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imagesHAPTER OVERVIEW

  1. STANDARDIZATION VERSUS CUSTOMIZATION
  2. MULTINATIONAL DIFFUSION
  3. DEVELOPING NEW PRODUCTS IN THE GLOBAL MARKETPLACE
  4. TRULY GLOBAL PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

A cornerstone of a global marketing mix program is the set of product policy decisions that multinational companies (MNCs) constantly need to formulate. The range of product policy questions that need to be tackled is bedazzling: What new products should be developed for what markets? What adaptations, if any, should be made when we roll out an existing product in a new market? What products should be added to, removed from, or modified for the product line in each of the countries in which the company operates? What brand names should be used? How should the product be packaged? serviced? and so forth. Clearly, product managers in charge of the product policy decisions of a multinational company have their work cut out for them.

Improper product policy decisions are easily made, as the following cases illustrate:

  • Ikea in the United States.1 Ikea's initial foray in the United States was plagued with teething problems. Stores were in poor locations. Ikea stubbornly refused to size its beds and kitchen cabinets to fit American sheets and appliances. Bookshelves were too small to hold a television set. Bath towels were too ...

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