<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

These norms are reflected in the difficulty of introducing the Web into Europe (see the next Integrated Marketing box).

Religious beliefs

A person's religious beliefs can affect shopping patterns and products purchased in addition to his/her values, as discussed earlier. In the United States and other Christian nations, Christmastime is a major sales period. But for other religions, religious holidays do not serve as popular times for purchasing products. Women do not participate in household buying decisions in countries in which religion serves as opposition to women's rights movements.

Every culture has a social structure, but some seem less widely defined than others. That is, it is more difficult to move upward in a social structure that is rigid. For example, in the US, the two-wage earner family has led to the development of a more affluent set of consumers. But in other cultures, it is considered unacceptable for women to work outside the home.

The political/legal environment abroad is quite different from that of the US. Most nations desire to become self-reliant and to raise their status in the eyes of the rest of the world. This is the essence of nationalism. The nationalistic spirit that exists in many nations has led them to engage in practices that have been very damaging to other countries' marketing organizations. For example, foreign governments can intervene in marketing programs in the following ways:

  • contracts for the supply and delivery of goods and services
  • the registration and enforcement of trademarks, brand names, and labeling
  • patents
  • marketing communications
  • pricing
  • product safety, acceptability, and environmental issues

Political stability

Business activity tends to grow and thrive when a nation is politically stable. When a nation is politically unstable, multinational firms can still conduct business profitably. Their strategies will be affected however. Most firms probably prefer to engage in the export business rather than invest considerable sums of money in investments in foreign subsidiaries. Inventories will be low and currency will be converted rapidly. The result is that consumers in the foreign nation pay high prices, get less satisfactory products, and have fewer jobs.

Monetary circumstances

The exchange rate of a particular nation's currency represents the value of that currency in relation to that of another country. Governments set some exchange rates independently of the forces of supply and demand. The forces of supply and demand set others. If a country's exchange rate is low compared to other countries, that country's consumers must pay higher prices on imported goods. While the concept of exchange rates appears relatively simple, these rates fluctuate widely and often, thus creating high risks for exp0rters and importers.

Trading blocs and agreements

US companies make one-third of their revenues from products marketed abroad, in places such as Asia and Latin America. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) further boosts export sales by enabling companies to sell goods at lower prices because of reduced tariffs. Regional trading blocs represent a group of nations that join together and formally agree to reduce trade barriers among themselves. NAFTA is such a bloc. Its members include the US, Canada, and Mexico. No tariffs exist on goods sold between member nations of NAFTA. However, a uniform tariff is assessed on products from countries not affiliated with NAFTA. In addition, NAFTA seeks common standards for labeling requirements, food additives, and package sizes.

Get the best Business fundamentals course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Business fundamentals. OpenStax CNX. Oct 08, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11227/1.4
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Business fundamentals' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask