Culture is an essential part of every society and an important factor that influences a person's desires and behavior because it embodies the objects used in everyday life and in the modes of communication in society. The effects of culture on customer's purchase decision vary from nation to nation. Hollensen (2008, 157.) affirmed that culture has considerable influences on developing marketing strategies in international marketplaces. In other words, culture has direct or indirect impacts on each component of the marketing mix of a firm.
The first element of the marketing mix ' product is considerably affected by culture. In reality, customer's culture is one of the main factors that marketers should pay attention to when introducing products or services to new markets in order to satisfy the customer's demand. Understanding consumer's culture will assist the firms develop the products or services to higher level as well as increase their sales volume.
Thus, it may be concluded that product component of the marketing mix is significantly affected by culture. Regarding the standardization and adaptation approach, the theories presented in the previous parts of this chapter indicate that there is a link between these two approaches and the marketing mix.
As a result, an organization should take into consideration cultural factors when deciding whether it should standardize or adapt these elements to major segments.
In this regard, Eward T. Hall's high ' and low ' context and Greet Hofstede's four plus one dimensions model are considered as effective tools for marketers to select the strategic approach between standardization and adaptation for each element of the marketing mix.
Concerning Hofstede's four plus one dimensions, it helps to explore how the customers may react when a new product or service is launched into their country. Thanks to Hofstede's theory, the firm can deal with customer's behavior and then decide which approach between standardization and adaptation the company should follow for promoting each element of the marketing mix in international markets. Indeed, it is impossible for the firm to apply the same marketing approach for all components of the marketing mix to all target markets. Therefore, a balance between standardization and adaptation becomes a strategic decision that international marketers have to determine.
5.2 Possibilities of future research
This study has provided insights for two approaches of the marketing mix: standardization and adaptation. However, in order to make the study more applicable, further research is highly recommended. There are four main possibilities: further research for 7Ps of the marketing mix of the case company, research for other target markets, research for different sectors of the business, and research for different sizes of the business.
To conclude, there are many possibilities of future research when the case company decides the marketing mix strategies based on cultural diversities.
Increased ease of access to a wider range of material has also increased the need for
careful and clear critique of literature sources. Key literature sources used have been
published material, journals and academic articles as well as academic theses. Having
reviewed the literature on product standardization and adaptation, the authors
synthesize the concepts into their own concept through this summary.
Having in mind the different concepts captured from the reviewed literature, it
is interesting to note that one of the main questions centers on the choice of which
product strategy to employ across cultures. Further the problems that have been
addressed to date are that of the choice of product internalization strategy is highly
dependent on culture, and the nature of product.
It is worth noting that from a company's perspective it is strongly recommended
to reflect on both strategies when wanting to develop a global product strategy while
considering the market characteristics, the company's characteristics and the industry
they operate in. As mentioned above the industry plays a significant part in the
choice, as in the car industry almost non-adaptation may be needed, same it is with
the technological industry. As for the fast food industry as per the basis of this study,
the success of the product strategy is vital to consider the culture of the foreign
markets. Suffice to say, in order to be accepted and to succeed in the foreign markets,
a level of adaptation must be inevitably coupled with a global strategy with
standardization as the main concept.
But despite the issue of globalization and the similarities of markets, the
question of whether to standardize or adapt a product is one that has been mind
boggling for many years. A very interesting observation that is pointed out in the
literature is that in aiming to succeed in international markets, finding a balanced
product strategy as regards standardization and adaptation somewhat depends on the
type of industry that the company is operating in. An example would be, in the fast
food industry where adaptation is inevitable due to different cultures and customer's
In considering the reviewed literature, it can hence be concluded that the rigid
dichotomy between total product standardization and total adaptation of the
international marketing strategies of MNCs is considered neither feasible nor
undesirable. It can be concluded from the past research that culture still plays a
critical part in the choice of product strategy and as long as the different cultures
remain heterogeneous, no matter how homogenous the global market will be,
total product standardization may not be accepted across cultures. Therefore, for
multinational corporations the best and most cost effective strategy for product
internationalization is a combination of a standardized strategy with some significant
The first part of this thesis, the theoretical part, deals with various sources of literature regarding cultural differences and the two approaches of the marketing mix,
i.e. standardization and adaptation. The objective of this part is to provide needed information to support the empirical part. First, the theory concerning cultural diversities is introduced. Hall's high- and low-context cultures and Hofstede's four plus one cultural dimensions are used to clarify the theory of cultural differences. Second, two strategies, i.e. standardization and adaptation are analyzed for each component of the marketing mix. Finally, impacts of cultural differences on these two strategies are concluded.
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