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The Task of an International Marketer

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Essay title: The Task of an International Marketer

The International Marketer’s task is more complicated than that of the domestic marketer because the international marketer must deal with at least two levels of uncontrollable uncertainty instead of one. Discuss.


Domestic marketing deals with any marketing activities within the boundaries of a nation. This should be directly contrasted with the term International marketing, which refers to all marketing activities that go beyond the confines of a domestic economy. For Zimbabwe, this would be consumers, workers, businesses, and governments that lie beyond the Zimbabwean national boundaries. How both the international marketer and the domestic marketer should know the 4Ps (Product, price, promotion and place) or the 7Ps(Product, price, promotion, place, process, people, and physical environment)

International marketing is important because the world has become globalised - it is becoming increasingly impossible for any country to practice economic isolation. Zimbabwe in particular, because of the relatively small size of its domestic market, is reliant upon trade with international partners. Moreover, Zimbabwe's multi-cultural society reinforces an appreciation of the opportunities and the subtle complexities of doing business in overseas markets.

The opportunities and challenges encountered today by international marketers are greater and more diverse than ever before. The international marketer should therefore be conversant with the dynamics of the various countries and should have an international total marketing strategy. New consumers are appearing in emerging markets globally. Some of these emerging markets have relatively little purchasing power today but hold the promise of being huge markets in the future.

In the more mature markets of the industrialised world, there are also many opportunities and challenges as consumers' tastes become more sophisticated and complex, and as increases in purchasing power provide them with the means of satisfying new demands.

Inherent in the task of an international marketer is the occurrence of uncontrollable undesirable outcomes including unknown and unexpected possibilities. These arise from different marketing environments more so when these environments are looked at internationally. The following categories constitute the areas in which an international marketer has two levels of uncertainty :

• demographic

• social/cultural

• Trade agreements

• Balance of Payments

• Trade Barriers

• International Economics

• International Finance

• Comparative Advantage

• Competitive Advantage

Progressive organizations will have a process for obtaining and evaluating information for each of these categories because information is the basis of effective marketing.


Demographic environment relates to the size, distribution, and growth rate of groups of people with different traits that relate to buying behaviour. Demographic environment is a component of the social environment. Demography varies from country to country and hence there is higher complexity of when a marketer is dealing with more than one country.


Social environment deals with all factors and trends related to groups of people, including their number, characteristics, behaviour, and growth projections. On the other hand cultural environment deals with factors and trends related to how people live and behave, including the values, ideas, attitudes, beliefs, and activities of specific population groups and subgroups. It is a component of the social environment. Also included in the social environment is the language and the religion of the community. Literacy and educational levels; the class structure and mobility and the degree of urbanisation also influence the culture of a society.

Of all the "environmental uncontrollable", culture is one of the most difficult to comprehend, take account of and harness to advantage. This is particularly so when the product or service is "culture bound". Such products and services include those which are generally indigenous by nature and/or of relatively small value and very common. This is particularly true of foodstuffs. Sadza in Zimbabwe, a staple food made from maize meal, would not go down well in United Kingdom or United States of America. Only products of a more

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