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Firm Specific International Environment

The Competition:

A firm needs information about its competition in international markets on a continuous basis to make
appropriate decisions. Some key areas in which information is needed about competition are in the
– Relative market shares of competitors
– New product moves of the competitors
– Pricing & cost structure of the competing firms
– Image & brand reputation of competitors in the markets / segments
– Quality: Its attributes and positioning relative to competitors.
– Competitors’ strengths: favorite tactics and strategies.

The Product:

A firm also needs information regarding its product / lines to make product related decisions. Some of
the key aspects of a product related information requirements are given as follows;
Analysis of the users of product, including purchase behavior, usage processes, factors affecting
purchase and use decisions etc.
Who are the end-user industries and what are their behaviors?
Industrial & consumer buyers and influencers and their roles.
Characteristics of the buyers: Size, age, gender, segment growth rates etc.
Purchasing power and intentions of the buyers.
Customer response to new products, price, promotion distribution etc.
Switching behavior of the customers.
Role of credit in purchasing a product.
Future needs of the buyers / users.
Impact of cultural differences on purchase and use of products.

Marketing Mix:

Marketing mix related information is essentially needed by marketers to decide and implement
marketing strategies. Since international marketing often involves sending products and materials to a
distant markets, aspects of logistics also becomes more important. The key areas of marketing mix for
which information is needing by international marketers are given as follows;
Channels of distribution: their shape, functions, evolution & performance.
Relative pricing, elasticities, and tactics of competitors.
Advertising & promotion: choices available in international markets and their impacts on
Service quality perceptions in various international markets and relative positioning of competing
International and domestic logistics networks, their configuration and future change.

FIRM-Specific Historical Data:

While managers need information about their markets, suppliers, environments and external publics,
they also need to know about their own firms. A firm’s history hold clues for its future. Historical
information can inform what and how a firm has been able to achieve certain things in past and that hold
clues as to what the firm can achieve in future. Historical firm data may also inform on trends in sales
and profits in various markets, which again hold clues for the future of the firm in these and other
Categories of information an international marketing manager may need regarding his or her own firm
are give as follows; Sales trends by product and product line, sales force, and international market / customer.
Trends by country and region (sales, profits, technology diffusion etc.)
Contribution margins and profitability of products in various international markets.
Marketing mix used and marketing response functions across countries and regions.

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