Marketing Challenges in the Global Economy

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American Intercontinental University
MKT640 – A Managerial Approach to Marketing
Marketing Challenges in the Global Economy
November 11, 2012

Abstract
This article discusses some challenges faced with product development in the global economy. Brief case studies of Apple, eBay, and Levi Strauss & Co., provide real-world examples of the challenges – competition, reach of influences, infringement, etc. Embracing technological advances, such as social media, is essential for leveraging a competitive edge, provide the company can operate ethically.

Marketing Challenges in the Global Economy
Introduction
The world is getting smaller, figuratively speaking, and companies must continually reinvent themselves to remain competitive in the global economy. A constant introduction of seemingly ever-changing variables create challenges for big businesses and start-ups alike, and while technology creates its own set of challenges, leveraging its benefits in marketing can propel a company to the leader's board. But while technology has created new marketing opportunities – especially in engaging with consumers – companies need to be ever cautious about maintaining an ethical marketing strategy. Challenges in New Product Launches

Companies face various challenges when developing products in the global economy. Some of these challenges are more distinct to specific industries, while others are universal. Twenty years ago, the biggest challenges with product development in the global economy were communication with manufacturers, especially when dealing with manufacturers halfway around the world, and the speed of production. Rapidly evolving technology has on one hand eased these, but also created new sets of challenges. The same technology that brought the world 24-hour news service also meant greater access for scrutiny, as well as a greater consumer expectation for full disclosure of business practices. Increasingly, people want to know that companies are running ethical production operations (Pelsmacker, Driesen & Rayp, 2005). Environmental sustainability, fair trade and wages, and safe and healthy work conditions are issues that companies have to consider more than ever. While technological advancement has granted easier interaction with manufacturers around the world, it has not changed the fact that reach of influence is still a challenge. Independent start-ups now have virtually the same global market access as multinational corporations. Big businesses can no longer assume the competitive edge. And all of these companies, big and small, operating internationally, have to compete with local businesses. This is why operating across a spectrum of socioeconomic and cultural consumer bases requires an understanding of the psychographics for each target audience. Another challenge in product development, especially for technology-based companies, is the risk of patent infringement. More tech dollars are spent in the courtroom than on the research and development (Duhigg & Lohr, 2012). Technology firms make money suing each other back and forth.

Case Study 1: Apple
Under the direction of Steve Jobs, Apple seemed to have no problem delivering products to the global market that transcended cultural boundaries – iPod, iPhone, iPad, Macbook. The key was simple, user-friendly products. Are Macbooks worth their price tags? Was the first iPhone worth $500? Product valuation has been a question largely irrelevant For Apple. It was able to defy the odds by creating a demand for the products, a key to pricing a product line (Guiltinan, 2011). Still, Apple, as with any tech firm, is at risk of being overshadowed by the next greatest innovation, as seen in the latest battle of the smartphone wars (Reuters, 2012). It is a back-and-forth war that extends beyond the front line that is the retail floor. Behind the scenes, Apple and every other tech device and software developer are engaged in costly patent litigation. Apple recently...
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