Purpose – The importance of the European Union (EU) to international business cannot be stressed too greatly. Recently it has expanded to 25 country markets. Its total population has reached 455 million people, which is the world's largest economic organisation. Previous international marketing standardisation (IMS) studies focused on the EU are mainly descriptive in nature and they have not specifically examined issues related to firms’ operations in two or more EU country markets at one time. The purpose of this study is to examine issues related to the crossmarket standardisation strategy, i.e. whether a standardised marketing programme and process can be used across the country markets in the EU. Design/methodology/approach – Using the pair‐wise comparison method originally developed by Sorenson and Wiechmann this study examines the marketing standardisation strategies selection process of 66 New Zealand firms which were concurrently operating in two or more EU markets. In total these firms were operating in 13 different EU country markets. Findings – The outcomes of this study suggest that, although a complete similarity in the marketing environment is not likely to occur in the EU, it is possible for firms to locate a group of country markets which have shared similar marketing characteristics in the EU region. For instance, country pairs such as UK‐France, UK‐Germany, UK‐Ireland, Germany‐France, Germany‐Italy and Germany‐Sweden could offer some extent of similarity which allows firms to adopt a standardised marketing strategy across these countries. Originality/value – This study generates a research framework for future studies and firms intending to operate in the EU region. The findings generated contribute to research in the areas of international marketing standardisation and international segmentation.
European Journal of Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 1, 2005
Keywords: Marketing; Standardization; European Union; New Zealand
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