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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: International Marketing Review, Volume 30, Issue 1.
Welcome to the first issue of 2013. This marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of International Marketing Review (IMR), and to mark this special date in our history, we took the unusual decision of inviting papers for this issue.
We have had another excellent year at IMR, and are delighted that our readership, downloads, and impact factor (reaching 1.177 in June 2012) all continue to improve. In 2012, IMR again sponsored best paper prizes at key international conferences in marketing and international business:
Best Paper in International Marketing – Academy of International Business (AIB).
Best Paper in International Marketing – European International Business Academy (EIBA).
Best Paper with an International Focus – Australia and New Zealand Marketing Academy Conference (ANZMAC).
We also expanded our plans for AIB and EMAC by hosting meetings for our Editorial Board at both conferences and were delighted to hear ideas as to how IMR can best develop and progress into its next 30 years.
Regular readers of IMR will know that we have always adopted a purposefully broad definition of international marketing. Indeed, Malhotra et al.'s (2013) paper included in this issue – about which more later – lists 30 topics within International Marketing from Account Management to Strategic Marketing via such issues as country of origin, ethics, market entry and all aspects of marketing management. We asked a number of authors to write on a subject that they feel strongly about within the field of international marketing and are delighted that, among the authors who accepted our invitation to contribute, we have, in addition to the paper by Malhotra et al., a diverse range of papers from David Griffith (with Jessica Hoppner), Jean-Claude Usunier, and Shintaro Okazaki and Charles (Ray) Taylor. These papers adopt as a whole both theoretical concerns and empirical findings and differing methodologies to address new issues in the international marketing field.
Our first paper by Malhotra et al. provides an updated analysis of research published in IMR since its inception. The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, the authors update a previous review (Malhotra et al., 2005) on the scholarly work published in IMR in its first 21 years, in the areas of journal output, content, and authorship analyses, helping to reveal how IMR has evolved, identifying emerging themes in international marketing theory and practice, and informing knowledge development efforts. The second purpose is to strengthen the previous review by adding analyses focussing on research design and methodological issues, incorporating a methods analysis that provides additional insights and future directions for IMR. In terms of content, of the 30 topics identified, export marketing is ranked first by number of outputs, although this has declined as a topic of interest in more recent years. Global marketing comes next, although again this has declined in recent years, followed by advertising and promotion, country of origin, cross-cultural studies, distribution, marketing research, and strategic marketing. Research on both consumer behavior and branding has undergone the fastest growth. IMR authors use a mix of data collection methods and samples. Survey (including mail and administered survey) has been the number one data collection instrument, followed at some distance by case study. However, the use of qualitative methods has been growing in recent years.
In our second paper, Griffith and Hoppner write on the importance of global marketing managers and of the soft skills that are needed for effective decision making. Although a great deal of research has focussed on global marketing strategy development and implementation, little research has focussed on the global marketing managers charged with the responsibilities of developing and implementing such strategy. This paper proposes a model that identifies a set of soft skills that have the ability to increase the effectiveness of global marketing managers in making the tactical adaptations necessary to develop and implement global marketing strategy in an increasingly complex and dynamic marketplace. The model developed theorizes that the ability of global marketing managers to make tactical adaptations to the firm's global marketing strategy (and thus enhance performance) is driven by the soft skills of tacit knowledge, experience, learning, unlearning, intuition, self-confidence, flexibility, prioritization of problems, working under pressure, and ambiguity tolerance. As such, this study provides for a better understanding of how soft skills relate to the development and implementation of global marketing strategy and how firms can be more competitive by not only employing unique human capital, but by developing global marketing managers who are more effective at adapting to constantly changing global market conditions.
Our third paper by Usunier focusses on the importance of language in the international marketing context. Language, being used daily in local contexts, reflects local knowledge, and this paper shows how translation/back-translation can be used as a discovery tool, along with depth interviews and checks of researcher interpretations by informants, to generate cognitive mapping of consumption and taste experiences. Local words, used as emic signals, are combined into full portraits of local experiences as narratives linking people to products and taste. Local portraits can then be merged to derive commonalities emergent from within the contexts studied. The comparative thick description framework is applied to the bitterness and crunchiness taste experiences in ten countries (China, Croatia, El Salvador, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey) and nine languages. Local experiences in several different languages and countries in different areas of the world can be surveyed, compared, and organized into cognitive maps, which highlight commonalities and differences between contexts. In essence, differences are qualitative, dealing with creolization patterns, local consumption experience, local preferences, perceptions, and associations. Cognitive maps help evaluate cross-national differences and similarities in local markets. The emergent similarities and differences are highly meaningful for glocalizing marketing strategies, in terms of advertising, branding, and packaging. The method adopted in this paper can be considered as interpretive and, although driven by a systematic approach, depends on researcher and informant expertise and rigor.
Our final paper by Okazaki and Taylor focusses on identifying theoretical foundations that can be used in research on social media in the context of international advertising as well as future research directions for theory building in this research area. The paper draws on the extant literature to identify three key theoretical foundations: first, networking capability; second, image transferability; and third, personal extensibility. For each of these perspectives, the current state of knowledge, theoretical challenges, and future research directions are summarized. The three key theoretical perspectives (networking capability, image transferability, and personal extensibility) provide strong potential for better understanding the advantages and disadvantages of social media use for advertisers. They are also useful for identifying important research gaps that need to be filled in the future. Research on social media advertising in an international context is still in its infancy, and needs further attention. As few cross-cultural studies have been conducted, the theories and their application will likely evolve in the future. This paper is designed to serve as a solid starting point for future research endeavors.
We hope you will enjoy reading these varied papers and agree that they make an interesting contribution to our knowledge and understanding of international marketing.
Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all members of our Editorial Board and our other reviewers, both now and over the past 30 years, for their help with and support of IMR. When I took on the role of editor in 1998, I little thought I would be in post 14 years later! IMR has been a very important part of my life. However, now seems an appropriate time for me to announce that I intend to step down as editor by the end of this anniversary year. I would like to thank my deputy and co-editors over the years – Professors Marylyn Carrigan, Rob Morgan, and John Cadogan – as well as the publishers assigned to IMR at Emerald – Rebecca Marsh, Richard Whitfield, and Martyn Lawrence, together with Mary Miskin, Jessica Davis, Mark Moreau, and Laura Wilson (and any other assistant publishers I have neglected to mention!) – for all their work with me. I am pleased to say that Professor Cadogan has agreed to continue as editor. Rest assured that plans are already being made for a smooth transition and that I will continue to offer my total commitment to IMR over the intervening period.
Malhotra, N.K., Wu, L. and Whitelock, J. (2005), “An analysis of the first twenty-one years of research in the International Marketing Review, 1983-2003”, International Marketing Review, Vol. 22 No. 4, pp. 391-9
Malhotra, N.K., Wu, L. and Whitelock, J. (2013), “An updated overview of research published in the International Marketing Review: 1983 to 2003”, International Marketing Review, Vol. 30 No. 1, pp. 7-20