Business-level considerations begin with the assessment of the stakeholders involved in the business. It is important to clearly identify the different stakeholder groups, understand their expectations, and evaluate their power, because the stakeholders provide the broad guidelines within which the firm operates. In the case of international marketing, it is particularly important to address the concerns of the stakeholders in the host company.
Recall from the chapter “INTRODUCING MARKETING” that the situation analysis concerns a thorough examination of the factors that influence the businesses' ability to successfully market a product or service. The results lead to a realistic set of objectives. Conducting a situation analysis in an international setting is a bit more extensive. It not only includes the normal assessment of external environmental factors and resources/capabilities, it also includes a determination of the level of commitment exhibited by the business, as well as possible methods of entry. These last two factors are interrelated in that a company's level of commitment to international markets will directly influence whether they employ exporting, a joint venture, or some other method of entry.
In turn, level of commitment and method of entry are influenced by the evaluation of environmental factors as well as resources and capabilities. The latter audits not only the weaknesses of the company, but also the strengths of the company, which are often taken for granted. This is particularly important in international markets; for example, customer brand loyalty may be much stronger in certain markets than others, and products may be at the end of their life in the domestic market but may be ideal for less sophisticated markets. It is important, too, to evaluate the capacity of the firm to be flexible, adaptable, and proactive, as these are the attributes necessary, for success in a highly competitive and rapidly changing world.
Undoubtedly, environmental factors have received the most attention from marketers considering international markets.