image, although its efforts were not largely successful. The reputation of BP was made even worse by the responses given by the CEO Tony Hayward (Economist, 2018). In particular, the CEO tried to shift blame to other parties without taking full responsibility and making the necessary efforts to curb the situation.
Despite some of the bad remarks made by Hayward, when the accident happened, the company tried as much possible to curb the situation. Even James Ross, the Chairman of BP in the U.S., decided to go to the scene and estimate the level of the accident in order to see how the damage can be minimized. In just two hours after the accident had occurred, BP opted to send skimming team to the accident scene (Du, 2012). In addition, after 24 hours, BP had had already sent about 36 specialists to the site, which was a crucial step due to the fact that it reduced damage which has been caused to the company’s reputation. The measures taken succeeded in one way or the other. The company should have focused further on how to deal with the situation instead of spending a lot of money on PR exercise.
Volkswagen Company in 2015 was involved in emission scandal, whereby EPA issued a statement stating the company had greatly violated the Air Act (Ewing, 2015). According to the report released by EPA, it is clear that their TDI engines emitted a few poisonous gases after conducting a laboratory test, whereby in the real sense it was not the case because these engines emitted about 40 times more poisonous gases (Benjamin, 2018). The scandal affected the reputation of the company because the diesel emissions from the engines made by Volkswagen are not currently considered suitable due to not being environmentally friendly.
In order to solve the problem, Volkswagen came up with ways of reducing the diesel emissions. First of all, the company acknowledged the fact that they were involved in manipulating the tests conducted to investigate the vehicle emissions. The CEO himself apologized to the customers by admitting that the scandal had completely damaged the public trust and customers as a whole (Zhang et al., 2016). In addition, the company decided to pay the fine as result of damage caused by the diesel emissions, although it was costly to the whole organization. The effort made by the company to compensate for the damage caused by the pollution proved to be important because after some time, Volkswagen started to regain its lost customers sales, brand management and Reputation.
Brand Management Reputation Marketing
Also, Wells Fargo scandal was one of the biggest financial crimes committed ever, whereby the bank intentionally created more than 2 million fake accounts (Corkery, 2013). According to the report conducted in 2016, it was clear that this scandal inflicted a lot of damage to the Company because its reputation was largely damaged. For example, negative perception towards the bank increased from 15% to 52% after the criminal activity was revealed, which means that the bank had to witness decreased loyalty and the number of customers as result of the scandal (Corkery, 2013). Most of the customers started leaving the bank because it had already lost its reputation.
Further, the management of the bank tried as much as possible to restore its image at all cost. For example, after the occurrence of the scandal, it decided to pay compensations to some victims. The bank wasted significant costs on settling the damage done to its reputation by the scandal. For example, it had to pay $ 185 million in order to settle the charges resulting from the manipulation (Mims, 2017). In addition, the bank paid 570,000 customers, whom the company claimed to have taken car loans without their permission (Mims, 2017). After making efforts to compensate the affected customers, the bank’s activity started to alleviate the situation. For example, it managed to win back the faith of some of the loyal customers. In addition, the reputation of the company started to improve to some extent because it made efforts to rectify the fault.
Corkery, M. Wells Fargo Struggling in the aftermath of Fraud Scandal. The New York Times, 2013.
Du, S., & Vieira, E. T. Striving for Legitimacy through Corporate Social Responsibility and Brand Management: Insights From Oil Companies. Journal of Business Ethics, 110 (4), 2012: 413-427.
Economist. “A year on, Wells Fargo cannot shake off its mis-selling scandal”, 2018.
Ewing, J. Volkswagen says 11 Million Cars Worldwide are Affected in Diesel Deception. The New York Times, 2015.
Issacharoff, S., & Rave, D. T. The BP Oil Spill Settlement and the Paradox of Public Litigation. Louisiana Law Review74(2) 2013: 397.
Kervyn, N., Chan, E., Malone, C., Korpusik, A., & Ybarra, O. Not All Disasters are Equal in the Public’s Eye: The Negativity Effect on Warmth in Brand Management Perception. Social Cognition32(3) 2014: 256-275.
Mims, J. H. The Wells Fargo Scandal and Efforts to Reform Incentive-Based Compensation in Financial Institutions. NC Banking Institute2(1) 2017: 429.
Preston, Benjamin. “Volkswagen Scandal Tarnishes Hard-Won US Reputation as Green Company.” The Guardian, 2018.
Zhang, B., Veijalainen, J., & Kotkov, D. (2016). Volkswagen Emission Crisis: Managing Stakeholder Relations on the Web. In Webist 2016: Proceedings of the 12th International conference on web information systems and technologies. Volume 1. Scitepress, 2016