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The top-selling International Marketing textbook defines international marketing as “the performance of business activities designed to plan, price, promote, and direct the flow of a company’s goods and services to consumers or users in more than one nation for a profit.” The argument is that “more than one nation” is what separates domestic from international marketing. We can also argue that “for a profit” is a constraining qualifier since the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, non-profit organizations, and philanthropic organizations – to name a few categories – also use “international marketing” tools, skills, and knowledge to cross country borders with their activities.

But that’s not the focus of this blog! Instead, let’s use the definition of international marketing as a general guide to the topic. What I do want to focus on is Michigan State University’s influence on international marketing scholarship. For about half a century, MSU’s Broad College of Business has been a leader in international marketing scholarship – research, teaching, services, and outreach. MSU has some 1,400 faculty conducting research, teaching, service, and outreach in 176 countries – and a number of these professors are entrenched in international marketing scholarship. Ultimately, research rankings drive the prestige and reputation of an academic institution such as Michigan State University.

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In the United States this weekend, the country’s biggest event on television, the National Football League’s Super Bowl, will take place. The Super Bowl has become known not only for the play on the field, but also for the advertisements that accompany the television broadcast. For just 30 seconds of air time, a company must pay $5 million for their advertisement, an incredible price that is justified by the huge television audience and the Super Bowl’s unique focus on commercials. In today’s blog post, we will take a look at how and through what channels companies try to engage the general population.

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Do you ever wonder how, or to what extent, your online activity is being tracked? While browsing the internet, ads often pop up on the sides of webpages that are suspiciously similar to recent searches or website visits; this happens because internet activity is tracked and gathered through cookies placed by first or third-party trackers. Third-party trackers first appeared in 1998, and their presence has been steadily increasing ever since. Are cookies placed by trackers something we should be worrying about?

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Expanding overseas to new markets can be one of the most crucial decisions a business makes. Often, expanding internationally is what can make or break a business. International expansion consists of more than simply setting up shop in a new country. The expansion process must be purposeful and must be prepared for, otherwise the business will see more money being drained through this new exploration than made. The following is a collection of observations and tips regarding challenges in global marketing and expansion.

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Brand is bond in the world of business. The first thing we think of when someone mentions a company name is not their most recent financial statements or their internal initiatives to cut costs or boost R&D. The first thought is of the brand that company has built. Take for example, Nike. When someone mentions Nike, by and large it conjures images of cutting edge athletic wear and oozes cool. It is clear that brand is crucial to a company’s success, and while scores of other factors go into success with international business, one of the key components is building a global brand. You don’t want, however, to automatically assume that one broad brand for the entire world will be the perfect strategy for your particular company. Instead, in most cases it makes much more sense to approach different markets in varying ways.

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In a blog post for Cisco, EMEA & Russia marketing director Dr. Christine Bailey explained the omnipresence of digital marketing in the current business landscape: "we’re no longer doing ‘Digital’ Marketing, we’re simply marketing in a digital world." In other words, the appellation 'digital marketing' has become unnecessary; the world is so thoroughly digitized that all corporate marketing actions must align with digital spaces, not just run parallel to them. To be a successful global business in the 21st century, competent utilization of digital platforms is essential. This means not only a complete understanding of analysis and content strategy principles, but awareness of these concepts as they pertain to countries the world over.

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This week, the globalEDGE blog is taking a look at international marketing and its implications for businesses, in a five part series. For companies conducting business in several countries, a strong marketing strategy can be extremely beneficial, connecting the brand with ideas about the company, such as trust or innovation. An effective strategy can bring about cost savings and introduce competitive advantages, which can be crucial for a company attempting to move into new markets.

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[This blog is based on the Article Snapshot for my article with Michael Giebelhausen, HaeEun Helen Chun, and J. Joseph Cronin Jr. in the Journal of Marketing, July 2016. A six-minute radio dialogue between Michael Giebelhausen and Tomas Hult about the article is on the globalEDGE Business Beat]

Consumers experience a "warm glow" and heightened service satisfaction when they participate in a provider's voluntary green program (and vice versa), an effect that can be dampened or heightened depending on how participation is incentivized.

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[This blog is based on the Article Snapshot for my article with Constantine S. Katsikeas, Neil A. Morgan, and Leonidas C. Leonidou in the Journal of Marketing, March 2016. A six-minute radio dialogue between Neil Morgan and Tomas Hult about the article is on the globalEDGE Business Beat]

An assessment of performance outcome measures in marketing reveals significant problems with how such outcomes are conceptualized and operationalized and performance areas in which empirical knowledge of marketing's impact is limited.

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The international marketplace offers great opportunities to Michigan food companies who wish to increase sales. Worldwide, consumer food product exports are growing three times faster than U.S. sales. Though exporting can seem intimidating, Michigan food and agriculture companies can look to upcoming export assistance programs that are happening nearby in Grand Rapids and Canada as a way to enter export markets.

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The Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) International Marketing Program annually recognizes a leading food and agriculture exporter through its ‘Michigan Ag Exporter of the Year’ award to a deserving Michigan food or agriculture company. This special honor can bring further success, signaling to international buyers a company’s quality and commitment to exporting.

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The city of Detroit, Michigan was once looked at as one of the strongest cities in the United States, but due to the decline of the automobile industry and financial problems it has become a bankrupt city with a large struggle. However, the resilience and pride that its inhabitants still portray is incredible. In this day and age where a lot of the manufacturing takes place in Asia, people still want to own products made in their own country. For example, Americans take great pride in driving a car or owning an appliance that is “Made in America”. What better way is there than to use a loyal population and hopeful city to brand a product? “Made in Detroit” is a phrase that could help the city of Detroit bounce back, while boosting sales for a company.

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Exports continue to help grow and expand Michigan’s food and agriculture economy, while generating nearly $2.8 billion in economic activity with support from the nation’s second most diverse agriculture industry, strong public and private investment, and a diversified portfolio for food processing. Exports of consumer food products are growing three times faster than sales in the United States due to the foreign consumers’ growing purchasing power and lower trade barriers. Thus, exporting is vital to Michigan companies as an opportunity to increase sales and profits, as 95 percent of the world’s consumers live outside of the United States. Moreover, food and agriculture producers can reduce dependence on existing domestic markets, and off-set slow sales due to economic changes, demands, and cyclic fluctuations resulting in short and long-term security for Michigan.

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Have you been exposed to a company advertisement or website that translated their message word-for-word and missed the mark, instead of focusing on the marketing translation? Google Translate does this for many websites because many companies do not have a specific website for a particular language. This is a huge problem as businesses try to enter new foreign markets. Their messages do not communicate the correct message because language is not based purely on word translation; it also involves cultural meaning, context, style, and connotation. Localization and a global marketing strategy are becoming key drivers for companies as globalization expands. Getting your message across in a word-for-word translation is the wrong approach, but transcreation can be the solution.

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Big Data is increasing the amount of information that is collected about a person or demographic and companies have begun to notice. In an ever more competitive global market, companies are looking for any advantage and Big Data is showing big signs of potential. By collecting and connecting big data, companies can identify traits about potential customers that they themselves may not even know. Behavior is much more predictable than you may suspect and this bodes well for companies who lead in collecting such data. Consolidating facts about a person in seemingly unrelated areas paints a remarkably accurate picture of their habits and how they behave. The question for companies is not if they will use this data but how they will use it.

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Just as products and companies have brand images associated with them, countries also have built perceptions in the minds of people around the world. A country’s “brand name” can be based on a variety of rankings and its overall perception in the minds of businesses definitely has an impact on its success. If a country’s brand perception is favorable, that can translate into foreign investments alongside commercial and economic development. Businesses are also more likely to conduct operations in a country with a positive brand image. To help us identify the top country brands in today’s globalized economy, FutureBrand has released the Country Brand Index. The results are very interesting and the country at the top of the list might just surprise you.

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As most of Europe still feels the fiscal repercussion’s from the debt crisis, some companies are leveraging this to target the fiscally conservative consumer. Consumer spending power has declined which means companies are pressed to find ways to squeeze every penny out of the consumer. Many companies are changing the packaging of products to accomplish this.

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In 1983, Professor Theodore "Ted" Levitt of Harvard's Business School announced that globalization had arrived, and before long global companies would be selling products and services in similar ways all over the world. In spite of Levitt's prediction, only a limited amount of truly global brands exist in today's business world, although markets are undeniably in an age of economic globalization. The reason behind this stems from the immense amount of forces that provide challenges to brands wishing to branch into global markets, of which a select number of firms have overcome.

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As businesses continue to expand internationally, it is becoming more important than ever for these companies to adapt their strategies to different cultures in foreign markets.  Companies must extensively analyze the target market and determine whether or not their product or service can be successful in that market.  Often times, cultural differences require changes to be made to a company’s sales and marketing approach and sometimes even the product itself.

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The food and beverage industry covers an assortment of products and companies within.  It happens to include one of the largest commodity markets, coffee.  With its distinctive socio-cultural ties, coffee has been produced, branded, and marketed uniquely in every part of the world.  With any product, various factors must be taken into consideration when developing a brand: consumption patterns, cultural relevance, product expectation, and marketplace competition to name a few.  Branding essentially tries to build an emotional kinship with the consumer that transcends the products actual function.  Brands aspire to create an identity, a lifestyle to live by.

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In a more connected and globalized world, brand recognition across many markets and countries has become extremely important for international business. When a company’s goods or services are not only well-known but popular in many countries all around the world, you know that particular company is doing something right. Global branding is a major aspect of marketing in today’s business environment and is constantly changing as the world moves forward. Not only is global branding evolving, it is changing the way businesses market their products across the globe. This week the globalEDGE blog team will take a deeper look at global branding and its impact on international business operations.

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While social media sites are becoming increasingly popular worldwide, there is one region in particular where social media has nearly unlimited growth potential. That region is the Middle East and although there has been much concern surrounding the use of social networks for protest demonstrations, social media sites provide great opportunities for businesses of the region. In the Middle East the number of social media users has already doubled in the past year. Now, the question is whether businesses of the region will take advantage of social networks and use them as a brand building tool.

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With millions of people using the Internet each day, the World Wide Web has been a very important place for companies looking to market their products. Online advertising has followed a fairly standard path as Internet uses evolved over the years. Marketers first bought digital ads and then went even further by building their own Web sites to promote their products. These marketing tools are still being used but a new factor is beginning to change the way companies advertise online. That factor is social media.

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At a large annual conference of marketing, the words “tweet”, “fans” and “like” were used almost as often as “touch points”, “benchmark” and “prioritize.” Why? The reason for this is rather simple: The importance of social media is expanding considerably in today’s modern business world. Holding its 100th anniversary meeting, the Association of National Advertising discussed marketing gains by companies that are using social media to amplify their brand name and advertise more effectively.

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“Never waste a good crisis…” Many politicians have said these words touting the benefits of the hysteria and urgency introduced by difficult situations. When people are under extraordinary pressure or panic, decisions are made quickly and with less resistance than under normal circumstances. In Chile, miners had been trapped a half mile below the surface for 69 days, thanks to a collapse in one of the mining shafts. This has generated news coverage around the world and over 1,000 reporters on the scene to share updates to their audiences. For some, this real-life drama demonstrates the human ability to endure difficult circumstances. For others, this creates a commercial opportunity.

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In the increasingly global landscape, globalization has become a goal for many businesses large and small. Free trade agreements, along with technology advancements have encouraged the globalization of companies. Trade is much easier and quicker than it used to be, but that does not eliminate the challenge that globalization presents to businesses. Small businesses that cannot afford to hire a foreign marketing agency sometimes struggle with the globalization and exporting process, luckily it can be done through careful planning and utilization of free and readily available resources.

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This talk by Dan Cobley, a Director of Marketing at Google, brings great insight into the parallels between Newton’s Law and marketing. Specifically, why are new brands created instead of just extending current brands? He demonstrates that inertia can work for you or against you depending on the circumstances.

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Everyday, business professionals all over the globe buy into myths about how to market and build their brand. Here are some of the most common.

Myth 1: Offering a consistent and great product will produce a successful business.
Unfortunately, a great product doesn’t equal success. However, you can improve your chances of success by launching a beta test for your service or product on a social networking site. Create a survey for readers to give feedback on, and then use this information to shape the product/service in the best way to succeed.

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There are a few key observations that many have noticed about consumers in this new economy:

  • Shoppers are less impulsive, more needs-based

Some say the recession made a correction in consumer behavior especially in the U.S. The means simply aren’t there for as much shopping on impulse. Those adjusting to changing consumer behavior are advised to in turn adjust their merchandise mix and price points accordingly.

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With the 2010 Winter Olympics beginning today, the world looks on with anticipation. The first ever Olympic Games were held way back in 776 BC. Since then, things have obviously changed quite a bit. Everything from the events, to who competes in them, to how we watch them has drastically changed. Until 1960 the Olympics were not televised, but since then businesses all over the globe have taken advantage of the major publicity the Games receive.

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A couple of years ago, customers were delighted because they were able to order products online from their living rooms. It is easy to compare prices and products online using different websites.
 
Now, the way we shop is changing once again. Companies are not waiting for shoppers to find them; instead they are approaching people online using social media such as facebook and twitter. Imagine just making a post whether to buy a new car or not, and an offer to test drive a car is sent to you in your mail box. This is one way GM is trying to gain more customers.

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Recently, social networking giant Twitter posted it's Twitter 101 for Business Guide, which is designed to enlighten both consumers and businesses to ways they can use Twitter's micro-blogging service. The guide offers advice on how businesses can use Twitter to market products and boost sales, and will also help consumers who are curious about the site but don't know how to use it or where to even begin.

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We live in a world full of advertising. We see it on billboards, on TV, in the newspapers and online. The last time I went to the grocery store there were even LED advertisement screens hawking goods at the end of every checkout lane. Is there no place sacred anymore?!