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What is International Marketing? Definition and Strategy Examples

What is international marketing

International marketing is the prediction and analysis of the market situation beyond national borders in order to ensure the most favorable conditions for the sale of products.

International marketing involves the effective implementation in foreign markets of the activities of a particular company on a program that includes such components:

  • R&D;
  • production and sale of products;
  • advertising support of goods or services;
  • Implementation of after-sales service to foreign consumers.

To achieve the planned results at the international level, a company often needs to choose the right foreign market to promote its goods and extend their life cycle. 

The essence of international marketing motivates companies focused on operating across national borders to accomplish 3 major tasks:

  • Consider the entire world as their potential market;
  • Analyze the characteristics of the foreign target audience and assess their interest in the product;
  • Meet the needs of their foreign customers;
  • Entering a foreign market is usually driven by certain internal motives. Before making such a decision, each company should not only assess the feasibility and prospects of such activities but also determine the desired results.

The essence and peculiarities of international marketing allow to achieve several goals:

  • to create a positive image of the company outside the country;
  • to increase sales volume;
  • to win strategic positions;
  • to make production cheaper and standardize products;
  • gain experience to promote products and services in other markets further;
  • save money by increasing the scale of operations and the volume of products sold.

Which international market strategies should I consider

International marketing strategy is a set of quantitative and qualitative indicators of the company’s activities in the foreign market and making decisions that direct specific marketing activities towards the implementation of the company’s development strategy as a whole.

Export activities

Export activities involve the production of goods and services in a company’s main domestic market (or in a third country or region) and the sale of these goods in the target foreign market. Suppose a company has chosen the export method of entering new markets. In that case, it should decide which functions in the promotion of goods it will retain and which functions it will delegate to intermediaries in foreign markets. The degree of delegation determines the level of responsibility and risks. There are 3 possible directions of export activity: direct export, indirect export, and joint export.

The advantage of the choice of export activity is the minimum risks and costs that the company incurs in implementing this method of access to foreign markets. The main disadvantage of export activities is the low level of control of the selected trade intermediaries in the target country. 


Licensing in international operations is a type of cooperation whereby a company transfers the right to a company in another country to use its unique production processes, patents, trademarks, technological advances, and other valuable skills for a fee that is set out in an agreement.

Licensing allows the company to set strict conditions for compliance with the processes and marketing policy of the company, which is a convenient way to organize local production in the target foreign market without high capital investments. The most crucial advantage of organizing such activities is the low cost of organizing, supporting, and controlling such activities.

The main problems that licensing implies: the loss of uniqueness and difficulty of control. 


Franchising is a type of business license in which the company franchisor transfers to its intermediary (the franchisee company) a license to operate under its trademark. You can transfer either just the ability to use the company’s trademark and products or an entire business process (as McDonald’s or KFC do).

In fact, the franchise agreement differs from the licensing by more stringent requirements for the intermediary and a narrower scope of application. For example, the franchising agreement is created in order to make another branch out of your intermediary, to build it into your business processes by imposing its own rules of operation on it. The licensing agreement has more freedom to use the company’s intangible property. 

Joint Venture

Joint ventures are separate companies formed by two or more businesses in which the responsibilities and risks are shared between the owners. A company may form a joint venture with one of the players in a target external market in order to gain access to resources, knowledge, contacts, or technology. In this case, the company shares the risks with its partner and shares the future income from activities in the industry.

The main advantage of a joint venture is gaining access to certain knowledge and technologies of the market. This can be the partner’s distribution network, its understanding of the specifics of the market, its production base, patents, and technologies. The disadvantages of this strategy of entering foreign markets are a high cost (compared with the above methods) and the risk of management conflicts due to different priorities of your company and the partner company.

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