What is cross cultural marketing?



Cross cultural marketing is a marketing done with two or more different cultures i.e. it is done internationally on a personal level, which means when planning marketing campaigns and media cultural differences are taken into consideration, understanding the need for maintaining the balance between Globalization and Localization and last but not the least Implementation of the strategies that are required to respect the differences while unifying of brand messages are taken into consideration. Cross Cultural Marketing is a research that takes place across the cultural groups or nations. Due to Globalization and International marketing, Cross Cultural Marketing has become very important. The nature of the Research is also becoming highly diverse. According to International view, to determine the degrees of adaption, competitive advantage and attractiveness of the markets the information of marked is used.


Greet Hofstede’s Cultural Theory has described National Cultures. This research was firstly conducted between 64 countries to identify the national culture differences across subsidiaries of multinational firms (IBM). There were many other research conducted such as: elites of 19 countries, studies of students of 23 countries, up-market consumers of 15 countries and commercial airline pilots in 23 countries. All the above studies together identified four cultural dimensions and the fifth one was added later on. The nature of all the managerial skills depends specifically on their culture. It is not necessary that a management philosophy or technique is going to be same as another. Culture is said to be a conflict source rather than synergy and cultural difference can be disastrous and often nuisance at its best level. There are Five Cultural Dimensions in Hofstede Cultural Dimensions, they are:

  • Power Distance Index(PDI)
  • Individualism(IDV)
  • Masculinity(MAS)
  • Uncertainty Avoidance Index(UAI)
  • Long Term Orientation(LTO)

1) Power Distance Index: It is an extent to which the members who are less powerful in the organisation think that the distributions of the power amongst them are unequal. It defines inequality but it is defined from below and not from above (more vs. less). It says that the level of inequality in society is advised by the followers as much as by the leaders. The power on Inequality are of course includes in the extremely facts of any society. The awareness of societal inequality is there in anybody having some International experience, but some of them are more unequal than others.

2) Individualism: Individualism is a degree in which ‘Individualism’ is on one side vs. the opposite side ‘collectivism’; on the individualistic side individual are collected into groups and we can find the societies in which the co operation between the individuals are loose, everyone is for himself/herself and his/her family. On the other hand Collectivism, we can find the societies in which Individuals are in groups but having great co operation amongst them, these families include grandparents, uncles and aunties, which protect them in exchanging unquestioning loyalties. This dimension is addressed to all the societies of the world and is extremely fundamental.

3) Masculinity: Masculinity has femininity on its opposite side (Masculinity vs. Femininity). Another fundamental issue on any society in the world is the distribution of roles between the genders of the society. According to IBM studies, the value of men’s differing more than the value of woman’s in the society. The value of men’s from one country to another containing the dimensions are assertive, competitive and maximal to the value of the women’ on one side to modest, caring and similar to the value of women’s on the other hand. The assertive pole is said to be ‘Masculine’. There is a gap between the men’s value and women’s value in masculine countries as they are competitive and assertive.

4) Uncertainty Avoidance Index: The societies of Uncertainity and ambiguity are tolerated by the ‘Uncertainty avoidance index’. It refers to the search of truth by man’s. It refers till what extent a culture program is comfortable or uncomfortable to its member in a situation which is unstructured such as surprising, novel and unusual. In the countries avoiding uncertainty peoples are emotional and inner nervous energy motivate them a lot. Countries avoiding uncertainty minimises such situation by applying strict rules and laws, safety and security measures and the opposite countries accepting uncertainty have few rules and are relativist on religious and philosophical level, and avoid their environment to accept emotion.

5) Long term orientation: It has Short term orientation on its opposite side, in this dimention the students of 23 countries were taken into consideration and a study was been done by way of questionnaire framed by Chinese scholar. It was not on the basis of truth. In Long term orientation the values are on the basis of frugality steadfastness and in short term orientation there was traditional respect, fulfilling social obligations. The techniques of Confucius found both the negative and positive v alues of the dimensions. This dimention is also applied on the country without a Confucian heritage.

Those who are engaged in International Business, Sometimes it is amazing to know how different peoples behave in other cultures. We Human tend to have a feeling that all the peoples are same, but it is not like that. Therefore if somebody goes to some other country to make decisions and is going to make decisions same like he used to take in his own country, then it is sure that he is going to take some very bad decisions. Hofstede’s research gives us some knowledge about other cultures so that if we are going to some other country, we should be more effective  interacting with peoples in that country. If the information of Hofstede’s research is applied properly than it should reduce the level of anxiety, concern and frustration. Most importantly this theory will give an Understanding edge which results to more successful results.

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Apart from all this there are several drawbacks of applying Hofstede’s Theory they are:

Firstly the individuals of a country are not related to the averages of that country. Even if this model of theory is said to be correct when it is applied to a general population, one has to be aware that all the regions or even individual will not fit in the mould. It can be used as a reference guide to understand the cultural difference of different countries, but not as a law, as it is known that there are always some exceptions to any rule.

Secondly, what is the accuracy of the data? The data is collected by the form of Questionnaires and it has its own limitations. In some cultures the content of the questions asked are more important than the context of the questions asked. If the group oriented cultures are taken into considerations than the individual might can answer as if it is addressed to the group in which he or she is.

And Thirdly Are the data that has been collected is up to date? As there are many internal and external factors by which the culture of the country change over times.


Trompenaars theory was invented by a Dutch author named ‘FONS TROMPENAARS’. This model was invented to explain the national cultural differences in the organisation and to show that it is a major challenge for international managers to manage this differences in this incongruous world. Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner took ten years to  gather data. Over 15000 managers in 28 countries were sent the questionnaire and 500 usable response was received per country. This helped them to differentiate national cultures. They introduced seven cultural dimensions, they are:

  • Universalism vs. Pluralism
  • Individualism vs. Communitarisnism
  • Specific vs. defuse
  • Affectivity vs. Neutrality
  • Inner direct and outer direct
  • Achieved status vs. Ascribed status
  • Sequential time vs. synchronic time
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1) Universalism vs. Particularism: This is based on the question “Rules are more important or relationships”? A culture assigns the degree of importance either to personal relations or to the law. In universalism peoples think that values, standards and general rules are based on the needs of friends and other relationships and in Particularism friendships and other relations are the terms people think as culture and the rules are on the basis of how peoples are related to each other.

2) Individualism vs. Communitarianism: It is based on the question that “functions that are done by us are on the basis of groups or Individuals”? This means that the peoples are functioning more as individually or in community. In Individualism, Individual are placed in front of community by the peoples and people think that if the individual is happy or fulfilled then they are happy and fulfilled and they themselves take care of their own. In Communitarianism community is placed in front of Individual, hense it is the responsibility of the individual to act in such a way that serve the society.

3) Specific vs. defuse: It is based on a question that “how far we get involved”? It shows that the responsibility is assigned specifically or accepted defusely. The elements are analysed individually first and then put together in Specific culture and accordingly the lives of the peoples are divided. People concentrates on hard facts, contracts and standards and in Defuse culture all individual elements are related to each other. The Individual elements are given less importance than the relationships between the elements.

4) Affectivity vs. Neutrality: is based on “Are we displaying our emotions”? In Affectivity people don’t feels to hide their feelings, they prefer to show their emotions and on the other side peoples don’t posses to show their feelings and they controls their emotions.

5) Inner direct and outer direct: It is based on “Are we controlling our environment or we are working with it”? This is a degree in which Individual beleaves that they can control the environment or environment is controlling them. In Inner Direct culture peoples believe that Human can control nature if he/she makes an effort to do that even if it is complex. In Outer direct culture peoples believe to live in Harmony with nature as they have an organic view of nature.

6) Achieved status vs. Ascribed status: It is a degree in which Individuals have to prove themselves to achieve status or it is automatically achieved. Peoples in Achieved status culture believe that they have to accomplish something to get their status and in Ascribed Status culture, peoples believe that they have their status from their birth, gender, wealth or age.

7) Sequential time vs. synchronic time: It is a degree with Individual think in one at a time vs. Individual thinking several things at a time. In a sequential culture people think that time is sequential and the do one thing at a time and in Synchronic culture peoples believe that time is flexible and do several things at a time.



Of the seven dimensions of Trompenaars Theory two dimentions of Hofstede Theory are closely reflected. Firstly Trompenaars Communitarianism vs. Individualism value orientation seems to be closely identical to the Individualism value orientation of Hofstede theory and secondly Trompenaars Achieved status vs. Ascribed status appears to be linked with Hofstede’s Power Distance Index, If one accepts that Nature has done compromise with Status and not achievement than it shows that it has more willingness to accept power distance. This does not completely matches as Hofstede’s power index in not dealing only on how according of status is been done but also how power distance is accorded within the society which is not at all covered by Trompenaars Theory.

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Trompenaars other dimentions such as Affectivityvs. Neutrality which says that feelings are expressed openly can be compared with Hofstede’s Masculinity dimension as it focuses highly on some effects of value dimensions as Trompenaars dimension is not a value aspects but behavioural aspect in itself. The Universalism vs. Particularism which does not trust relationships and is preferring roles can determine meaning as a part of Hofstede’s Uncertainty Avoidance Index on one hand and Individualism on the other hand.

The Specific vs. defuse dimention of Trompenaars Theory cannot be compared to Hopsteade’s Theory as there are no links between them.


According to an examination that was done and several countries of the world were taking into consideration, It explains that according to both Hofstede’s and Trompenaars Theory  the countries like Japan and India are relatively weaker, while UK, USA and Denmark are relatively Egocentric. There are several other countries such as Greece, Spain and Maxico which are more Egostical according to Trompenaars than Hofstede’s theory and the differences cannot be explained wholly. According to Hodgetts and Luthans(2000) they feels that the differences can be due to differ in time frames of both the studies which indicates that change of culture has taken place. On the other hand it indicates that Hofstede’s theory is becoming out-dated. Let us take an example of Mexico, its consolidation into Global Economy may be moving away from communitarian value. Cultures does not remains same, they changes as time changes. It is not like today’s characterization would be same as it was in 1960’s or 70’s. The interesting point to note is that the countries such as Hungary and Russia are relatively egoistic despite of their communist past. Trompenaars also extended his research by examine the different cultures according to their nationalities, for this he introduced a new dimension: equality vs. hierarchy, in Hierarchy culture the leader has full authority and is having the best knowledge, this dimension is related with Power Distance dimension of Hofstede’s theory. There are some more similarities in both the theories such as: UK and North America are relatively egoistic according to  Trompenaars theory and are relatively low according to the power distance dimension of Hofstede’s theory. The countries such as Spain and France are said to be less egalitarian and high in power distance dimension on Hofstede’s theory. According to Trompenaars German Culture is hierarchical, but Hofstede says that Germany is relatively low according to power distance.

These were some of the countries classified by both the theories according to their respective consistency.



Indians believe that they are controlled by the environment, so they strongly accept this point, They are concerned how application of ideas and practices should be done. People in India believe that they are a part of a group, as it is a multicultural country; Indians have respect for their religion and are strongly into family values and traditions. Indians displays their affection neutrally, but they shows assertiveness which is allowed to them. They are always non-violent that is what is thought to them from starting. The size of both Public and Private Spaces are same. The people of India Takes care of their Public spaces as entry to their Public spaces can make entries to their private spaces. Most of the Indians are value ascriptions as they believe in their caste system. Their status title depends on their professional titles, their degrees and age. Friendship is given more importance.

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