Monday, November 2, 2009

Marketing Management Column #1 - Part 1

The first of my columns in Marketing Management. 
Read it after the jump.

Welcome to our column on Global Marketing titled "Rise of the Consumer" designed to help you participate in the Global Marketing Imperative.

There has been unprecedented change on the global marketing front. There are very close linkages between domestic and international activities, and between all economies around the globe. We know that when domestic economic activities are down, international marketing is down as well, only much more so. Austerity brings changes in production and consumption patters and introduces new dimensions into the decision making process. The role of governments is growing by leaps and bounds, dictating the direction and strength of international marketing activities. There is rising potential to restrict imports, and encourage exports, in order to keep home industries safe and to gradually reduce global imbalances. However, in spite of periods of economic crisis, which may lead to short term interruptions in globalization, we know that the important changes in production, consumption, and lifestyle brought about by international marketing, the global progress of the discipline will be inexorable. 

In dire economic times, international marketers are a key agent of social change, who provide their insights and their knowledge to help society to understand the trade-offs and consequences of actions and to make good decisions which consider a broad variety of stakeholders. 

Nations around the world attempt to stabilize and re-vitalize their economies. Typically, each nation’s emphasis rests with domestic issues. Yet, any intervention of one nation is likely to rapidly affect other countries, and may trigger economic and policy responses. Once introduced, protectionism can quickly become contagious and be emulated around the world. The prevalence of a market economy is not automatically accepted any more. Key tenets of the marketing discipline, such as risk, profit, competition, and ownership are being re-defined and re-assessed.

Global marketers develop the knowledge and talents to disentangle the competing priorities confronting individuals, companies, and governments. Nations must be able and willing to buy each other’s goods if economies are to blossom. Global marketers can show how competition and consumer choice are crucial to achieve a higher level of well being. By having field specific knowledge, by understanding the effect of culture and emotions, and by sitting at the table, and making their contribution, global marketers help create a better world.

It is essential to focus on international marketing now. In academia we see great increases in the applications of students, who want to stock up on knowledge and capabilities during bad times, in order to be ready for the good ones. Companies and governments need to do the same. In times of slack resources one can explore new market opportunities, new customs and new customers.  When economic conditions get better, one can convert that capability into market results and receive a payoff for all the prior research and preparation. International marketing is a vital economic stimulus.

Our column will address and analyze the concepts, theories, and practices of international marketing. We will work with colleagues and leaders in the field to bring you leading edge thinking from business, policy, and research. Feel free to write to us to comment and suggest. We greatly appreciate suggestions, comments and debate. We firmly believe in the global marketing applicability of the maxim by the great scholar Ludwig von Wittgenstein: “A philosopher who is not taking part in discussions is like a boxer who never goes into the ring”. Our contact details are below – let us engage jointly in more global enlightenment !
Published in Marketing Management of the American Marketing Association.

Read Part 2!

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