Here is an article that I found useful for anyone who is interested in importing products from the Philippines or exporters who want to market their products to the Philippines. The article is based on the perspective of U.S. manufacturers wanting to market their products outside of the United States. I hope you enjoy it and find it useful.
What Are Some Challenges That Firms Face for International Marketing?
by Brian Hill
Identifying a True Market Need
A key to success in business is offering products and services for which customers have a compelling need. The customer has a problem that needs to be solved, and the product or service provides the solution in such an effective way that its benefits are not difficult to communicate. Identifying the true needs of large numbers of people in a foreign country is not easy. Not having lived in their culture experiencing their day-to-day lives, American marketing executives can err by assuming that what people in other countries want or need exactly matches the wants and needs of American consumers.
Dilution of Brand-Name Power
Due to the Internet, movies and other forms of entertainment, American culture and the corporate symbols of that culture–brand names–are well known across the globe. This does not mean the American companies&rsquo; products will be popular when introduced in other countries. Being aware of a brand name isn&rsquo;t the same as preferring it. It can be a long and expensive process to gain the trust of consumers who have used their own local companies&rsquo; products for years or even generations. The American companies can be perceived as attempting to take over the position long held by local companies, causing resentment.
Consumers are influenced to purchase products by marketing messages delivered through the media, including print media such as magazines. Humor is often used in commercial messages to get the consumer to pay attention. But what is considered extremely funny in one culture can be perceived as confusing or insulting in another. To produce effective advertising requires more than accurate translation of the message from one language to another. It requires a deep understanding of the culture, customs, morals and even religious views that predominate in that country. What motivates consumers to buy products varies from country to country.
Business executives from different countries can encounter several barriers to effective communication besides obvious language differences. The traditional pace of business negotiations can be different. Americans sometimes want to hurry negotiations along, whereas in some other countries emphasis is placed on building relationships before a business deal is seriously considered. Executives from other countries may place a higher value on things such as facial expression instead of just the words that are being said.
Distance and Time
Even with technologies such as video conferencing, executives in other countries may prefer to establish relationships on a personal level. For a smaller American company, this can mean a significant investment in travel costs and having key executives out of the office for extended periods. Time zone differences can make it difficult to coordinate projects where collaboration is required. Executives on the West Coast of the U.S. are just getting to work in the morning when their European counterparts are winding down for the day.
Finding Reliable Partners
American firms often establish relationships with distributors located in the countries whose markets they are seeking to enter. They hire sales reps based in those countries. They may engage local marketing and public relations firms to assist them. Because the American firm might have no prior experience in that country, finding people who are trustworthy and competent can be a challenge.