International Marketing in a Globalized World. An Analysis of Italian Consumer Preferences

Bachelor Thesis, 2021

66 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of Contents

1 Introduction
1.1 Background
1.2 Problem Statement
1.3 Purpose

2 Marketing in a Globalized World
2.1 Marketing
2.2 Marketing Strategies
2.2.1 Global Standardization Strategy
2.2.2 Localization Strategy
2.2.3 Transnational Strategy
2.2.4 International Strategy
2.3 Globalization
2.3.1 Deglobalization and the Anti-globalization Movement
2.3.2 Theodore Levitt – The Globalization of Markets
2.4 Culture
2.5 Globalization and Marketing Strategies

3 Empirical Research
3.1 Methodology
3.2 Sampling
3.3 Results
3.4 Analysis

4 Findings and Discussion
4.1 Interpretation
4.2 Recommendations
4.3 Limitations

5 Conclusion and Outlook
5.1 Conclusion
5.2 Scientific Prospect

List of References

Appendix 1: Survey

Appendix 2: Raw Survey Data

Appendix 3: RStudio Data Evaluation



I would like to express my deepest gratitude to my supervisor, Prof. Markus Rometsch, for providing invaluable contributions and insightful feedback throughout the course of my thesis. I would also like to thank Prof. Astrid Friese and Mafalda Sandrini for the overwhelming assistance and Christoph Lieke for the statistical expertise and patient guidance.

Thank you, Mom, for always believing and supporting me. I would not be where I am right now without you. Thank you, Liam, for making me laugh every single day and always encouraging me to be the best version of myself. Thank you to my friends, we made it.

May this be just the beginning…


During the last decades, globalization has altered world economies, societies, and cultures, and thus created a new dynamic reality. Today, companies and managers are continuously faced with the standardization versus localization controversy, and even though numerous studies and theories have been published, including Theodore Levitt’s renowned “The Globalization of Markets”, to date, no solution has been reached. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine the influence of Italy’s representation in marketing campaigns and thus provide a framework for managers and marketers of international as well as Italian companies who wish to market and advertise their goods and services in Italy successfully. Following the analysis of existing literature, to test the hypotheses that the greater the representation of the Italian culture and values, the higher the purchase likeliness and positive feelings associated with a campaign, an online-based survey was employed. Subsequently, the collected responses were analyzed utilizing the Wilcoxon Signed Ranked Test and the Kruskal-Wallis Statistical Test. The tested hypotheses were statistically significant, and an increase in both purchase likeliness, as well as positive feelings, was registered in marketing campaigns portraying the Italian culture. The results suggest that marketers and firms that decide to represent the Italian culture in their marketing campaigns and advertising and hence implement a localization strategy are more likely to increase advertisement appreciation along with sales. Though, having Covid-19 altered world balances, it is recommended to repeat the analysis at a distance of one year. Also, further research is essential in order to evaluate the impact of price on Italians’ buying behavior, as it was not incorporated in the conducted study.


Globalization, International Marketing, Italian consumer preferences, Localization versus standardization, Theodore Levitt

List of Tables

Table 1: Sample Demographics Characteristics

Table 2: Responses to the Lay’s Video-advertisement

Table 3: Responses to the Audi Advertisements

Table 4: Responses to the Dolce & Gabbana Advertisements

List of Figures

Figure 1: Traditional Versus Modern Organization Chart (Kotler & Keller, 2012)

Figure 2: The Marketing Mix Four Ps (Kotler & Keller, 2012)

Figure 3: Adaptation of the Bartlett & Ghoshal Matrix (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 1989)

Figure 4: The “Onion Diagram” (Hofstede et al., 2010)

Figure 5: Dimensions of National Culture - Italy (Hofstede Insights Italy, 2020)

Figure 6: Responses “How often do you purchase goods and services from international companies?”

Figure 7: Responses “When shopping, does the representation of the Italian culture motivate you to buy a product(s)?”

Figure 8: Boxplot of the Campaign’s Purchase Likeliness

Figure 9: Boxplot of the Campaign’s Appreciation

Figure 10: Feelings Associated with the Advertisements

Figure 11: Boxplot of the Campaign’s Purchase Likeliness According to Age

1 Introduction

The chapter will provide insights into the background of the research area of the thesis and introduce the problem statement and the purpose of the study.

1.1 Background

“A German businessman may wear an Italian suit to meet an English friend at a Japanese restaurant, who later returns home to drink Russian vodka and watch a U.S. movie on a Korean TV” (Kotler & Keller, 2012, p. 595). Kotler and Keller were able to fully grasp today’s interconnectedness, and numerous people can most likely relate to the cited German businessman. The world is progressively interwinding. As affirmed by Deresky (2011): “managers in the twenty-first century are being challenged to operate in an increasingly complex, interdependent and dynamic global environment”. In 2012, more than $4 trillion foreign exchange transactions were made daily, $17.3 trillion of goods and $4.25 trillion of commercial services were sold across national borders (World Trade Organization, 2013). During the last years, these numbers have remarkably increased. In 2019, the world’s merchandise trade reached a total of $19 trillion, and the trade in commercial services amounted to $5.9 trillion (World Trade Organization, 2020).

This phenomenon of interrelatedness is defined as globalization, and its impact has been evident at the economic level, the social level, and the corporate level. In the latter, technological acceleration in transportation, shipping, and communication has facilitated companies’ operations and, consequently, consumers. Firms can easily market and sell their products and services worldwide, and consumers have the chance to purchase these from almost any country around the globe.

1.2 Problem Statement

During the past decades, globalization and global competition have been particularly critical factors for economies and businesses, which have triggered companies to expand their markets worldwide. Meanwhile, a considerable number of studies concerning strategies for global expansion and international marketing have been published.

Nevertheless, organizations and marketers are continuously confronted with the same challenges and queries. International expansion can lead to tremendous opportunities and may allow a firm to increase its profits, though it also increases the number of risks and competitors. Numerous firms have profited from the current conditions, yet many others are still struggling.

In 1983, Theodore Levitt published “The Globalization of Markets”. In the article, Levitt stated that the world’s tastes and preferences were increasingly converging and suggested that companies should sell identical products all over the world and adopt interchangeable marketing strategies (Levitt, 1983). Almost 40 years later, can Levitt’s article still be considered valid for companies expanding their businesses globally? And precisely in Italy?

This thesis’s main objective is to analyze the impact globalization has had on marketing worldwide, consider the existing marketing strategies that companies can adopt when competing internationally, and determine which strategy should be endorsed by companies that want to access and market goods in the Italian market. Therefore, the research questions have been defined as follows:

- In Italy, is the localization marketing strategy more effective than the global standardization strategy, i.e., does the localization strategy increase purchase likeliness more than the global standardization strategy?
- To what extent can Theodore Levitt’s article “The Globalization of Markets” be considered relevant and appropriate in Italy?

1.3 Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine the current global environment, especially with respect to globalization, marketing, and their interrelatedness. The research will increase Italy’s cultural understanding and expand the existing knowledge concerning Italians’ buying behavior in relation to the representation of the Italian culture in marketing activities. To carry out the empirical research, an online-based survey with experimental inserts was adopted. To analyze the marketing preferences and the buying behavior of Italian customers, the Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test and the Kruskal-Wallis Statistical Test were performed on the statistical tool RStudio. The Wilcoxon Signed Rank Test enabled the analysis of customer’s purchase likeliness and marketing campaign appreciation. On the other hand, the correlation between age and purchase likeliness, and age and campaign appreciation was evaluated with the Kruskal-Wallis Statistical Test.

The thesis is organized into five chapters. Following the introduction, marketing and the key marketing activities will be defined, and marketing’s evolution throughout the years will be considered. Then, the existing marketing strategies will be outlined, including the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy. Afterward, the concepts of globalization and deglobalization, as well as Theodore Levitt’s article “The Globalization of Markets” will be evaluated. Moreover, culture and, precisely, the Italian culture will shortly be examined. Following the review of the major terms, concepts, and theories, the selected methodology will thoroughly be elucidated. Also, the sample and results of the research will be analyzed. Finally, the recommendations and conclusion will be drawn, and the study’s limitations, along with the scientific prospect, will be summarized.

2 Marketing in a Globalized World

In this chapter, relevant terms, studies, and concepts regarding marketing, globalization, and culture will be discussed.

2.1 Marketing

The American Marketing Association (2017) has given the following definition to marketing: “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large”. According to Kotler and Keller (2012), marketers can market ten main typologies of entities to customers: goods—which cover the majority of most countries’ production and marketing efforts—services, events, experiences, persons, places, properties, organizations, information, and ideas. The primary customer markets are consumer markets, corporations selling to consumers; business markets, companies selling to other businesses; global markets, firms operating in international markets and adapting their product and service features, pricing and communication to each country and culture; and nonprofit and governmental markets, businesses selling to nonprofit and governmental institutions (Kotler & Keller, 2012).

The past two decades have been very challenging for firms as they had to succeed financially and simultaneously face the difficulties of the economic environment. In this climate, marketing played a crucial role since financial success frequently depends on marketing competencies. As declared by Kotler & Keller (2012): “Successful marketing builds demand for products and services, which, in turn, creates jobs [allowing] firms to more fully engage in socially responsible activities” (p.4). Marketing today is relatively complicated. Though, this has not always been the case. Perreault & McCarthy (2002) have identified five stages in the marketing evolution: (1) the simple trade era, (2) the production era, (3) the sales era, (4) the marketing department era, and (5) the marketing company era. During the simple trade era, families and individuals traded or sold their overstock to intermediaries or specialists which then resold the goods. Subsequently, in the production era—from the Industrial Revolution to the 1920s—companies produced a limited number of specific products. However, as competition increased, companies started focusing more and more on selling more significant amounts, which led to the sales era. Starting in the 1950s, the latter was replaced by the marketing department era, during which all marketing activities were controlled by one department with the goal to improve short-run planning. Since then, numerous corporations have transitioned to the marketing company era within which marketers develop short-run plans, long-run plans, and the corporation is directed by the marketing concept. Since Perreault and McCarthy’s book publication in 2002, two further stages have been identified: societal marketing and relationship marketing. The goal of societal marketing is to satisfy consumers and at the same time strive for the well-being of societies (Kotler, 1972). On the other hand, relationship marketing focuses on building long-term relationships and customer loyalty (White, 2010). In both stages, customers have become a crucial factor. Though, as clearly represented in figure 1, this has not always been the case. Traditionally, the president and top managers were allocated at the top of the organization chart. They decided on the course of a company. Over time the chart has been inverted, and today, customers are found at the top and alongside, whereas managers at the bottom (Kotler & Keller, 2012).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1: Traditional Versus Modern Organization Chart (Kotler & Keller, 2012)

Finally, Perreault & McCarthy (2002) classified marketing activities into four essential marketing-mix tools, which he names the four Ps: product, price, place, and promotion (figure 2). In the past years, four more Ps have been added: people, processes, programs, and performance.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 2: The Marketing Mix Four Ps (Kotler & Keller, 2012)

2.2 Marketing Strategies

A global firm’s main feature is that it “operates in more than one country and captures research and development (R&D), production, logistics, marketing, and financial advantages not available to purely domestic competitors” (Kotler & Keller, 2012, p.596).

Hollensen (2007) has classified the reasons why companies decide to expand internationally into proactive—actively seeking opportunities and strategy change— and reactive—reactions to market threats. The primary proactive motives are profit and growth goals, foreign market opportunities, technology competence, managerial urge, economies of scale, and tax benefits. On the other hand, the primary reactive reasons are competitive pressures, small and saturated domestic markets, proximity to international customers, and overproduction or excess capacity. After deciding to go abroad, which markets to enter, and how to enter each market, firms need to select a marketing program and a marketing organization. Competing in international markets offers numerous opportunities, though the number of risks progressively increases too. As stated by Sirkin, Hemerling & Bhattacharya (2008), companies today find themselves “competing with everyone from everywhere for everything”. Therefore, when evaluating potential strategies, it is essential to consider the advantages as well as the disadvantages of each strategic alternative. Hill (2014) developed the following strategies for international companies: the global standardization strategy, the localization strategy, the transnational strategy, and the international strategy. Often, another framework that is adopted is the Bartlett and Ghoshal Matrix. Barlett & Ghoshal (1989) clustered organizations based on two criteria: global integration and local responsiveness (figure 3).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 3: Adaptation of the Bartlett and Ghoshal Matrix (Bartlett & Ghoshal, 1989)

2.2.1 Global Standardization Strategy

The global standardization strategy focuses on the pursuit of a low-cost strategy on a global scale. Therefore, the focus is on profit growth and increasing profitability through cost reductions deriving from economies of scale, learning effects, and location economies. Companies pursuing a global standardization strategy do not customize their product offering and marketing strategy to local requirements. Customization generally increases costs; hence companies market products in a standardized manner throughout the world to maximize learning effects and economies of scale, and the related benefits. The global standardization strategy is best enforced when the pressure for cost reductions is intense and the demand for local responsiveness low. Contrarily, the strategy is unsuitable when the demand for local responsiveness is high (Hill, 2014).

2.2.2 Localization Strategy

The strategic goal of companies pursuing a localization strategy is increasing profitability through the customization of goods and services according to the tastes and preferences of markets. The strategy should be adopted in countries that present considerable dissimilarities in preferences and in which cost pressures are low or inexistent. A disadvantage of the localization strategy consists in duplicating functions and in smaller production runs. Furthermore, customization limits the cost reduction benefits correlated with the mass production of standardized and globally consumed goods. However, a localization strategy should be adopted if the added value of local customization determines higher pricing—and thus higher profit or recoup of costs—as well as a higher

local demand (Hill, 2014).

2.2.3 Transnational Strategy

The transnational strategy is pursued when both cost pressures and local responsiveness are high. Bartlett and Ghoshal (1989) affirmed that firms pursuing a transnational strategy should achieve cost reductions through location economies, economies of scale, and learning effects while trading internationally, exchanging core competencies and skills throughout the company, and contemporarily noticing demand for local responsiveness. Hill (2014) argues that “as attractive as this may sound in theory, the strategy is not an easy one to pursue since it places conflicting demands on the company” (p.399). As previously described, customization and local adaptation increase costs, which contradicts the objective of cost reduction.

2.2.4 International Strategy

Most of the time, the international strategy is adopted when companies face low-cost pressures and reduced demand for local responsiveness. The strategy consists of selling products initially designed by firms for their domestic market, internationally with only essential local customization and adaptation. These products typically serve universal needs but are not confronted by competitors. Hence, firms are not pressured to reduce costs. Hill (2014) provided the example of Xerox, the company which invented the photocopier in the 1960s and whose technology was protected by patents for numerous years. In this way, the company could sell the unaltered product worldwide and charge high prices. Usually, companies that adopt an international strategy centralize product development departments, such as R&D, in their home country and set up manufacturing and marketing operations in every leading country or major geographic region. This process can lead to an increase or duplication of costs. However, as companies face low-cost pressures, this factor does not represent a significant constraint or issue (Hill, 2014).

2.3 Globalization

The global system in which we live today is, on the one hand, extremely old and, on the other very modern. The term globalization is defined as “global competition characterized by networks of international linkages that bind countries, institutions, and people in an interdependent global economy” (Deresky, 2011). The following definition instead was given by Zakaria (2020): “the increasing movement of people, goods, and capital” (p.182). If the latter definition is considered, it can be affirmed that globalization began between 60,000 and 90,000 years ago when humans undertook the first migrations (Zakaria, 2020). Trade, exchange, and migrations have, in fact, always been an engine of human history (Horx, 2020). According to O’Rourke and Williamson (2002), the beginning of modern globalization can be dated back to 1492 and 1498, respectively, the year of Columbus’ discovery of the Americas and Vasco da Gama’s sighting of a new route to Asia. This is because both occurrences reached new consumers and new producers and hence broadened the global economy. Following these events, the collapse of the transportation price between the eighteenth and nineteenth century then generated the so-called first “big bang” of globalization. On the other hand, the second “big bang” took place in the past years with the drop in the cost of communication and the consequent rise of fast Internet connections (O’Rourke & Williamson, 2002). These technological advances contributed to the expansion of communications, which meant that the world became more connected and, as described by Friedman (2006), “flat”. Ghemawat (2007) defines the current state of the world as “semiglobalized”. His statement is based on the fact that “most types of economic activity that can be conducted either within or across borders are still quite localized by country”. He also believes that “a semiglobalized perspective helps companies resist a variety of delusions derived from visions of the globalization apocalypse: growth fever, the norm of enormity, statelessness, ubiquity, and one-size-fits-all. Semiglobalization is what offers room for cross-border strategy to have content distinct from single-country strategy” (Ghemawat, 2007).

In April 2020, as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, the World Trade Organization predicted a 32% drop in trade (World Trade Organization, 2020). Nevertheless, Tooze (2020) stated that Covid-19 would have simply generated a “perfect disruptive storm”. In fact, as of October 2020, in a subsequent press release, the World Trade Organization forecasted a decline of just 9.2% in trade (World Trade Organization, 2020). Albeit the pandemic consequences have not been as unfortunate as predicted, Covid-19 has amplified the weaknesses of the current global economy and its interconnectedness. According to Farrell & Newman (2020), “the current model of globalization is unsustainable” (para. 20), and there currently is the necessity of establishing a system that prioritizes people’s safety, health, prosperity, and security. Karabell (2020) affirmed that in the years following the pandemic, a re-nationalization of some industries will take place but, he states, “when this crisis passes, we are likely to find fresh confirmation of what we already know about globalization: that it’s easy to hate, convenient to target and impossible to stop” (para. 3). Likewise, Horx (2020) assumes that following the pandemic, globalization will not cease to exist. Instead, the next phase of globalization will begin: the “glocalization” phase, in which regionalization and localization will be decisive trends. Neither of these constellations is unfamiliar. During the past decades, the number of existing regional groupings, such as the European Union (EU), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), has increased and altered the world’s markets (Tedlow & Abdelal, 2003). Overall, it can be stated that markets continuously evolve, and the world’s evolution process will never come to an end. As affirmed by Tedlow & Abdelal (2003): “Globalization is transformative” (p.28).

2.3.1 Deglobalization and the Anti-globalization Movement

As the world is living a globalization of economics, information, and to a certain extent even culture, political power remains deeply connected to the nation-state. More and more countries want to get recognized and respected. Consequently, as cross-country exchanges and economies rise, so does nationalism (Zakaria, 2012). Brzezinski (2008) has coined the term “global political awakening” and describes it in the following manner: “For the first time in history almost all of humanity is politically activated, politically conscious and politically interactive. Global activism is generating a surge in the quest for cultural respect and economic opportunity”, he wrote (para. 4). All around the world, nationalism and protectionism tendencies are incrementing. Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Indians to be “vocal for local” by promoting and buying Made in India (Ray, 2020) and the French president Emmanuel Macron announced that achieving technological, digital, industrial and agricultural “independence of France” would be his post-pandemic objective (Macron, 2020). These are only a few examples of existing tendencies around the globe. However, these nationalism practices are not new. More than 30 years ago, it had already been observed that economic nationalism represents a barrier to the globalization of markets and that it has a powerful persistence (Levitt, 1983).

The year 1999 marked the beginning of the anti-globalization movement. That year, in December, more than 40,000 protesters gathered in the “Battle of Seattle” to demonstrate against the World Trade Organization, and more precisely, against job losses in industries hit by foreign competitors, environmental degradation, and the cultural imperialism of global media and multinational companies (Hill, 2014). According to the protesters, all of these issues had been the effect of globalization. Since 1999, numerous demonstrations against globalization have taken place worldwide, from Hamburg to London to Toronto (Fuchs & Diehn, 2017). The term anti-globalization has been defined as misleading by the Britannica Encyclopedia as the movement is not entirely “defensive and reactive but rather a proactive movement for global democracy and global justice” (Fuchs, 2015). Therefore, it can be defined as a “movement for an alternative globalization or movement for democratic globalization” (Fuchs, 2015).

Globalization has radically transformed societies and economies, generating both winners and losers. Its collapse has been predicted numerous times; yet, despite the 1999 Battle of Seattle, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the 2008 financial crisis, and the surge of nationalism worldwide, globalization still is an integral part of societies.

2.3.2 Theodore Levitt – The Globalization of Markets

In 1983, Theodore Levitt published the article “The Globalization of Markets” in the Harvard Business Review. At the time, global business and doing business across national borders were common topics among academic studies. Nevertheless, as Levitt’s article addressed business managers and covered new topics, it immediately became an essential reading not only for academics but also for managers and leaders (Tedlow & Abdelal, 2003).

One of the first subjects addressed by Levitt is technology. According to Levitt (1983), technology has “proletarianized” communication, transport, and travel and thus introduced “a new commercial reality—the emergence of global markets for standardized consumer products on a previously unimagined scale of magnitude” (p.2). Thus, Levitt (1983) suggests that in order to achieve long-term success, global companies should focus on “what everyone wants rather than worrying about the details of what everyone thinks they might like” (p.1). Precisely, Levitt affirms that multinational corporations were dissipating, and only global corporations, which do not serve local preferences, would have survived in the future business scenario. “The world’s needs and desires have been irrevocably homogenized. This makes the multinational corporation obsolete and the global corporation absolute” he affirms (Levitt, 1983, p.4). Therefore, the suggested approach for companies is the development of standard brands with universal marketing and advertising strategies. According to Levitt (1983), the main driver of the standardization of products and processes is price. He believes that well-managed companies do not concentrate their efforts on goods’ customization but rather on providing advanced, functional, reliable, and especially low-priced products and services. Business success is determined by higher efficiency in management, production, distribution, and marketing, which is strongly linked with price. Levitt was aware of the importance of prices as a purchase driver and stated that “if the price is low enough, they [people] will take highly standardized world products, even if these aren’t exactly what one’s parents said was suitable, what immemorial custom decreed was right, or what market-research fabulists asserted was preferred” (pp.9-10). Furthermore, as stated by Levitt (1983), one of the greatest mistakes which companies make is to “falsely presume that marketing means giving customers what they say they want rather than trying to understand exactly what they would like” (p.11). Therefore, in order to succeed, Levitt suggests that companies deeply analyze the reasons which motivate people to buy certain products, i.e., what they want from life, instead of asking what features they would like in a product or service.

Finally, according to Levitt (1983), the two vectors which will continuously shape the world are technology and globalization. Technology helps determine human preferences and globalization, on the other hand, economic realities. Levitt (1983) believes that with time these vectors will gradually converge and shape markets characterized by economies of scale, in which high-quality, standardized goods at low prices will be offered. Levitt viewed globalization as an increased economic exchange across borders, which contemporarily transforms the societies engaged in this exchange. He was able to predict the power of globalization but also overestimated it (Tedlow & Abdelal, 2003). Although during the past 30 years the world did not become fully homogenized, the article remains incredibly relevant as it represents evidence of the evolution of globalization as well as a framework for present and future managers. As noted by Levitt (1983), because of existing differences in capabilities, histories, reputations, resources, and cultures, there is no one formula that companies or countries can follow in order to succeed, and on the other hand, “preferences are constantly shaped and reshaped” (p.25). Thus, “the market is not what firms find; the market is what firms make of it” (Tedlow & Abdelal, 2003, p.28).

2.4 Culture

Among the most significant and most common challenges a company encounters during an international expansion is managing diverse national cultures. Over the past years, numerous theories about the rise of a global culture have evolved. Kotler & Keller (2012) have underlined the convergence of consumer needs and preferences and the consequent creation of global markets. However, they also stated that “consumers still vary across markets in significant ways” (p.606). As affirmed by Hill (2014): “significant national differences remain in culture, consumer preferences, and business practices. A firm that ignores differences between countries does so at its peril” (p.14).

One of the first definitions of the term “culture”, which is still widely used, was given by Tylor (1871) and reads: “Culture or Civilization, taken in its wide ethnographic sense, is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society” (Tylor, 1871, p.1). Beginning approximately 500,000 years ago, with the appearance of Homo sapiens, the world’s population started diversifying in genes, languages, and cultures. Among these, culture diversification operates the quickest, taking between 500 and 5,000 years (Hofstede, 2001). Culture is not innate and, as previously described, evolves over time in response to the environment surrounding individuals, which includes social structure, language, education, religion, political philosophy, and economic philosophy (Hill, 2014). Numerous are the manners in which cultural differences manifest themselves. In order to represent these differences, the “Onion Diagram”, represented in Figure 4, was developed by Geert Hofstede.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 4: The “Onion Diagram” (Hofstede, Hofstede, & Minkov, 2010).

Symbols represent words, gestures, pictures, and objects which are recognized only by the members of a specific culture. Heroes are highly valued alive, dead, real, or imaginary people whose behavior serves as a culture model. Rituals serve as technically superfluous activities, which in culture are considered socially essential. Symbols, heroes, and rituals are incorporated within practices and are also visible to external observers. Though, their cultural meaning is invisible and depends on the way insiders interpret the practices. Values instead are considered the core of culture and represent its tendency to favor particular states of affairs over others (Hofstede et al., 2010)

Huntington (1997) stated that “civilizations1 are the biggest “we” within which we feel culturally at home as distinguished from all the other “thems” out there” (p.43). Consequently, as Rapaille (2006) observed, when companies expand internationally, they must adapt to the existing culture. To provide an overview of the Italian culture, the Hofstede dimensions of national culture2 have been adopted. Even though the study was performed between 1967 and 1973, the data is still valid today (De Mooij & Hofstede, 2010), and it presents an excellent overview of cultural differences and attributes of countries. Figure 5 represents the dimensions of national culture in Italy.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 5: Dimensions of National Culture - Italy (Hofstede Insights Italy, 2020)

Firstly, in Italy, the Power Distance score of 50 indicates that equality and decentralization of power and decision-making are favored. In Southern Italy, the Power Distance dimension is even higher. At 76, the Individualism score in Italy is relatively high. This means that the country has a “me” centered society, especially in the North. Concerning Masculinity, Italy’s score is 70. The score indicates that Italy is highly success-oriented and competition-driven. The Uncertainty Avoidance score in Italy is rather high—75. This signifies that Italians are uncomfortable in ambiguous situations, i.e., formality and bureaucracy are essential. As both Masculinity and Uncertainty Avoidance reach high values, life can become demanding and stressful. Therefore, in order to ease tensions, Italians need fun and relaxing occasions in everyday life. The Long-Term Orientation score of 61 indicates a pragmatic culture in which individuals consider that truth depends on the context and time. Finally, with a score of 30, the Indulgence score conveys restraint and, therefore, low emphasis on leisure time and gratification of desires (Hofstede Insights Italy, 2020).

2.5 Globalization and Marketing Strategies

Globalization and the Information Revolution, today’s two dominant economic trends, have reshaped societies. Not only has the globalization of economies fostered borderless cooperation and trade, through the technological advancement of transport, digital communication, and information, nearly everything has been made accessible worldwide and instantly (Gaggi, 2020). As of 2018, more than 5,5 million students live abroad (UNESCO, 2018), and as of 2019, the number of international migrants reached 272 million (United Nations, 2019), and international tourist arrivals reached 1,5 billion (UN World Tourism Organization, 2020). Mass movements between countries have reduced the cultural distance between people and resulted in a gradual convergence in consumer tastes and preferences, known as the convergence hypothesis. Though substantial differences in culture, consumer preferences, and business practices still subsist, and a few countries are even attempting to spotlight their cultural roots and uniqueness (Hill, 2014).


1 Huntington (1997) claimed that “civilization and culture both refer to the overall way of life of a people, and a civilization is a culture writ large” (p.41).

2 The Hofstede model of national culture was developed by Geert Hofstede and is based on research performed on more than 116,000 people in over 70 countries. The identified six cultural dimensions are: power distance, individualism versus collectivism, masculinity versus femininity, uncertainty avoidance, long term orientation versus short term normative orientation, and indulgence versus restraint (Hofstede Insights, 2020).

Excerpt out of 66 pages


International Marketing in a Globalized World. An Analysis of Italian Consumer Preferences
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
international, marketing, globalized, world, analysis, italian, consumer, preferences
Quote paper
Francesca Bradaschia (Author), 2021, International Marketing in a Globalized World. An Analysis of Italian Consumer Preferences, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Look inside the ebook
Title: International Marketing in a Globalized World. An Analysis of Italian Consumer Preferences

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free