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Marketing Across Cultures

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Marketing Across Cultures


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Simple, but often overlooked, cultural differences can affect the success of your marketing. Start here to see how.

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Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


Peter Woolliams’ and Fons Trompenaars’ academically-oriented marketing book attempts to use theoretical research to explain why global marketing campaigns succeed or fail. Their chapters on the inherent differences among audiences in an array of countries provide great examples of cultural idiosyncrasies. However, the book sometimes stalls when the authors cite academic research to illuminate various points. For example, the authors make confusing distinctions between "ethnic," "multi-ethnic" and racial marketing that may be better suited for an anthropology text than a marketing guide. The chapter on Internet market is similarly flawed. However, the authors prove their point: global marketing studies offer domestic marketers new ways to reinvigorate their global business campaigns and illustrate some pitfalls to avoid. Thus, getAbstract recommends this book not as a how-to manual but as a source of relevant background for marketing managers and executives.


Must Marketing Cater to Local Contradictions?

Cultures often have different ways of viewing reality. Each culture has different internal values that co-exist simultaneously, and each endures the tension that results from managing contradictory concerns.

Understanding these delicate balances may help you address the communications questions presented by various individual markets, including: Do people follow established rules or choose between them as the situation dictates? Does the culture encourage individualism or group behavior? Must people become familiar with their business partners before they develop a relationship or can business be done quickly, in a more impersonal manner? Do people display or hide their emotions? Is power based on achievement or does it derive from social status, age, family or an institutional affiliation? Do people view time differently? Do they approach tasks in a sequence or in parallel. What drives people: internal aspirations or external events?

For a marketer, these questions boil down to a core issue: Can you sell more products if your company adopts a standardized approach for all markets, or should you develop a more regional...

About the Authors

Fons Trompenaars is director of Trompenaars Hampden-Turner, an intercultural management firm. He is the author and co-author of several books, including, Did the Pedestrian Die? and Riding the Waves of Culture. Peter Woolliams is professor of international business at Anglia Business School. He is also an owner-partner in Trompenaars Hampden-Turner.

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