Marketing in Multinationals: the USA vs. Japan


The purpose of this study is to evaluate different multinational companies; two based in USA and one from Japan. The study will focus on each companys profile, scope of operation and its marketing strategy. This will help in understanding differences in the company strategies and their similarities in particular regions or nations.


The main objective of marketing is to enable the firms to boost customers’ values. In todays competitive, information intensive business environment, successful marketing needs deep knowledge of customers, competitors, that is, what they are doing and what they are not doing and vast skills in organizing organizations abilities in serving the customers profitably (Kotler, 1988). To achieve this, firms have to come up with a market strategy which points to the specific market and the activities to be targeted and the type of opportunities to be exploited in order to take a competitive advantage.

Ford Motor Company

Since the early 20th century, the company has been famous for introducing the mass production concept. Ford motor is one of the largest auto makers worldwide; trading with different Ford brands which include Lincoln, Mercury and Ford. Its major success was in redesigning the F- series pickup and Ford Mustang into more fuel efficient models. The company is well spread with significant markets in all the continents of the world (Yahoo, 2010).

Scope of operation

The Ford motor company is involved in manufacturing and distribution of automotive personal, passengers’ cars, and commercial vehicles. It is also involved in financial services, rental car services and vehicles leasing.

Marketing Strategy for Ford Company

In order to compete against the world industry leader in automotive manufacturing the company adopted a strategy of increasing its presence globally. It adapted various marketing strategies in order to beat the competition in the global market. These strategies were.

  • Differentiation strategy; the company has adopted this strategy to enable it offer to its targeted market the same products and services. Its products are focused to different market segments and they have distinct features from one market segment to the other. It uses different promotion messages and brand advertisement for each set of its targeted customers. This strategy has helped the company in building a very loyal customer base around the world.
  • Micro- marketing strategy- In this strategy the Ford motor has segmented its market share, and for each market segment it is offering it an array of different products i.e. in the personal car segment the company has produced different models of personal cars to give its customers choices. This strategy is very expensive to implement unless a company has highly developed and extensive technical capacity to get to its targeted customers.
  • Distribution of products strategy. Company must decide in what area of the country or region it want to target its distribution efforts. Also the channels that will carry their products to the desired market coverage have to be decided from onset. The Ford motor has dealers around the world who have helped the company reach it presence all over the globe. This as helped the company to make it products available everywhere in the world and where the customers needs them. In countries where is as low market penetration the company as increased the number of the dealers with a view of having great presences in those countries.

American Apparel

Company profile

The American Apparel is the principal producer of clothing brands for all people of different ages. It is a public company founded in 1998 with over ten thousand employee and with global presence in over 20 countries. The company is headquartered at Los Angeles area (Peterson, 2010).

Scope of operation

The company is vertically integrated focused in cloth making, design, advertisement and marketing.

Marketing Strategy for American Apparel Company

  • Pricing strategy. Ludi (2004), notes that prices are a very crucial element in marketing strategy, since it interact with all other marketing mix. The American apparel company has adopted a low pricing strategy relative to its competitors in the Asian market in particular china where the company has invested billions of dollars in opening the new cloth manufacturing firm. To survive in the Asian region, the apparel company management put china vibrate clothing industry into focus and concluded it was only through low pricing while at the same time maintaining high quality they could be able to gain market share for their products in this region full of cheap cloths due to economy of scale and cheap labor. This is in contrast to the pricing in the national market. The penetration pricing method has worked for the company well since it has been able to achieve a large sales volume and marketing share in south Asia region. In addition, its new manufacturing plant in china has been able to break even.
  • Internet media strategy. This is centered on the web and E-commerce; internet has proved to be effective alternative of distribution, tool for communication and sales. American Apparel has clear direction on the use of internet for its own purpose and it as established effective internet media strategy. It has utilized its website to provide real time sales, distribution and advertisement of its products. The website for American apparel has in depth information of its products and this has greatly helped it sales in challenging environments like European market where the customer have vast knowledge on the fashions products and it is not easy to convince them with just adverting messages. Also the company has taken the advantage of wide internet coverage in Europe where almost every house hold has internet access to market and sell it products online. The internet media strategy has proved to be cheap and effective modern medium of doing business without actual interaction with the customers. It also provided a rapid and instant way of getting customers opinions regarding the company’s products.
  • Seasonality Strategies. In this strategy the company looks at when to promote its products hence the seasonality portion of the business review become useful, the company considers the part of the year when the product category as whole does well. This helps the company marketing department to know which period of the year it should intensify its advertisement when the sales are high and tries to capture as many purchasers as possible during this period. Seasonality also helps the company in allocating the marketing expenditure in different regions, i.e. certain markets that are competitive during a certain period are allocated additional spending in order to maintain share growth. The American Apparel company has effectively utilized this method during the Easter holidays, winter periods and Christmas season in marketing its various categories of clothing products. It uses offers and discounts during these high selling periods in orders entice customers to buy more thus using the high sales volumes months to help in promoting lower sales volumes months.

Sony Company

Company profile

The company was founded in 1946, with an objective of creating innovative electronics products which were beneficial to people. It is a public company with over 165,000 employee’s world wide.

Scope of operation

Sony Company is a major producer of electronic product in the world. Its products include Videos, audios communications and information technology products.

Marketing Strategy for Sony Company

  • Spending Strategies. David & Wrenn (2005) observes that the spending strategy shows how the marketing money will be spent to achieve the marketing objectives. The spending by the company is spread in various activities of the company i.e. investment spending for developing new products, advertisement and promotion spending. In order to come up with clear spending program the company marketing department has to determine the spending levels by its brands, stores and international branches. Sony Company has used the spending strategy in promoting and advertising its brands all over the world. Also it has invested heavily in innovation and creativity. Through this strategy, the Company has established very big market share in all continent in the world. In Africa continent, Sony has been able to dominate the lower market segment by providing cheap electronic product which are affordable to the majority of African poor populace. This has been possible by investing in development of cheap technology.
  • Advertising Media Strategies- Peter and James (2010) points that the strategy for advertising should always be consistent with the direction established by the product. The main goal of establishing a unified media strategy is to provide direction for the next media plans and establish geographic and product spending emphasis. The Company has heavily used this strategy in its middle east markets in order to establish new market in the region i.e. in Iraq and generate new trials for its new electronic products. Sony has also adopted the advertisement strategy in Africa where it advertises throughout the year to maintain the awareness of it products. This is due to volatility of the African market which has been saturated by damping of cheap low quality electronic products from china.
  • Product Strategies- this strategy is concerned with new products, products improvement, product lines extension and improving weak products and putting more emphasis on the strong products to continue dominating the market share. If the sale of a certain product is low it is upon the marketing department to decide how to improve the product sales in order to meet the company goals. The Sony company has used the product strategy to ensure all its products have sizeable market share. Those products which have continuously performed lowly year after year, the company improves them by adding more feature to them in order to be able to compete with their rivals in the market. This strategy has resulted in increased purchase of the company products and has increased continuous usage of it products while attracting new customer who are eager to try their products.

Differences among the company’s marketing strategies per country

Each company marketing strategy has specific goal to achieve different from the other strategy, this is true due to the fact that no single marketing strategy can conclusively meet all the companys objectives. Also each marketing strategy has different cost implication to the company.

Effects of culture in product development

Culture affects the thinking and perception of consumers. To have successful product in different geographical regions, a company needs a thorough understanding of the region or country culture. A company should not produce a product for a certain region without first understanding the culture of the intended consumers.

Similarities among the company’s marketing strategies per country

All the companys marketing strategies are meant to spur growth in market share of the company products and service. The multinational companies heavily rely on both international local media houses to promote their strategies. Also with the entry of internet as big player in the international arena, multinational companys have utilized the internet to reach to their intended consumers with their products.


It is imperative that marketing strategy are very crucial to companys, no company can survive in today’s business environment without a viable marketing strategies for its various products categories. It is incumbent upon the companys to put a substantial budgetary allocation at every end of financial year for facilitating the implementation of its marketing strategies. Initial cost for implementing some of the marketing strategies are high but at long run the companys reaps massively from both tangible and intangible benefits of these strategies.


David, L. & Wrenn, B. (2005). Marketing Management: Text and Cases. Binghamton: Haworth Press

Kotler, P. (1988). Marketing management: analysis, planning, implementation and control. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall

LinkedIn Corporation (2010). Limited Sony company profile. Web.

Ludi, K. (2004). Marketing Communication. Lansdowne: Juta and Co. Ltd.

Peter, J. & James, D. (2010). Marketing management. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Peterson (2010). American Apparel company profile. Web.

Yahoo (2010), Ford Motor Co. (F). Web.

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