Cross Cultural Consumer Behavior: an International Perspective

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International marketers need to understand that to satisfy the needs of consumers in very distinct markets effectively, they must learn to understand the differences and similarities between the peoples of the countries they are targeting (Schiffman, & Kanuk, 2007). Any product introduced on a foreign market has to be made to fit the preferences of specific attitudes of the foreign consumer (Schiffman, & Kanuk, 2007).

In the case of Iams, it was necessary to persuade the consumer of the European market to break with their traditional ways. European pet holders believe in variety within the diet of their pets, whereas Iams did not offer such, thus making initial sales of the Iams pet food products difficult to market (Van Gelder, S. 2004). Not until Iams recognized that it had to change the consumers thinking, was the brand able to establish itself and gain the trust of European pet breeders and pet owners (Van Gelder, S. 2004). The problems that Iams did not recognize were cross-cultural, such as consumption patterns of the pets (based on the feeding habits of the pet owners), product usage, economic and social conditions (Schiffman, L.G., Kanuk, L.L. 2007, 9th Ed.). The analysis thereof would have helped identify increased marketing opportunities that would have benefited both, the international marketers and the targeted consumers (Schiffman & Kanuk, 2007). Although pet holders worldwide have to inevitably somehow ensure that their pets are fed, the way the pet holders in different countries do so differs immensely. Once Iams recognized this, it was able to change their tactic and market their products, although this did occur in a somewhat different manner than probably originally intended (Van Gelder, 2004).

Consumers associate a brand with its country of origin; therefore Coca Cola is associated with the USA, Volkswagen with Germany, Land-Rover with the UK. Consumers tend to even have a preference when it comes to...
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