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As an International Marketing Consultant, you have been approached by a client organisation requesting your advice before they enter an international market.

The management in this client organisation have the ambition for profitable overseas growth in this international market in both offline and online markets.

You have met with this client and briefly discussed some of the key Marketing tasks that need to be managed at this initial market entry stage.

Following this brief meeting, the client has asked you to prepare a report detailing and illustrating the approaches you recommend that they should undertake in the international market, in the following areas of International Marketing Management: 

Critically evaluate why and how they should manage market- led decisions, in order to construct an efficient and effective Distribution Channel system in their offline markets.

Points to address:

  • In terms of `why`, it is necessary for you to demonstrate the potential benefits of employing a market – led approach in the context of international distribution planning.
  • You need to evaluate critically the market – led approach in comparison to alternative Distribution planning approaches.
  • The potential reasons for adopting a market – led approach and making recommendations to your client

In terms of `how`:

  • It is necessary to conduct a critical evaluation of the market – led approach in the context of International Distribution decisions.
  • Relevant International Distribution planning models should be used to illustrate this approach and be used as the basis of your critical evaluation.
  • The market – led Distribution principles that you identify should be evaluated in the context of your chosen client organisation and your chosen International market.

Critically examine why and how they can best manage their online activities in this international market.

Points to address:

  • In terms of `why` you must conduct a critical examination of the potential benefits of efficient and effective management of online marketing activities in International markets.
  • The potential benefits that you make must be critically examined in the context of your agreed client organisation.
  • In terms of `how`, you need to conduct a critical examination of managing online activities in International markets.
  • Relevant International online Marketing planning models should be used as to illustrate this planning process, and be used as your basis of your critical examination
  • The key approaches and principles you identify should be critically examined and illustrated in the context of the agreed client organisation.

Part One: Benefits of market led distribution approach

Proton Holdings Berhad is considered to be one of the popular automobile manufacturing company in Malaysia that has a huge marketing value in the Malaysian automobile market. This report is going to identify the offline market approach and the online marketing of Proton in order to understand the effectiveness of the company to sustain in the highly competitive automobile manufacturing market.

There are a number of benefits for the market led distribution approach that provide strategic advantage for the Proton Holdings Berhad. The benefits are as follows,

The global market is highly volatile and depended on the enormous demand from the customers who are always looking for better quality products with a creative underpinnings (Intriligator 2017). Based on this understanding, it can be stated that it is important for the Proton Holdings Berhad to compete in the international market more efficiently. From that point of view, the market-led approach highlights the product trends as well as keeping an eye on the customer trends.

Moreover, it can be stated that penetrating in the foreign market also requires to develop the customer value. Entering into the global market requires the trusts of the customers. The more the customer will trust the brand the more it generates profit (Onaran and Obst 2016). Building a customer base will lead to better market capitalisation for Proton Holdings Berhad in order to expand its market internationally.

One of the major aspects of market-led distribution approach is to encapsulate the market by maximising the customers. The primary motive of the organisation is to develop a better communication with the customers through branding extensively and efficiently (Yami and Snyder 2016). As a result of that it increases the market occupation of the organisation quite extensively. In this context, Proton Holdings Berhad will also get advantage of the market-led distribution approach.

In compare to the market-led distribution channel, it can be argued that the existing distribution planning of Proton Holdings Berhad is based on the Single distribution channel. It means direct dealing with the customers is the main focus of Proton in order to expand its market in the global platform. According to Ruester et al. (2014) the single distribution approach has more risks in compare to the multi-channel distribution process. The reason behind this is that through the direct marketing any fluctuation in the market-led distribution will face grave problem and the downturn will cause direct impact on the organisational business. On the other hand, the multi-channel distribution process is considered to be safer in order to penetrate in the new market. In this regard, Waheed et al. (2018) ascribed that the multi-channel distribution process is resembled with the wholesaler or distributors. In other words, it can be argued that the multi-channel distribution system is an indirect approach to enter into the market. During evaluating the effectiveness of indirect marketing França et al. (2017) stated that for making a new entry into the market the indirect distribution system has a strategic advantage. In case of the high volatile and competitive market it is essential for a new organisation to restrain its risks by involving into indirect marketing. As a result of that the direct impact of the customer fluctuation will never touch the mother company in such a grave manner.

Part Two: Reasons for adopting market led distribution approach

Despite of having so much importance of the multi-channel distribution, it can be stated that the market-led distribution system is more accurate because it creates a direct connection with the customers. The multi-channel model is more connected with the short term goals and advantages. On the other hand, for a long term investment direct relation with the customers is very important for the organisations (Abdul-Manan 2017). For an instance, it can be stated that the Proton Holdings Berhad intends to penetrate into the international market and it requires a better distribution approach for establishing the market capitalisation more boldly. However, there were no such specific reasons that contributes to the understanding of distribution mode. It is primarily based on the need, objective, purpose and motive of the company. If the company wants to expand itself for a little while then the multi-channel distribution system is good. However, the basic difference between the multi-channel model and the direct market –led distribution mode is that the customer’s value is not fully developed through the multi-channel method (Kraemer and Dedrick 2015). On the other hand, the direct market-led distribution process is helped to set up a good customer value and brand recognition that is important for Proton Holdings Berhad in order to penetrate into the new market. In this context, the company has a stronghold into the native market and it will encourage them to compete in the international market with the same aggression. Therefore, the market –led distribution mode has been chosen as the right method.

According to Kraemer and Dedrick (2015) it can be argued that the market-led approach has a deep influence on the customers and the market capitalisation side by side. In this regard, the relationship between the customers and the organisation is played a very significant role. As a matter of fact, there are huge role of the market-led approach in this regard. In his research Williamson (2016) pointed out that the market-led approach plays pivotal role in developing the image of the brand as well as the organisation. It is highly important for the organisations to generate a better brand value while penetrating a new market. In fact, the international market is always very competitive and unique marketing strategy or market-led approach is required in order to establish better marketing capitalisation. Moreover, putting emphasis on the customer value is another aspect that provides the companies to set up their market in the new international market strategically. Piercy (2016) advocated that the advantage of the market-led approach is to directly deal with the customers. As a result of that it became easier to communicate with the customers profoundly. Besides this, influencing and attracting the customers with the quality products and innovative innovation is also facilitated through the implementation of the market-led approach. In the words of Rademaker et al. (2016) the market-led approach directly involves into enhancing the customer value. Therefore, the customers feel more satisfied and happy with the product. Therefore, in an international market entry the market-led approach gives strategic advantages for the big organisations.

Part Three: Market-led approach in international distribution

The distribution planning is led by the needs and objectives of the company. In this context, it can be stated that the as per the requirements the company decides to initiate a distribution planning model for robust entrance into the international market. However, the international market is dynamic and full of risk factors. Therefore, it is pertinent for the organisations to set a better distribution model. It should be simple and effective so that both the operations and the marketing department have in-depth understanding of the process.

In this regard, the first part is associated with the wholesalers or the distributors. There are various types of wholesale distributors like retailers, sales agent, dealer and the direct purchasing process (Kim and Kim 2016). In addition to this, the process is also comprised with specialise internal sales team who are responsible for deciding the sales mode through marketing initiatives.

In this context, the next phase is resembled with identifying the effective distribution partner. The purpose of this identification is to make a better market encapsulation with the better distribution partner. In this context, there are some determinant factors that are responsible for the effectiveness of the distribution process. For an instance, the first important aspect is to perceive the insights of the customer demands (Yami and Snyder 2016). Based on this, the organisation will take adequate measures for intensive or innovative distribution mode. In this regard, the skills and experience of the employees are also considered to be an important aspect to meet the customers’ expectations.

Besides this, the next step will be enlisting the target distribution process. The purpose of this segmentation is to underline the role of each actors who are attached with the process of distribution practice.  It is followed by a meeting and communication with the distribution partners in order to enhance the effectiveness of the distribution process.

In this context, the market-led distribution process has some fundamental principles like the pro-activeness, choosing distributors efficiently, evaluate the capabilities of the distributors and so on. According to the principles of the market-led distribution approach it can be argued that the pro-activeness of the organisation is very important to manage an efficient distribution set up. Moreover, it will lead to the selection of the distributors carefully (Waheed et al. 2018). It depends on the demand and the customer demands. The basic principle and purpose of the distribution practice is to reflect an effectiveness so that it will generate more profit for both the distributors and parent company as well. Furthermore, keeping a good contact with the efficient distributors with a long agreement will satisfy the distributors in one hand and secure the market capitalisation of the organisation on the other.

Evaluation of the online marketing activities

Online marketing techniques are considered to be one of the advantageous process that facilitate better advantage for the organisations. However, there are a number of constraints of the online marketing practices that pushes the marketing managers to take a thorough investigation on the process. According to Wu (2015) the online marketing or the e-marketing process has a growing problem of security and privacy issue. It can be asserted that online marketing practice must perceive the importance of the security of the data related to the employees and the customers. In response to this, the research of Leung, Bai and Stahura (2016) ascribed that with the advent of the modern technology ethical breaches like data breaches will be considered to be a dangerous issue that must be resolved.

Besides this, transparency in pricing is also pointed out to be of paramount importance for the multi-national organisations. In his research Hofacker et al., (2016) mentioned that the pricing is the most influential aspect that paves the way for maximising consumer. In most of the cases the customers compares prices between two products of different company and tries to find out the basics of the customer behaviour is driven by the price of the products. Therefore, it is considered to be transparent and effective enough to attract more customers. Moreover, the role of the pricing strategy is also referred to a strategic measure that will deliver advantage in the highly competitive market.

Maintenance costs of the online portals are also important in order to create a flawless gateway for the customers. Incoherent and complex gateway would create a problem for the customers to understand the process of purchase (Pauwels, Aksehirli and Lackman 2016). They can feel reluctant to use the website despite of having a lot of unique and effective products. Based on this understanding, it can be asserted that the website must be maintained continuously. However, the process is cost ridden so that it creates problem for the organisations. Henceforth, the e-marketing process has some disadvantages. However, those problems can be resolved and bring a better environment for the organisation.

As a matter of fact, the online marketing is highly beneficial for the international market. It can be asserted that the due to the practice of online marketing it becomes easier to maximise the customers because the target customers and the interested people will get acknowledged with the brand. In this context, the possible advantages of the online marketing approach are

According to Herbes and Ramme (2014) the purpose of the online marketing is primarily related to generate more attractiveness to the process of increase the brand value through the process of website, social media promotion or online advertisements. In case of an international business organisation, it is not possible to physically assess the target customers of the company. However, the online marketing platform provides the opportunity to increase the customers effectively.

Through the research of Hanssens and Pauwels (2016) it can be opined that the online marketing approach is a new trend and it can encompasses a number of customers that the traditional marketing and promotional approach could not achieve. From that point of view, it can be argued that the role of the online marketing approach is not only develop a better process but also enhance the credibility of the outcome with immense accuracy.

In fact, due to the globalisation it becomes an important feature of international market to penetrate into the market rigorously. However, the existing companies are the major obstacles who prevent any new entrants. As a result of that direct penetration seems very critical for the companies in the new market (Aguirre et al., 2015). In response to this, the online marketing tries to curb down the competition and tries to make a better environment for healthy business environment where all the companies get equal opportunity to expand its market.

As a matter of fact, it is important to understand that the online marketing approach has a strategic advantage for long term importance of the organisations. In this context, Verma, Sharma and Sheth (2016) ascribed that it is pertinent for the organisations to go with the modern trends. Most of the customers use online social media and as a result of that it becomes a trend for the online marketing practices.

In this context, it is highly important to initiate a market evaluation of the online marketing activities. The purpose of this market entry strategy will be develop a conceptual framework of the online market strategy. There are some factors that are responsible to determine the prospect of the online marketing plan for the Proton Company.

At first, it is important to get an idea about the marketing practice of the organisation. In this regard, it is essential to maintain a better understanding of the existing international market trend. In this context, Verma, Sharma and Sheth (2016) asserted that in every market in the international market different trends can be seen as a result of that companies suffer with obstacles in the market process. In this regard, procuring a better market investigation can enlighten the trends and demands of the customers. Moreover, new companies in the international market often follows the marketing strategy of the leading companies. It is very helpful to follow the existing marketing strategy as it will provide a guidance or a layout to follow. Therefore, evaluating the marketing trends of the existing companies can be useful to understand the demands and influencing factors to maximise more customers. Those are the basic factors on which the focus should be kept on. In return a great deal of information of that market will be generated that helps the company to formulate an effective online marketing strategy.

In this context, the RACE online marketing plan model is highly relevant to discuss. The full form of RACE is Reach, Act, Convert and Engage. It is accompanies with a plan that is entitled to deal with the entire process. According to Li and Kannan (2014) planning is a very important aspect for developing a model or framework. Through this process it will be a better understating to make a proper plan that connotes all the steps required for the framework.

It involves the awareness of the brand with its products and services in other websites in order to get the attractions of the customers. In this regard, there are different types of sites that are responsible to promote the products. For an example, the main site, micro-sites and the social media pages. The main page is comprised with the details of the products in association with other items of that particular company (Amaro and Duarte 2015). Besides this, in the micro-sites the pop up or flash advertisements are seen in terms of specific product of a company. Those advertisements are paid and reflects only a single product in one time. Besides this, social media is like an official website of the company in a social media platform.

It is associated with the interaction process with the customers. The purpose of this stage is to encourage and attract the customers that is highly important for the online marketers. This kind of communication with the process can visibly be seen in case of the business to business (B2B) environment. Moreover, this process also portrays a better understanding about the details of the products and can trace others’ items in the same price and category (Bilgihan 2016). As a result of that it provides a better opportunity for the organisations to install a better marketing strategy which is effective and advantageous.

This process is resembled with the conversion of the customers to purchase that particular product. Paying more importance to the customers through effective marketing channels and online promotional tools. It will deliver more effective measure for the organisation to attract the customers profoundly and sophisticatedly.

The engage process means developing a long term relationship with the buyers. In this context, the first time buyers are the primary concern for the organisations because customer loyalty is identified as the most important part for the organisation (Srinivasan, Rutz and Pauwels 2016). Through email and social presence the organisations are tried to deal with both the new and the existing customers. It means, the active customers are considered to be the major concern for the organisations.

Conclusion

From that perspective, it can be advocated that both the market-led approach and the online market approach are equivalently important for Proton to expand its market in the international market. The market-led approach or the offline method points out to the direct interaction with the customers whereas the online approach will provide a better framework for Proton to maximise its customers globally. Therefore, it can be concluded that the purpose of the report is rightly justified and it takes an in-depth analysis regarding the role of offline and online marketing in international marketing perspective.

References

Abdul-Manan, A.F., 2017. Lifecycle GHG emissions of palm biodiesel: Unintended market effects negate direct benefits of the Malaysian Economic Transformation Plan (ETP). Energy Policy, 104, pp.56-65.

Aguirre, E., Mahr, D., Grewal, D., de Ruyter, K. and Wetzels, M., 2015. Unraveling the personalization paradox: The effect of information collection and trust-building strategies on online advertisement effectiveness. Journal of Retailing, 91(1), pp.34-49.

Amaro, S. and Duarte, P., 2015. An integrative model of consumers' intentions to purchase travel online. Tourism management, 46, pp.64-79.

Bilgihan, A., 2016. Gen Y customer loyalty in online shopping: An integrated model of trust, user experience and branding. Computers in Human Behavior, 61, pp.103-113.

França, C.L., Broman, G., Robèrt, K.H., Basile, G. and Trygg, L., 2017. An approach to business model innovation and design for strategic sustainable development. Journal of Cleaner Production, 140, pp.155-166.

Hanssens, D.M. and Pauwels, K.H., 2016. Demonstrating the value of marketing. Journal of Marketing, 80(6), pp.173-190.

Herbes, C. and Ramme, I., 2014. Online marketing of green electricity in Germany—A content analysis of providers’ websites. Energy Policy, 66, pp.257-266.

Hofacker, C.F., De Ruyter, K., Lurie, N.H., Manchanda, P. and Donaldson, J., 2016. Gamification and mobile marketing effectiveness. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 34, pp.25-36.

Intriligator, M., 2017. Globalisation of the World Economy: Potential Bene?ts and Costs and a Net Assessment. In Economics of Globalisation (pp. 85-94). Routledge.

Kim, H. and Kim, S.N., 2016. Shaping suburbia: A comparison of state-led and market-led suburbs in Seoul Metropolitan Area, South Korea. Urban Design International, 21(2), pp.131-150.

Kraemer, K.L. and Dedrick, J., 2015. Who captures value from science-based innovation? The distribution of benefits from GMR in the hard disk drive industry.

Leung, X.Y., Bai, B. and Stahura, K.A., 2015. The marketing effectiveness of social media in the hotel industry: A comparison of Facebook and Twitter. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 39(2), pp.147-169.

Li, H. and Kannan, P.K., 2014. Attributing conversions in a multichannel online marketing environment: An empirical model and a field experiment. Journal of Marketing Research, 51(1), pp.40-56.

Onaran, O. and Obst, T., 2016. Wage-led growth in the EU15 member-states: the effects of income distribution on growth, investment, trade balance and inflation. Cambridge Journal of Economics, 40(6), pp.1517-1551.

Pauwels, K., Aksehirli, Z. and Lackman, A., 2016. Like the ad or the brand? Marketing stimulates different electronic word-of-mouth content to drive online and offline performance. International Journal of Research in Marketing, 33(3), pp.639-655.

Piercy, N.F., 2016. Market-led strategic change: Transforming the process of going to market. Routledge.

Rademaker, I.F., Koech, R.K., Jansen, A. and van der Lee, J., 2016. Smallholder Dairy Value Chain Interventions; The Kenya Market-led Dairy Programme (KMDP)–Status Report. Centre for Development Innovation.

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Srinivasan, S., Rutz, O.J. and Pauwels, K., 2016. Paths to and off purchase: quantifying the impact of traditional marketing and online consumer activity. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 44(4), pp.440-453.

Verma, V., Sharma, D. and Sheth, J., 2016. Does relationship marketing matter in online retailing? A meta-analytic approach. Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, 44(2), pp.206-217.

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