Global Marketing: Adaptation vs. Standardization

Marketing and trade are complicated and interconnected processes, and their complexity increases in proportion to their scale. Most companies start their activities in the domestic market and expand to other countries, achieving success. For this reason, marketers need to understand the difference between domestic, international, and global marketing, as well as the various concepts and procedures accompanying them to launch their product around the world successfully. Therefore, this paper will examine the need for adaptation and standardization strategies, as well as the appropriateness of the “one size fits all” approach for global marketing to understand its fundamental principles.

The main differences between domestic, international, and global marketing are the area of activities, diversity of the audience, government interference, and presence of risk factors. The first and second aspects are related to the fact that domestic marketing operates in the territory of one country, while the global one covers many countries with different cultures (Morales, 2018). This fact means that for creating a marketing strategy, specialists must be culturally sensitive to take into account the interests of all audiences. These interests can include cultural values and beliefs for use in advertising, as well as tastes, features of clothing, lifestyle, and national cuisine. A variety of countries also means different laws, according to which a company needs to adapt its strategy (Morales, 2018). For example, sexual images cannot be used for advertising in Muslim countries. In addition, products or symbols can also be prohibited in some countries. For these reasons, the presence of risk factors in global marketing is also higher than in the domestic market.

These features of the global market also make it necessary for companies to use adaption or standardization strategies. Some companies believe that the “one size fits all” approach is useful for global marketing, but this idea is false. This approach means that one product is suitable for everyone, but Morales (2018) notes that understanding cultural diversity is a crucial factor and gives examples of McDonald’s with adjusted menus in different countries. Martin (2016) also notes this aspect but focuses on places of the sale in various countries, such as supermarkets or local markets, and Holley (2019) says that involving famous personalities in advertising also requires cultural sensitivity. These cultural factors, as well as the state’s economic situation, laws, and geography influence the company’s strategies (Akgün, Keskin, & Ayar, 2014). Moreover, the use of these strategies can be mandatory to comply with the laws of the country and discretionary to improve the product sales; however, in both cases, they lead to an increase in corporations’ profits (Westjohn & Magnusson, 2017; Lee & Griffith, 2019). Consequently, the adaptation of marketing strategies is a key factor for selling the product globally and brand building.

In conclusion, global marketing is a complex process that must take into account various cultural, legal, and socio-economic aspects to work successfully. The “One size fits all” approach is ineffective for most products, so specialists must adopt marketing strategies that work well in the domestic market to achieve the same success in other countries. Sometimes such adaptations are necessary to enter the foreign market, but more often, they are a logical move to attract customers. Therefore, the main feature of global marketing is the need to consider the diversity of the audience and their living conditions in different countries to create the value of the product.


Akgün, A. E., Keskin, H., & Ayar, H. (2014). Standardization and adaptation of international marketing mix activities: A case study. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 150, 609–618. Web.

Holley, J. (2019). Why there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all brand partnership. Forbes. Web.

Lee, H. S., & Griffith, D. A. (2019). The balancing of country-based interaction orientation and marketing strategy implementation adaptation/standardization for profit growth in multinational corporations. Journal of International Marketing, 27(2), 22–37.

Martin, A. (2016). No one size fits all: developing a global brand marketing strategy. The Guardian. Web.

Morales, G. (2018). Global marketing management. London, UK: ED-Tech Press.

Westjohn, S. A., & Magnusson, P. (2017). Export performance: A focus on discretionary adaptation. Journal of International Marketing, 25(4), 70–88.

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