Once a decision for a market entry mode has been made, a firm must decide how much, if any, to adapt its marketing mix—product, promotion, price, and distribution—to a foreign market. Warren J. Keegan (1995) distinguished five adaptation strategies of product and communication to a foreign market (see Table 1). These strategies are discussed briefly below.
In straight extension the same product is marketed to all countries (a "world" product), except for labeling and language used in the product manuals. The assumption behind this strategy is that consumer needs are essentially the same across national boundaries. Straight extension can be successful when products are not culture sensitive and economies of scale are present. The Philip Morris USA tobacco company used this strategy successfully with its Marlboro brand cigarette. The strategy has also been successful with cameras, consumer electronics, and many machine tools.
A product modification strategy keeps the physical product essentially the same; modifications, however, are made to meet local conditions or preference in package sizes or colors. Manufacturers of computers, copiers, cars, and calculators have been successful in using this strategy. Companies may develop a country-specific product. If this strategy is employed, the product is substantially altered or new products are produced across countries. For example, hand-powered washing machines have been successfully marketed in Latin America.
It is extremely difficult to standardize advertising across countries because of variations in economic, social, and political environments. Companies, however, can use one message everywhere, varying only the language or color. Marlboro and Camel cigarettes, for example, essentially use the same message in their international promotion programs. Transferability of an advertising message is still a difficult problem... [continues]
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