How to define Transnational Marketing

Although transnationalism and transnational research is very well established in other social science disciplines, Transnational Marketing is a new and understudied field. The limited literature exists mostly deals with legal and contractual or cultural aspects. However, there are very few studies and no dedicated research institutions focusing on transnational aspects of marketing. The text books tend to mention it as part of internationalization but often without much scholarship behind it. Nevertheless, there are transnational companies, organisations and business practices as well as consumer practices and consumption patterns. Multinational organisations display examples for ‘transnationalisation’. The array of practices is wide to cover large companies marketing “global products” (e.g. Unilever) and small insurgent groups marketing “rebellion” (i.e. Zapatistas in Mexico) (Bob, 2005).
Transnational Management as a field received some attention as many organisations have become “stateless” avoiding national borders and thus also often avoiding certain regulations (Eom 1994 and Bob 2005). AS Eom (1994) puts it systematically, many managers believe that “the trend toward statelessness is unmistakable and irreversible” because it helps solving trade problems (e.g. companies can overcome trade barriers by setting up factories in other countries), avoiding political problems, allowing better exploitation of innovations globally. This move requires transnational management support systems and an overall transnational vision and understanding.
The key feature of transnational marketing is the geographical and administrative span of the operations, strategy and behaviour. It is more than simply international and it is beyond global. Transnational is stateless, borderless, draws upon multiple territories, cultures and multiple reference points. Transnational Marketing can be briefly defined as marketing transnationally, that is other than within the borders of one’s nation and marketing products or services which can originate from anywhere and largely oblivious to differences in national markets yet taking into account the cultural and linguistic differences as well as drawing upon multiple reference points and benefiting from synergies among multiple territories, cultures, and other groupings.
Transnational marketing is a phenomenon building upon globalisation enhanced by improvements in transportation, communications, and information technologies force organisations (commercial, non-profit, governmental or else) to devise strategies that involves the geographic and temporal spread of multitudes of factors, including products, services, people, capital, and operations, throughout a world characterised by increasingly mobile populations and ever more porous national boundaries. This in return facilitates and forces the interdependence within and among organisations, nation-states, and other actors in economic, political and socio-cultural spheres. Thus, the key variable here is the fluidity of practices, mobility and movement creating living and business spaces across borders. Yet these practices have received very little academic attention so far.

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