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This chapter is from the book

Damned If You Do. . .

The upshot of the marketer's view of people, the need to make a profit, and the current competitive climate is that there seem to be few options to using strong promotional tools. The marketer has an arsenal of weapons by which a potential customer's objections or reluctance may be overcome. These tools are by no means perfect and never-failing. In fact, it takes a great deal of cultural fine-tuning to generate just the right kind of sales message—and then the effort may prove futile anyway. What is important, however, is that the marketer is always in a selling mode and that there are tools that can be—and are—used to persuade the prospect. As we say in our marketing classes: As marketers, we must make sure that we are selling products we believe in, products that can improve the buyers' lives. Trust me?

For non-Americans, the price they pay for opening their markets is higher than it seems to Americans. They will be inundated with strident efforts from entrants without the national legitimacy or cultural understanding to convince them to improve their lot by buying new products and brands, to get rid of their old possessions. The benefits they get are not as great as for the Americans, since many of the products are not adapted to their specific culture or environment. The chance to arrive at a higher standard of living is compromised by a new focus on material possessions and economic comparisons, while leaving less room for past attention to local culture. On top of that, given the age-old conflicts between neighbors of different ethnicities in the old countries, one should not be surprised to find that the new wealth, unevenly distributed, helps to exacerbate already tense relationships. Avoiding conspicuous consumption might still be feasible in a country such as the U.S. where everyone is told from childhood that they can succeed. It is a less likely possibility in countries with zero-sum situations of one player gets all, the rest nothing, and envy of your neighbor is a dominant cultural trait. The new products and brands become weapons in age-old rivalries in these countries, so that the freer and more open marketplace creates rather than overcomes frustrations. Channeling such frustrations into an anti-global attitude is just a short step away.

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