The Internet as a Marketing Tool

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A COMPARATIVE CASE STUDY OF GLOBAL MARKETING AND
ETHNOCENTRISM: THE INTERNET AS A MARKETING TOOL AND ITS
EFFECT ON THE ETHNOCENTRIC MESSAGES PERCEIVED VIA US
COMPANIES MARKETING ACROSS CULTURES.

A Thesis
submitted to the Faculty of the
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
of Georgetown University
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the
degree of
Master of Arts
in Communication, Culture and Technology

By

Adrienne Marie Tony, B.S.

Washington, DC
June 20, 2002

Copyright 2002 by Adrienne Marie Tony
All Rights Reserved

ii

A COMPARATIVE CASE STUDY OF GLOBAL MARKETING AND
ETHNOCENTRISM: THE INTERNET AS A MARKETING TOOL AND ITS
EFFECT ON THE ETHNOCENTRIC MESSAGES PERCEIVED VIA US
COMPANIES MARKETING ACROSS CULTURES.
Adrienne Marie Tony, B.S.
Mentors: Dorine C. Andrews, D.C.D.
Abbas Malek, Ph.D.
ABSTRACT
This thesis studies ethnocentrism in global marketing, focusing on the Internet as a global marketing medium. It asks whether or not the Internet as a marketing tool aggravates or helps to break down the barriers of Western culture ethnocentrism in cross-cultural marketing messages. The methodology examines three U.S. based company websites marketing to Brazil to test the hypothesis that U.S. based companies promote Western culture ethnocentrism across country and cultural boundaries when marketing through the Internet. This thesis demonstrates that Internet marketing allows for the same cross-cultural and ethnocentrism issues that are inherent in traditional marketing, and it seeks to establish a prototype model for developing culturally sensitive websites.

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I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge all those whose encouragement and support were instrumental in my completion of this thesis. First and foremost many thanks go to my professor and thesis advisor, Dorine Andrews, who constantly provided me with brilliant advice, read many drafts, and took the time to thoroughly critique and edit my work. Thank you for not letting me settle for anything less than my full potential, and for always pushing me to do my very best. Thanks also to Abbas Malek, my second reader, whose course in Cross-Cultural Communication solidified my intention to pursue this topic of study. To each and every person who gave so generously of their time and allowed me to survey and interview them as subjects for my case studies. You people are the substance of this thesis. Thank you!

To my amazing parents, family and friends who have had to listen to all of my graduate school trials and tribulations for the past two years. Thank you for being there, for your endless backing, especially over the past six months, and for the many, many times you told me I could do it. I love you.

I dedicate this thesis especially to my uncle, Mike Tony, without whom I would never have had the courage to begin this program in the first place. For all the help and encouragement you selflessly gave me whenever I needed it, you have my most heartfelt gratitude.

Finally, to Matthew Porzio. Thank you for your unconditional support, for being my source of strength, for talking me down from the ledge every night, for always pointing out the light at the end of the tunnel, and for a million other reasons too numerous to name. We did it!

Adrienne Marie Tony

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction

1

Chapter 1:
Literature Review

4

Ethnocentrism

5

Ethnocentrism Measurement

10

U.S. Ethnocentrism

12

Global Marketing and Ethnocentrism

15

Global Marketing Pre-Internet
The Internet as a Global Marketing Tool
Chapter 2:
Methodology

21
23

28

Testing the Hypothesis

28

Research Protocol

29

Case Studies

30

Measurement Scale

31

Survey and Structure

33

Marketing Factors Examined in Interview Questions

35

Data Analysis

40

Testing Survey Questions

42

Methodology Summary

43

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Chapter 3:
Research Results

44...
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