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“At its simplest level, international marketing involves the firm in making one or more marketing mix decisions across national boundaries.'
Doole and Lowe (2001).
Choose an Internationally renowned Multi National Corporation and analyse their International Marketing strategies. Your answers should include:
Create a background section and current situational analysis where you examine the company's position within the International market environment. (LO1,2,3) (25 marks)
An examination of the impact of culture on their international marketing strategies (LO1,3) (10 marks)
Examine and discuss the current marketing strategies and plans, taking into account the consideration of Marketing Research and how market research could support international marketing decision making in an international context (LO1,3) (20 marks)
Analyze the companies International Market Selection and Entry Strategies and describe the chosen International Marketing mix (LO2) (20 marks)
Describe the influence of Electronic Marketing, Digital Marketing in an international context on the company's current and future activities (LO1,3) (10 marks)
Summarize and conclude which future directions the company could choose based on your analysis of the above factors (LO1,3) (15 marks)
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Unilever is an Anglo-Dutch company which has been in the business of FMCG for last many decades. They are a multinational company having a presence in more than 190 countries and with over 400 brands (Unilever, 2015). They are among the top three companies in food business globally with Nestle being the strongest competitor. Like any organization, Unilever also resorted to the international marketing strategy for growth and expansion.
International marketing is concerned with a company's venturing into other global countries outside the home country for the purpose of expansion and developing a separate international marketing mix for them (Joshi, 2014). It is a very common strategy in today's globalized world where the entire world is their market. Unilever's current situation is that it is on growth mode internationally and is setting up subsidiaries in all developing and emerging markets. In the international marketing environment, it had been a pioneer and got the first mover advantage to make its position strong (Armstrong et al, 2012).
Culture is the way of living followed by the people of a country. It is depicted in their beliefs, traditions, values, customs, and rituals. Every global company has the most crucial task of analyzing the culture of the country they are planning to enter (Daniels et al, 2007). Even countries within the same continent would have differing culture and living styles which would ultimately affect their adoption of the international company's products. Culture helps the company understand what the consumer would purchase and why. Hence it helps in deciding the international marketing mix so that failures do not happen. Unilever has been a very intelligent company in understanding cultural dynamics deeply of every country and hence have been successful in all their ventures.
Unilever has always given very high importance to marketing research and specifically international marketing research. Each country has been studied and evaluated in detail to deeply know their lifestyle and values and then devise offering for them. International marketing research is not just crucial in analyzing the potential of a country but also devising marketing strategy most suitable for that country (Blythe, 2009). Unilever has always modified their products to make them more appealing to the population of the country they enter.
In developing and emerging markets they follow very customized marketing strategy to suit their mindset. And for them, they have opened a wholly owned subsidiary in these nations to deeply modify their offer as per the tastes and preferences (Kotler & Keller, 2006).
In developed nations, Unilever has followed a uniform marketing strategy as the developed nations have a different kind of approach towards international brands. They know and understand the quality and the parent company which has a trusted brand.
Unilever started facing stagnancy and maturity in developed nations like UK and USA and hence had to move towards emerging markets. But developing nations are very different from the developed ones in every perspective (McDaniel & Gates, 2012). So Unilever had to undertake massive marketing research about how to enter and set up a base there. The market selection was based on the growth story of these emerging markets and maturity and slow growth in matured markets. All the countries in Asia and African sub-continent were chosen for entering and marketing.
Marketing research can provide deep insights into the development of the international offering (Lee & Carter, 2012). Unilever also has developed their marketing mix for the international markets based on the culture compatibility. The 4 Ps that are developed are Product, Price, Promotion, and Place would have to in sync with the requirements of the country they have entered. For example, in the USA they would have to distribute their goods only through big retail giants like Walmart, Kmart, etc. On the other hand, in India, their products are sold through small mom & pop stores which are available in every nook and corner of the country.