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Handbook of Research in International Marketing

Edited by Subhash C. Jain

Presenting the challenges and opportunities ahead, the contributors to this volume critically examine the current status and future direction of research in international marketing. The result of a sustained and lively dialogue among contributors from a variety of cultures, this volume gathers their perspectives and many insights on the revitalization of the field.
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Chapter 12: International Product Strategies: An Integrative Framework

Preet S. Aulak Aulakh


Preet S. Aulakh INTRODUCTION In recent years, because of the opening of new markets around the world and the shift in competition from individual countries to a global level, firms have tried to pursue global or international marketing strategies. Product policy in international markets represents a key component of a global marketing strategy for a firm. However, given the diversity of environmental factors across countries, managing the international product policy poses unique challenges and opportunities for marketing managers. Some of the key questions facing a firm pursuing global product strategy are: how to develop new products for different foreign markets; the degree of standardization of products across markets; the timing of product introductions in various markets; and managing the international product policy to exploit the synergies across countries accruing due to the location of manufacturing facilities or sourcing of product components from different locations. However, despite the complexity of international product policy decisions, the standardization of international marketing programs represents much of the research accumulated to date. While the marketing standardization (of which product standardization is a part) argument is not new (e.g. Bartels 1968; Buzzell 1968; Fayerweather 1969; Sorenson and Wiechmann 1975), renewed interest in the topic was generated following Levitt’s (1983) article where he proposed the concept of a ‘global product’ and called for proactive identification of similar market segments around the world. Subsequent research rekindled a great deal of controversy over what can be standardized in global marketing and to what extent it can...

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