Standardization & Adaptation

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Halmstad University School of Business and Engineering Business and Marketing

Standardizing or Adapting the Marketing Mix across Culture
A case study: Agatha

Thesis in Marketing, 15 ECTS credits Final seminar: 25.05.2010 Authors : Elise MEYER (890511) Ingrid BERNIER (901218) Supervisor: Jean-Charles LANGUILAIRE Examiner: Roger STRÖM

Summary of thesis

Title: Standardizing or adapting the marketing mix across culture

Authors: Ingrid Bernier and Elise Meyer

Supervisor: Jean-Charles Languilaire

Level: Bachelor Thesis in Business Administration, Marketing

Key words: Culture, international marketing, marketing strategies, standardization and adaptation

Purpose: Compare two strategies, standardization and adaptation, to show how companies manage cultural differences.

Method: Our research method is a descriptive one. Then, we collect data from secondary sources such as the books, articles, journals and studies. Then, we judge essential to gather primary data to answer our purpose. In this way, we do one qualitative personal interview with the international marketing director of Agatha and one email interview with its communication director. Finally, the entire information is treated and selected according to the reliability and validity of data. Theoretical framework: Our theoretical framework is based on theory concerning in a first part, cultural differences with two cultural frameworks: Hofstede and Hall and in the second part, the comparison of two marketing strategies: adaptation versus standardization.

Conclusions: This thesis shows that cultural differences on international market affect the adaptation of the product, price and promotion. The distribution channels have, on the other hand, only been affected by social conditions. The results show that it has been a challenge for Agatha to find a balance between the degree of standardization and adaptation of the different elements of the marketing mix— a challenge that they have succeeded to deal with. Furthermore, the study shows the importance of adapted the marketing mix to the local situation since it is the key to manage to design offers that will lead to success and increased market shares. The overall conclusion of this study is that Agatha needs to think globally but act locally and take cultural differences into considerations.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
1 Introduction.................................................................................................................................................................1 1.1 Background..............................................................................................................................................................1 1.2 Problem .....................................................................................................................................................................1 1.3 Purpose ......................................................................................................................................................................2 1.4 Structure....................................................................................................................................................................2

2 The theoretical framework....................................................................................................................................4 2.1 Cultural differences...............................................................................................................................................4 2.1.1 What is culture? ....................................................................................................................................................4 2.1.2 Geert Hofstede’s cultural dimensions..........................................................................................................6 2.1.3 Hall’s High/Low context...
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