Competition in the business world is fierce and in order to survive companies must expand. “With the increasing globalization of markets, companies find they are unavoidably enmeshed with foreign customers, competitors, and suppliers, even within their own borders,” (Cateora-Graham, 2007). One way in which many companies have done this is by going global. International marketing, although more prominent than ever before, is still a difficult arena for marketers to master. Although religion and culture are not immediately brought to mind when business is brought up, marketing is one aspect of business that is highly sensitive to culture. Not only culture, but also politics, the economy and the law effect marketing strategies. This paper will examine the differences between the American and Japanese marketing environments.
“It should not be surprising that Japanese marketing practices vary from traditional Western marketing practices because marketing is the process of satisfying wants and needs and these desires vary tremendously among cultures,” (Howard, 1999). The Japanese have been noted as leaders in marketing techniques. However, the Japanese may not be as adept in the marketing field as once thought. The Japanese view the field of marketing much differently than Americans do. The Japanese believe that “if a good, quality, lower-priced product is produced based on consumer information, people should buy it,” (Howard, 1999). The Japanese do not place marketing very high on their list of priorities. This is very different from their American counterparts. American companies value marketing highly. Japanese companies place more emphasis on production and manufacturing.
Cultural differences between American and Japanese markets have a great influence on the marketing in both countries. One of the interesting facts about the Japanese is that they share a high standard of quality in their products. Although Japan exports many inexpensive products, such as inexpensive electronics and toys, Japan imports high-quality, more costly goods than the United States does. The Japanese culture demands higher quality products than the American culture. “Americans seem to be able to conduct a trade-off between price and quality, and are willing to accept lower quality goods (discount stores, etc.) for a break in the price,” (Howard, 1999). This is very different from the Japanese consumer, who believes that the labor that goes into high-quality goods and services is the way in which a company can demonstrate to the customer that they are valued. Americans however, demand more variety, lower costs, and faster service. The Japanese desire for high quality, paired with the focus on manufacturing, is somewhat detrimental for Japanese marketing. Today’s business world is fast-paced and timing is essential. While American marketers are able to get their product out to the consumer almost as soon as a need is identified, Japanese marketing...