This column reports on the March meeting on trade policy and international marketing, a collaboration between the American Marketing Association, Georgetown University and the U.S. International Trade Administration. Like many other human activities, but perhaps more so, this meeting was designed to let fresh air into our mature structures, to understand what markets, customers and suppliers need, and to appreciate the interconnectedness. No more silos!
Why is international marketing of great importance? For one, the opportunities are there: 95% of the world’s population lives outside of the United States. We are facing a tipping point for emergent and growing demand from all of these people, and we need to compete for interest and purchases.
International marketing also represents a strong footstool with three legs—policy, business and academia—and our meeting addressed them simultaneously. We further reinforced these three legs by looking at issues from 17 country views. If you consider the issue of computer security from a U.S. and from a Chinese perspective, different viewpoints will emerge quite quickly. This tells us that unless we communicate and understand each other’s perspectives, there is little chance of making progress.
When Michael served in the U.S. Department of Commerce during the Reagan and Bush administrations, responsible for trade information and analysis, he organized a first global meeting on trade policy and export promotion. The meeting was held in 1988 in the Commerce Department and had a very good impact both in the U.S. and abroad. Different countries were using different approaches in their encouragement of exports and we had the specific experts here who could explain why they did things their way. After the meeting, many of us in trade policy and international marketing had developed or linked into entirely new networks and the book that we produced on export assistance is still selling the occasional copy.