The Handbook of International Marketing Communications

Cheryl Dennis (School of Management and Business, Aberystwyth University)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 1 April 2000




Dennis, C. (2000), "The Handbook of International Marketing Communications", International Marketing Review, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 174-175.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited


The major objective of any international marketer is to communicate effectively with many, and varied, stakeholders in a multitude of marketplaces. Over the last 40 or so years, this objective has been employed in many international business and marketing books. The debate on standardization versus adaptation has led to organisations having to consider whether to ignore cultural differences and develop one overall campaign or, alternatively, choose to register and signal the importance of the national differences in an effort to provide a better cultural fit. However, when marketing communication becomes the main focus, the debate is further complicated since this is arguably the most difficult of the 4Ps in which to prescribe. Marketing communication can be split into a number of specific elements, each with their own emphasis and relative importance. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that The Handbook of International Marketing Communications aims to examine the main issues facing companies that want to compete successfully in the global marketplace.

The book is designed and written for a wide audience including academicians, executives, and students. Edited by Sylvester Monye, the book provides coverage of key facets and expresses them as a collection of, often stand‐alone, essays which vary greatly in scope and specificity.

Part 1: General overview: issues and concepts

Divided into two parts, the first section of the book examines the main marketing communication themes, such as cross‐cultural influences and the extent of global integration. This part, comprising five chapters, introduces the reader to the general principles and concepts, and provides a sound theoretical background. Chapter 1 is an introduction and overview from the editor while chapter 2, written by Michael Baker, defines the bases in marketing communication. The second half of this section (chapters 3‐5) considers the influence of culture and subculture on mainly international advertising campaigns. Particular attention is given to the continuing prominent influence of American culture on advertising, with Dag Bennett the author of chapter 4 referring to such terms as Disneyfication and McDonaldisation.

Part 2: Aspects of international marketing communication

Part 2 of the book contains 11 chapters, allowing individual elements of the communication mix to be explored in greater depth. This full coverage of the marketing communication mix includes chapters on previous neglected areas such sponsorship and direct marketing. Each chapter offers the reader a summary of the main issues regarding international business. By initially defining the area, and then further developing the debate, it has succeeded in adopting both an accessible and user‐friendly style.

A criticism that can be made of many texts dedicated to a specific field of study is that division of sections and chapters are not always done in what seems to be the most logical way. Many times there are underlying themes, such as in this case, culture and degrees of integration, which span the entire subject area but on the other hand need to be expanded upon in individual chapters. While Part 1 includes chapters on cross‐cultural and global advertising, the themes which are introduced here are revisited later on in Part 2. However, the overall equilibrium between the two parts does, in this instance, work very well and the revisiting only serves to reinforce ideas in different areas of the mix rather than simply reiterating.

In addition to providing a sound resource text, this book also provides an insight into the development of the subject through the ages, and the key influences upon it. However, this book is not written from a historic perspective as chapter 15 proves by presenting the advancement of the Internet and marketing communication in the twenty‐first century. Having said this, I believe this chapter would have been better placed right at the end of the book, and not in the penultimate position as it is currently.

The comprehensive and clear structure, together with its user‐friendly style, should ensure that this book will prove to be a useful publication for all those with an interest in the marketing communication field whether or not they are already familiar with the subject. It succeeds in providing a succinct, well written, yet well researched and referenced, resource manual.

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