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Challenges of International Marketing

With the proliferation of social media networks and highly functional smartphones, success in business is no longer discussed in terms of "local" reach. In today's tech-centric environment, business is global. As such, one of the skills businesses look for in new employees is international marketing.

How Local Is "Local"?

Every business begins with a well-defined customer who is within easy reach. For some businesses, these customers are within driving distance. However, as more businesses become virtual — both in their workplace and in their ability to deliver a product — so, too, does their customer base. Awareness of the constituency and personal preferences of these customers drives successful advertising and marketing; it is easier to know what customers want when you are close to them.

Gone Global

The World Trade Organization has charted increases in the volume of global merchandise trade more than 30 times since the advent of industrialized mass-production in the 1950s. The world has gotten smaller, much like the technology we carry around in our pockets, and as a result, the ability of a business to transport goods has dramatically increased. Along with this trade expansion has come a need for specialized international marketing.

A business must consider the local customer behavior toward its product and the marketplace at large. They must be aware of cultural idiosyncrasies that might improve or reduce customers' interest in their product, and they must consider the availability of competing products. It is tough to sell glass beads that are made in a factory on the other side of the world to customers who live in Venice, Italy, for example, because the closest competitor you have in this market operates on the island of Murano, across the bay.

Macro Vs. Micro

A business successfully implements international marketing for its products by considering the larger picture of the product life cycle and pipeline, and then positioning that product within a specific local market. As each local market is going to have its own cultural, religious, legal and ethical considerations, having an employee skilled in international marketing is going to be critical.

However, you cannot expect your employee to be a local expert in every region where you are hoping to expand. In much the same way that you are considering expanding your business to the global marketplace, an online MBA program will give you the skills to successfully implement an international marketing plan for your business's product.

All About Donuts

Consider the example of Dunkin' Donuts. The first store opened in 1950 in Quincy, Massachusetts. Today, there are over 11,000 Dunkin' Donuts restaurants worldwide, serving more than 50 varieties of donuts in 36 countries. When the world celebrates National Donut Day, it celebrates locally. You can get a Boston Creme in Boston (or any of the other 40 states that have Dunkin' Donuts restaurants), a Mango Chocolate Donut in Lebanon, or a Jalapeno Sausage Pie Donut in South Korea. In South Korea, donut time is in the early evening instead of during the morning commute; Dunkin' Donuts has successfully adapted their franchise to the local cuisine and cultural mores and, as a result, has gained an important foothold in the Asian market.

In fact, they have built a coffee roasting plant in South Korea — their first outside the United States — to better serve the local market. While they continue to build their brand globally, they have brought their product closer to the local market to ensure that everyone has the same experience with their donuts and coffee, regardless of where in the world they are getting it.

Understanding the global market and audience is important for all businesses interested in international success. Marketing is a key part of reaching those new and different segments. Students in the FIU online MBA program will have opportunities to study topics such as international marketing.

Learn more about the FIU online MBA program.


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