A study becomes comparative marketing when its purpose is to contrast two or more marketing systems rather than examine a particular country's marketing system for its own sake. Similarities and differences between systems are identified. Thus, comparative marketing involves two or more countries and an analytical comparison of marketing methods used in these countries.
One way to understand the concept of international marketing is to examine how international marketing differs from such similar concepts as domestic marketing. foreign marketing, comparative marketing, international trade and multinational marketing. Domestic marketing is concerned with the marketing practices within a researcher's or marketer's home country. From the perspective of domestic marketing, marketing methods used outside the home market are foreign marketing. Therefore. foreign marketing encompasses the domestic- operations within a foreign country. A U.S. company considers marketing in the United States as domestic marketing and marketing in Great Britain as foreign marketing. To a British firm, the opposite is true-British marketing is domestic and American marketing is foreign.
International marketing must be distinguished from international trade. International trade is concerned with the flow of goods & capital across national borders.. The focus of the analysis is on commercial and monetary conditions that affect balance of payment and resource transfers. This economics approach provides a macro view of the market at the national level, with no specific attention given to companies' marketing intervention. The study of international marketing, on the other hand. is more concerned with the micro level of the market and uses the company as a unit of analysis. The focus of the analysis is on how and why a product succeeds or fails abroad and how marketing efforts affect the outcome.
Some marketing textbooks differentiate international marketing from multinational marketing because international marketing in its literal sense signifies marketing between nations (inter- means between). The word international can thus imply that a firm is not a corporate citizen of the world but rather operates from a home base. For those authors, multinational (or global or world) marketing is the preferred term, since nothing is foreign or domestic about the world market and global opportunities.
One might question whether the subtle difference between international marketing and multinational marketing is significant. For practical purposes, it is merely a distinction without a difference. As a matter of fact multinational firms themselves do not make any distinction between the two terms. It is difficult to believe that International Business Machines will become more global if it changes its corporate name to Multinational Business Machines. Likewise, there is no compelling reason for American Express and British Petroleum to change their names to, say, Global Express and Multinational Petroleum. For purposes of the discussion in this text, international, multinational, and global marketing are used interchangeably.