Adaptation vs. Standardization in International Marketing – the Country-of-Origin Effect

9552 Words39 Pages
Innovative Marketing, Volume 3, Issue 4, 2007

Demetris Vrontis (Cyprus), Alkis Thrassou (Cyprus)

Adaptation vs. standardization in international marketing – the country-of-origin effect
The literature on international marketing presents a confrontation between two mainstream schools of thought regarding international marketing. The one supports the standardization approach and argues that multinational companies’ behavior should be uniform to minimize total costs and promote a global corporate image. The other argues for the need for adaptation to fit the unique dimensions of each local market. This research investigates companies’ practical level of adaptation and standardization in international markets. It identifies
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This confusion, change, and complexity are even greater within the international world-wide marketing environment. The debate over the amount or extent of standardisation or adaptation is of long duration. Vrontis and Vignali (1999) comment that the debate on this came under discussion as early as 1961, with Elinder (1961) considering the idea with regard to world wide advertising. The early sixties first coined the term ‘global village’ that was further discussed by Roostal (1963) and Fatt (1964). Buzzell (1968) widened the debate by stating that it would encompass not just advertising, but the whole of the marketing mix. Buzzel (1968) argues that in the past, dissimilarities among nations have led a multinational company to view and design its marketing planning in each country strictly as a local problem. However, the situation has changed, and the experiences of a growing number of multinational companies suggest that there are 7

Innovative Marketing, Volume 3, Issue 4, 2007

real potential gains to consider when contemplating to standardize the marketing mix elements. Supporters of standardization believe that consumers’ needs, wants and requirements do not vary across various markets and countries. They believe that the world is becoming increasingly more similar in both environmental and customer requirements, and no matter where they are consumers have the same demands. As they argue, standardization of the

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