Inclusive Marketing Strategy to Tackle Standardization versus Localization Dilemma

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Consumers today can access products and services from all the world, thanks to the globalization drive, which is uniting most of the countries. Thanks to the Internet, which created an information explosion and enabled the consumers to be aware about the latest products and services available from the different parts of the globe.This helps in the purchase decisions and assists in obtaining contemporary products and services to suit consumers' needs. With this, global companies come under serious pressure of selling the latest products and services to global consumers negating the effect of the Ansoff matrix for mapping markets and products, which enabled the companies to become international and global companies by taking the existing products to different countries. Consumers expect contemporary products and services, but how can companies meet this expectation? What sort of strategies to be developed and adopted to address the challenges given the fact that products and services may not be suitable for all consumers? This may lead companies to develop ‘product-market mapping matrix’ to identify and develop new products or sell the existing products or services. However, such practice would exert pressure on the companies to develop products and services for each new market, thus, increasing the expenses. Moreover, the companies could not sell all the existing products to different markets. So, how can companies overcome the challenges and develop and sell products and services to suit the requirements of the host markets (refers to the markets where the global companies intend to do business). Take for instance BMW, with Germany as the home market, and which wishes to do business in the UAE, the host market.

Looking at the existing practices of leading global companies, these companies develop products and services for key markets (markets with high market potential, revenues, profits, growth options, long term stability, etc.) and move the same to different markets with either minimal or maximum modifications suitable to such markets. This practice is called ‘Localization’. However, such modifications will incur moderate to high cost for the companies, depending on the degree of modifications required for each market. Thus, the companies always intend to balance the continuum of standardization vs localization appropriate to host markets. However, such a balancing effect would never be stable due to the dynamic behavior of consumers in the host markets. So, it throws the companies in a dilemma on how to combat the ever-changing behavior of consumers, develop and sell products or services that would entice the consumers to buy. What should these companies do to manage the dynamic consumer behavior and deliver products and services suitable to such situation without incurring the additional cost of modifications or revisions? The global companies need to work on an inclusive marketing strategy of finding the requirements and expectations of consumers from host markets. Usually, the global companies travel the extra mile to understand the requirements and expectations of such consumers and sometimes end up developing new products and services. However, such practices are costly and exert financial pressure on the companies from the beginning. Therefore, the companies need to educate the local consumers on the different aspects of products and services and portray its usage across different countries (most the developed countries) through initial communication strategy such as television commercials highlighting such usage across the Globe. This practice would help the companies position the products and services selected to host markets, in the minds of host consumers, and relate themselves with the consumers from developed countries. Such a relationship would provide a vital vantage point for the global companies to position the intended products or services as global products or services, and sell the same with minimal modification such as the use of local language for the labels of the packaging. If such practices lead to failure, then the companies need to work on changing the names of the brand to suit the local markets, change the ingredients to suit the local taste, and involve celebrities as a part of the communication strategy. Such revisions cause one to incur minimal cost and avoid focusing on developing new products or services which are costly. Therefore, the companies need to involve consumers in this practice of inclusive marketing strategy and make them brand ambassadors by becoming a part of a global product/service/brand. In the academic fields, the leading universities in the UAE offering BBA, BSIT, and MBA programs include the suggestions and expectations from students while revising the curriculum to suit the ever-changing global and UAE based business scenario. 

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