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Marketing Mistakes There have been many international marketing mistakes made by advertisers of large companies such as, French conglomerate BSN, one of the largest food manufacturing groups in Europe, Cadbury’s chocolates, and Heinz. Several large corporations such as Gerber and Pepsi have made huge marketing mistakes because of translation. A word and/or color meaning something in one country could mean something else in another country. Any company that trades with a foreign nation requires a marketing department that specializes internationally. International marketing can make or break a company depending on the marketing campaign.

Barriers need to be eliminated between the countries that desire to import/export their goods company wants to sell. Research must be performed for languages, to ensure that your wording means the same in the foreign language. The other items that need to be considered would be; economics of that country, their culture, politics, legal requirements, segmentation, targeting, and the branding of your product regarding trade marks etc. Many companies have made very bad marketing mistakes which damaged any chance of selling the desired product in that foreign country.

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Cadbury’s chocolates performed a study with participants from England and Taiwan with regards to their packaging and the color purple. In England the color purple is seen to be “luxurious, stylish, expensive and classy”. (Doole & Lowe. 2001). Where in Taiwan the color purple is seen as “warm, friendly, but essentially poor and low in quality”. (Doole & Lowe. 2001). Therefore, the view of the wrapping color affected the view of the product. Heinz Corporation did not consider the literacy levels in Africa concerning packaging.

The use of pictorial display which describes the contents in the jar or carton was not considered when they used images of smiling babies on their baby food products. Needless to say the products with the smiling babies on them did not sell very well. Gerber, the baby food maker does not export their baby food to France. Because the word Gerber in French is a work for vomiting, therefore Gerber does not sell baby food in France and the Canada. Another company that had a translation in France is General Electric who partnered with Plessey to create a new telecommunications giant.

Upon new technology they came up with naming their new product GPT for FEC-Plessey Telecommunications. In French the letters GPT means “I’ve farted”. (Ricks D. 2006). French company “BSN, one of the largest food manufacturing groups in Europe” (Doole & Lowe. 2001), wanted to target Japan for their yogurts. They conducted a survey and the results indicated that the Japanese wanted to become more international regarding their food choices. After two year of disappointing sales they performed follow up research which indicated that the Japanese people were far too polite to mark no on any of the original surveys that the company had performed.

Therefore, their original research was misleading as to the Japanese wanting their product. International firms use five change-based drivers to globalize their operations they are; “1) political-preferential trading agreement, 2) technological-advances in communications technology, 3) market-global firms become global customers, 4) costs-globalization of product lines and production helps reduce costs by achieving economies of scale, 5) competition-firms are defending their home markets from foreign competitors by entering the foreign competitors markets”. Ball et al, 2008). By using these five change-based drivers an international company can develop a strategy for selling their products in a foreign country. Of course marketing techniques that work in one country may not work in another. Therefore, it is imperative that the marketing is researched entirely before launching your product(s). Resources Ball, McCulloch, Geringer, Minor, McNett, D. , W. , J. , M. , & J. (2008).

International Business The Challenge of Global Competition 11 edition. New York, New York: McGraw-Hill Irwin. Ricks. D. (2006). Marketing Translation Mistakes. Retrieved May 25, 2007 from http://www. i18nguy. com/translations. html Doole & Lowe. (2001). The Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism Network: Examples and Pitfalls of Marketing. Retrieved May 25, 2007 from http://www. hlst. heacademy. ac. uk/resources/heinfe_exchange/pitfalls. doc

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