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Background of the Project
The emerging technologies have turned the world into a global village, and many firms are struggling to find ways of expanding their global operations. International marketing strategies have become integral parts of strategic management as firms try to understand the nature of the environment in the international markets. The luxury industry is one of the oldest industries in the world.
Many companies offering luxurious products have been struggling to expand their operations to the international markets as a way of expanding their market share. Donia Allegue is one of the emerging luxury products that have been rapidly expanding over the recent past. This is one of the first Parisian turban designers that target high-end consumers in Europe.
Started in February 2012, this fashion designer has experienced massive success in the recent past in France. However, the management must understand that the international market has some characteristics that are different from the home market in France. According to Ricca and Robins (2012, p. 67), “Cultural differences affect the nature and pattern of status-directed consumption.”
Sometimes a product that is valuable to one group may be abhorred because of the cultural backgrounds. This is specifically so when it comes to the apparel industry. When planning to move to the international market, the marketing unit of Donia Allegue must realize that the international market may require different approaches in order to ensure that the operations of the firm are in line with the cultural needs of the local customers.
When conducting a research project, it is always important to set specific research questions that would define the path to be taken when collecting data. Research questions always offer a guideline of the type of data to be collected. This helps in avoiding time wastage by collecting irrelevant information. The following are some of the research questions that will guide the process of collecting data.
- What is the impact of cultural and religious factors in defining the consumption of luxurious products?
- Is it necessary for a firm like Donia Allegue to modify its products based on the cultural and religious factors?
- When is it necessary for a firm in the luxurious industry to consider that it has the capacity to enter a market that has different cultural practices from that of the home country?
The above three questions will form the basis of this project. Responding to the above questions will help determine the impact of cultural and religious practices on the luxurious industry. It will define when it is necessary for a firm to make an entry into a foreign market.
Importance of the Project
According to Wiedmann (2013, p. 112), there has been a consistent rise in the number of people into the upper and middle class in various countries across the world. In the United States and Europe, the number of people falling in the upper class has been on the rise. On the other hand, China, Brazil, India, and Africa have had a consistent rise in the number of people falling in the middle class.
This means that the target market for luxurious products is rapidly on the rise. There are more people who can afford expensive products in the world market today, than it was in the past. Firms offering luxurious products have, therefore, been under pressure to expand their market operations beyond the national borders as a way of tapping into the expanding market.
This research seeks to identify the best approach that these firms can use in order to expand their market share. The researcher appreciates the fact that cultural and religious factors may affect the internalization process of luxury companies. This research is very important because it sheds light on the approach that a firm should take when moving to the international markets.
It explains the cultural trends in the market, and how firms such as Donia Allegue should define their products in a way that would enable them operate in the international market. The project seeks to inform these firms that what may be appealing to the French consumers may not be very successful in the market in Saudi Arabia (Okonkwo 2010, p. 76).
This is so because of the difference in the cultural and religious practices in the two countries. From this research, these firms operating in luxurious products will be in a better position to formulate strategies that can enable them to operate in markets with varying socio-cultural dimensions.
Research is a continuous process that involves gathering new information in order to expand the existing knowledge in a given field. According to Samli (2013, p. 40), it is wrong for one to claim that he or she is conducting research from a scratch. There are always some existing literatures that are related to the topic in one way or the other.
A research can on only be important if it brings new knowledge on a given topic. Duplication of the existing knowledge in a new piece of research may not be of any use. It is, therefore, important for the researcher to appreciate the body of the existing literatures in order to identify what other scholars have found out from their research. With this information, the researcher will need to identify the research gaps in the existing literatures.
The researcher will determine the areas that other scholars ignored, areas that they recommended further research, or those that have a contradiction despite being widely published. This way, the new research will be exploring new information in order to expand the knowledge that already exists in the literatures.
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Many scholars have conducted massive research on the impact of cultural and religious practices on the international trade. According to Belk (2010, p. 61), many firms have failed in their internationalization processes because of misunderstanding the cultural practices of a new market. This scholar gives an example of Victoria’s Secret that specializes on the lingerie.
This firm had experienced massive success in Europe and American markets. It saw a big opportunity in the Middle East Market and made the decision to make its first entry in the region by establishing a store in Bahrain. However, the decision to use models who were only wearing the lingerie was a disastrous move in a society that holds strict principles about the dress code of women.
The product was met by an immediate rejection as it was considered a direct attack on the cultural and religious practices of the locals. The scholar says that the firm was almost forced out of the Kuwaiti market. The management had to restructure itself, eliminate the brands that had earned negative publicity and replace them with new products.
The firm had to reinvent its brand in this market in order to manage the hostility in the market. This is an ordeal that a firm such as Donia Allengue should not be subjected to in its internationalization process.
The impact of socio-cultural factors on the purchasing pattern of luxurious products is an area that scholars have given massive focus in the recent past. However, there are some contradictions on the existing literatures. While some scholars argue that some luxurious products are beyond the influence of culture and religion, other scholars hold that every cultural practices is a strong force that cannot be ignored by any industry.
For instance, Okonkwo (2007, p. 89) says that some of the top-of-the-range cars such as Mercedes Benz and BMW are always advertised using models who are casually dressed. This has never affected their sales in Middle East where strict principles about dress code are always observed.
However, the case of Victoria’s Secret is completely different from this. In this project, the researcher will try to identify the truth as to whether some luxurious products are beyond cultural influence. It is from the first reading of these existing literatures that the researcher was able to define the research questions discussed above.
How to Answer Research Questions
In every research, there must be the logical methods that are used to collect and analyze data in response to the set research questions. The methodology chosen for a research must be sensitive of the resources available for the research, including time and finance. It must also take into consideration the nature of the research (Kapferer & Bastien 2012, p. 53).
In this project, the data in response to the research questions will be collected from the primary and secondary sources. The primary sources of data will be collected from a firm that offers luxurious products through e-mail and phone interviews. This process is considered appropriate because it eliminates the geographic barrier. The secondary data will be gathered from books, journals, and other reliable online sources of information.
Analysis of the data will be conducted quantitatively to come up with the empirical facts about the issue under investigation. Data collected must respond directly to the questions set in this proposal. The responses will be presented in graphs, tables and charts for clarity.
Project planning is an important stage because it describes specific activities that should be carried out, the time allocations, and how the financial resources will be spent. The Gantt chart below shows some of the important activities in this project, and their timeline.
Timeline of the Activities in Project
As shown in the above Gantt chart, this process is expected to take eight weeks to be completed. Each of the activities has a set timeline, but some of them can be completed within a shorter period.
Collection of primary and secondary data and their analysis will be the main objectives in this project. The final document should be an informative report that incorporates the views of many scholars, and the sentiments of the individuals interviewed when collecting primary data.
List of References
Belk, R 2010, Research in consumer behavior, Emerald, Bingley.
Kapferer, J & Bastien, V 2012, The luxury strategy: Break the rules of marketing to build luxury brands, Kogan Page, London.
Okonkwo, U 2007, Luxury fashion branding: Trends, tactics, techniques, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.
Okonkwo, U 2010, Luxury online: Styles, strategies, systems, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.
Ricca, M & Robins, R 2012, Meta-luxury: Brands and the culture of excellence, Palgrave Macmillan, New York.
Samli, A 2013, International consumer behavior in the 21st century: Impact on marketing strategy development, Springer, New York.
Wiedmann, K 2013, Luxury marketing: A challenge for theory and practice, Gabler, Wiesbaden.