Because international marketing is closely correlated to the cultures in which a firm wishes to sell its product, culture itself must be analyzed to understand the best way to integrate into both existing and emerging foreign markets. There are five essential areas within which culture must be continually studied in order to achieve success in dealing with culture as it affects international marketing.
These are (Tian, 2008):
- culture impacts on marketing (international versus domestic)
- cross-cultural dimensions of marketing research
- cross-cultural aspects of marketing mix (products, price, promotion, and place)
- cross-cultural marketing education and professional training
- and cross-cultural practice in electronic marketing
Cross-cultural marketing occurs when a consumer’s culture differs from that of the marketer’s own culture.
Consumer behavior diverges across country lines with increased wealth, globalization, and technology; it does not converge (De Mooij, 2005). This simple fact proves the importance of culture knowledge in cross-cultural marketing endeavors. In fact, the importance of cross-cultural study has inspired a definition separate from that of international marketing. Cross-cultural marketing is defined as the strategic process of marketing among consumers whose culture differs from that of the marketer's own culture at least in one of the fundamental cultural aspects, such as language, religion, social norms and values, education, and the living style (Tian, 2008).
A standardized marketing model utilizes the same functions in all markets. Conversely, a customized marketing strategy adheres to the needs and wants of a particular target market.