Globalization has levelled the playing field for the business world to some extent. World is virtually flat and business today thinks in terms of global audience, markets and products. The ways businesses function and operate has undergone a complete makeover. New products and services have been developed which would have been unimaginable a few decades ago. While some products have had a major influence on the way we live, others have been a mere creation of marketers for achieving financial gains. Some products deliver no benefits to the consumers or the society but have been commercially successful due to the intelligent use of branding and marketing. To some extent, globalization can also be credited for the success of these products. One such product is bottled water; its consumption has been consistently growing and, as a result, the industry is expanding at a great pace. Case study “Bottled water – a pure or guilty pleasure?” has tried to address this issue with respect to the bottled water industry; this paper is a critical analysis of the case study.
Globalisation and Marketing
Marketing – A Universal Discipline?
Globalization has brought down the barriers between economies and markets, and has created a truly global market place. Businesses today are building products and services that cater to a global audience. Marketing is one aspect of the business which needs a more focused and targeted approach than a universal one. Even though marketing is a universal discipline, marketing practices must vary from country to country. The customers, available media, channels of distribution, competitors, etc are different in different countries. Therefore, it is very essential for a company to adapt to different countries and markets by changing the market plan (Keegan, 2002, 31). Failure to design marketing strategy to adapt to different market conditions could be disastrous for a company. This was clearly evident in the case of Coco-Cola’s Dasani. Dasani (bottled water) was a successful product in the US designed and marketed to the US consumers. Coco-Cola tried to replicate this success in the European market but failed miserably. Even though there are other reasons for the failure, one of the reasons was that the company failed to redesign its marketing and positioning strategy. It was not able to connect with target audience. This, coupled with other reasons, forced Coco-Cola to withdraw the product within a few weeks of the launch. Hence, it is vital for a company to market and position its products and services differently to each market rather than adapting a universal approach. Marketing Objective – Profits or Stakeholder Benefits There has been a revolutionary shift in strategic concept of marketing since the 90s where the primary objective has shifted from profit to stakeholder benefit. The primary objective of marketing has now shifted from generating profits to creating value and benefits for the stakeholder. Profits are now seen as rewards for satisfying the needs of the customers in an acceptable and socially responsible way. Therefore, in order to effectively compete in the global markets, companies must focus on innovation and developing products of great quality, and the marketing focus should be on creating value for the stakeholders (Keegan, 2002, 29). The above concept of creating stakeholder benefit is being lost in some industries, like the bottled water industry. Profits have become the primary drivers, and stakeholder benefit is being ignored. On closely observing the bottled water industry, it is evident that the need for the product is a creation of the marketers and false claims have been made about the benefits to consumers. It has been shown that there isn’t much difference between bottled water and tap water. The whole industry is an attempt by the companies to generate profits rather than creating stakeholder benefits. Marketing is used to create needs rather the fulfilling them (in Morgan, 2003,