Heat is on: the global marketing landscape is constantly shifting and evolving — in response to consumer demand, rapid technological innovation and a deluge of content and platforms. Catching the customer/ consumer is one thing, but to what extent the initial impression lasts is the immediate after. Microsoft has found that the average person's attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to eight seconds since 2000. Today, a one-minute video is about 52 seconds too long. Research supports the so-called 'goldfish effect' of social media — 33 per cent of viewers stop watching a video after 30 seconds, 45 per cent by one minute and 60 per cent by two minutes. Another distraction — 85 per cent of Facebook videos are watched without sound, suggesting consumers prefer muted ads. Consumer products giant Procter & Gamble — one of the world's largest advertisers — increasingly use five- and six-second formats to quickly convey the brand and the benefit while Heineken has recognised the need for videos to have 'thumb-stopping power' by telling their stories in under six seconds on Facebook.
International business expanded at a jet speed in the current decade - reasons mainly being rapid growth in technology, coming up of supportive institutions, openness of different economies as well as increase in competition. It is a reality that world trade has assumed today an importance hitherto unknown to the global community. The modern marketer or manager cannot manage a business without looking at the global arena where economic transactions take place even if a marketer decides to confine his own business within the national borders. The fact now is: while trade in the past was undoubtedly conducted internationally, but never before did it have the broad and simultaneous impact on nations, firms and individuals that it has today. In over three decades, world trade zoomed from billions to trillions of US Dollars. Clearly, the global nature of modern economics influences one's decisions in any case.
ON A BROADER VISION: Not in India alone, international marketing has emerged as a targeted area of highest priority among the progressive nations globally. Every country steadily is on the lookout for making full use of its competitive advantage (a country has a comparative advantage over another if it can do so in producing a commodity at a relatively lower opportunity cost in terms of the foregone alternative commodities that could be produced).
HEAT IS ON: What is more, trade growth on a global level has consistently been outperforming the growth of domestic economies in the past few decades, as a result of which many new countries and firms, especially in the emerging economies, have practically located it as highly desirable to become major participants in the international market. Global marketing (marketing on a worldwide scale reconciling or taking commercial advantage of global operational differences, similarities and opportunities in order to meet global objectives as defined by the Oxford University Press) has thus emerged as number one - more so since the emergence of computers and internet has reduced the world to a global village where producers and customers can just log onto the internet to interact and exchange goods and services.
BASICS NOT CHANGING BUT THE OPERATIONS INDEED: While international trade is more expensive than domestic trade, profit that can be generated by attracting customers in foreign markets is highly desirable and often worth the risk of increased transportation and distribution costs.
It is beyond any shade of doubt that openness of economies has been gaining ground - described as total foreign trade (exports plus imports), as a proportion of GDP (gross domestic product), and as such the degree of openness of an economy plays the dominant role. Openness of the goods market refers to free exchange of commodities across national boundaries showing and indicating greater interaction with the global market.
Side by side, openness of the factor market also deserves attention - labour and capital have more freedom to choose between domestic and foreign assets. In fact, the MNCs (multi-national companies) are moving their operations with greater ease around the world in search of lower costs. For example, workers can move freely from one country of EU (European Union) to another without facing many restrictions.
The fact is that for both the developed as well as the developing world, marketing high has not only been considered from the point of view of being an integral component in the context of economic development, but as a rich gold-mine as well (earning foreign exchange that is described as claims on a country by another held in the form of a currency of that country). If one knows the technique to explore, then the resource is meant for one, of course, in a transparent way also. Reaping adequately from modernised, highly fluid and fast-changing global business/commercial environment does depend on its abundant natural/ human/ technological/ financial resources as well as crucially on the very ability to undertake expanded task of adapting to befitting marketing strategies.
WHEN IT DEALS WITH NON-DOMESTIC: As such, although both use all the basic marketing principles, international marketing is more challenging and requires more commitment from the company because of the uncertainty and differences in laws and regulations in the global market while domestic marketing deals only with the laws and regulations of one country.
In domestic marketing, the company can have the same policies and strategies while international marketing requires different strategies in the promotion of their products. As every country has its own laws on business, a company that aims at entering into business in another country must first know about them. Since consumer tastes and preferences may also differ, marketing strategies must be formulated to cater to the needs of different consumers.
CLOSING WORDS: Although international trade can be traced back centuries, even to the ancient network of trade routes that comprised the Silk Road that connected Asian markets to the Mediterranean Sea more than 2,000 years ago, yet the importance has jacked up by leaps and bounds along with intense competition recently. And as such, trade restrictions can definitely be imposed by a government or the international community against a nation that is engaging in unsavory activities [supporting terrorism, human trafficking or conducting research on weapons of mass destruction]. International trade continues to be a political tool as well as an economic indication of a country's global presence.
So in these days of IMC (integrated marketing communication), the utmost need is to keep track of everyday changes. Posting a video, for example, promotes brand awareness, increases consumer understanding and enhances conversion rates. Though a picture is worth a thousand words, yet, according to Forrester, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million of words. What's so good about video that can convey the equivalent of 3,600 pages of text in just 60 seconds? The question of complacency does not arise -- it is obvious enough. Of course, businesses should use whatever resources are at their disposal to contribute to society in a constructive way. This has to be kept in mind that 96 per cent of people believe that it is important for companies to have good social and environmental policies as is reflected in a recent corporate social responsibility (CSR) survey.
Dr BK Mukhopadhyay, a Management Economist, is Principal (Faculty of Management Studies), ICFAI University, Tripura, India.
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