The globalization of business has caused multinational companies to spend considerable time assessing their global product and promotion strategies. A dilemma with both is whether to present a universal product offering or to customize the product or promotional efforts to each country of operations.
A standardized product strategy is when your business decides to produce and market the same basic product in all markets. This approach has economies of scale benefits, as it is much less expensive to design one product and mass produce it to meet global demand. Standardization works best when your product has the same uses and benefits in each country or culture. Inability to differentiate to meet different uses or preferences is a challenge with standardization, especially if your product has variable uses in each market.
Customization as a global product strategy means that you offer product variations or customized versions of your product in each country or market. A simple example of this is when movies are presented with subtitles or dubbed voice-overs in markets with different languages. In other cases, certain features or traits of a product are altered to match the needs or desires of customers in a given market.
A global promotion strategy is when your company presents the same basic message of brand or product value around the globe. This approach ties closely with the standardized product strategy. The general idea is to present a universal product with benefits that apply to customers in each targeted marketplace. An advantage of a globalized approach is consistency, in that customers in each market can identify with your brands as they travel the world. While the company tailors menus and messages in some instances, McDonald's has benefited from a consistent commitment to its global message of efficient, family-friendly fast food.
An international promotion strategy is when promotional messages vary from one country to the next or where campaigns are tailored to different regions. This strategy is used with either the standardized or customized product. With a standardized product that has different uses, variations in marketing project different benefits or value propositions based on the uses in each market. With the customized product strategy, promotions are tailored to emphasize the value of the customized offering in each market. This can generate stronger loyalty in markets where brands are perceived differently, though the costs are usually greater with customized promotion.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.