Standardization and Adaptation Marketing Strategies

Standardization and Adaptation Marketing Strategies

Standardization and Adaptation Marketing Strategies

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Globalization has enabled companies to operate in international and foreign markets. This, however, has brought a challenge to the companies when it comes to marketing strategies. Global markets are faced with several variables, competition and even lack of infrastructure at times. In order to counter these challenges, two marketing strategies have been developed and used. Some companies have even resorted to using both strategies in the same market. The kind of policy used normally depends on how that particular company views its market. The market can be viewed to have same or different needs, desires, tastes and culture.

The first strategy is standardization, commonly referred to as “standardization when necessary”. This is a marketing policy that involves use of same product, distribution networks, promotion and prices in all markets. This marketing strategy is employed to increase the quality of products and to streamline the distribution channels. It also uses same product promotion tactics and prices in virtually all environments. Brands such as Coca cola, Nike, and Levis have used this marketing strategy in their global markets. Coca cola for example sells the same product in all countries throughout the world.

When it comes to distribution, Coca cola resorted to using bottling companies to distribute their products in every market.

Standardization is normally embraced by companies who view the world as a global village where the consumers have same tastes, needs and desires and hence they use same product and strategy in all the markets.

Adaptation strategy is the other approach that is has been used in marketing. This strategy entails adjusting products, distribution channels, promotion tactics as well as prices to every kind of market that a company operates in. This line of attack does not view the market as homogenous. It takes into consideration differences in culture, taste, consumer behavior, government policies and infrastructure in every market. The users of this strategy therefore adjust their products, brands, design and labels to conform to different environment, consumer behavior and competitiveness.

Factors such as national identity, language and climate are also considered in this approach. An example of a brand that has embraced the adaptation strategy in its global market is cell phone manufacturer Nokia. The company has over the years developed its handsets to conform to the market needs. This has enabled Nokia to fully satisfy the needs of each of its local markets that could have otherwise remained unsatisfied had the company not used this approach.

Adaptation strategy helps fully respond to the needs of the local consumers by using specific prices, distribution channels and promotion tactics based on the characteristics of the market. Some marketing experts have argued that adaptation approach is costly since it requires a lot of modification and adjustments in pricing, product, distribution and promotion. However, this has been refuted by others who say that adaptation whenever necessary helps in satisfying the needs of the consumers fully and in the long run expands the market base of that particular company or brand. This in turn leads to more sales and maximizes profit.


Standardization and adaptation approaches have worked for different companies and brands. It is therefore important to carry out market research to understand the market before settling on the marketing approach to adopt. Whenever standardization is necessary, it should be adopted and where adaptation seems to be the best suited tactic, it should be embraced.


Baker, Michael, Hart, Susan. The Marketing Book: Elsevier Ltd.London, 2008.Print.