Coursera – International Marketing in Asia

classVery insightful class – it looks into marketing in general with Asian specifics.  The class indicates that though Asia itself might be considered as one region, marketing in Asia might be significantly different from Europe.  And – each of the countries in Asia will have unique aspects.  Though some high-end consumer categories (such as Golden Misses) might be somewhat similar in different countries, the significant difference exists in lower-income area.

The class also illustrated the change in Asian markets and Asian marketing.  Change could include luxury brands (migration from global brands to local luxury brands, which show more individuality) and also marketing techniques.

Very interesting – marketing in Asia becomes more and more important because of the significant growth of Asian middle class (ah – the North America on the chart is not quite moving in the right direction.. 😉 )


Asian market for luxury goods already surpassed European market, what was beyond analysts’ expectations.

Marketing from Asia

  • Though country of origin is a generalized representation of quality, brands ultimately override country of origin.
  • The same country of origin perception may be different in different industries.
  • Should a country adopt a Pan-Asian identity rather than associate itself with a specific country?  Possibly, if the association within that specific industry and country are not positive, but it might reduce flexibility for future branding efforts.

Marketing to Asia

  • Avoid template mentality; Asian countries are different from Europe and North America, and different between themselves.
  • Walmart was successful in China, but not in Korea (Korea already had a low-cost competitor; low car ownership hurt access, and consumers expected smaller packages and fresh items (curious: shelf height was too high for the local consumers 😉 )
  • Product created specifically for Asian countries by an Asian company (LG)
    • Company created an air-conditioner, which also protects the room from mosquitoes (important in Malaysia and India).  The company found a local spokesperson, who lost a child to a mosquito-transmitted disease.  Though the air-conditioner cost was more than a regular device, the market adopted the product (particularly parents of small children).  Interesting: a local marketer who had the original idea has to “jump through hoops” to convince the organization that the product should be created.

Approach to Marketing:

  • Etic: culture-free understanding (marketing is marketing)
  • Emic: culture-bound and context specific (each market is unique!)

Countries within the region might be quite different


(Familiar source

B-to-B Marketing in Asia

  • Buying Center needs to be matched by the Selling Center to target different people in the buying center at different time (good parallel to Account Based Marketing)
  • Access to decision makers in Asia can be more difficult because of cultural hierarchy and more prominent gatekeepers
  • Vendor needs to be become involved early in the process.  Excellent examples:
    • Steel manufacturer worked with an automobile producer to make automobiles lighter
    • Steel manufacturer worked with OEMs in excavation industry to optimize design and reduce processing costs

Market selection process in Asia

  • Decide if a company should move abroad (a firm should have economic or non-economic reason)
  • Find first market (many select Singapore as a beach head in Asia; the market represents ethnic variety and located close to other larger markets)
  • Curious recommendation: have a plan A and a plan B (for example, for luxury cosmetics, targeting women over 25 can be a good plan A, and targeting teenagers can be a plan B)
  • Positioning within the company also important (do not hire yes-people 😉  )