Australians tend to be proud of their heritage as they view themselves as a nation that convicts and working people built into a wealthy, educated, and democratic society in a callous and harsh land (Commonwealth of Australia, 2007, p. 2). This resonance will not accept antagonistic, flamboyant, or arrogant behavior�socially or in business environments. Most Americans are patriotic and consider their country a guardian of democracy and freedom (United States of America, 2007, p. 2). Americans have a tendency to be forthright and blunt and appreciate candid associates.
Australians are sociable and affable and hold life�s enjoyments as a paramount attribute. This prevailing optimism also attributes living in an instant gratification society (Patterson, 2007, 6). They enjoy spacious homes, elaborate vacations, stylish cars, the arts, and movies. Americans also enjoy socializing, and enjoy it often; in small or large groups (United States of America, 2007, p. 3). Most activities are centered on eating, special occasions, recreation, in general, spending time with family and friends.
Religion generally does not play an important role in daily life, mostly reserved for holidays and special occasions (Commonwealth of Australia, 2007, p. 2). Statistically, 76% are Christians (Anglican, Roman Catholic, and the Uniting Church), with the remaining 24% as religions from immigrant religions, such as Islam and Buddhism. The average family consists of 2 to 3 children, with larger families conducive to immigrant groups. The United States was founded on the freedom from religious persecution; therefore, historically religion has ties to the formation of the American government. Roughly, 80% of Americans are of the Christian faith and regard religion as a personal matter (United States of America, 2007, p. 2).
English is the national and prevailing language; however, Australian English is unique as the language contains numerous colloquialisms and idioms. Examples taken from Commonwealth of Australia (2007): Spot on means �Right on�. A prang is a �fender bender�. If someone is unwell, he or she is crook. English is also the national and prevailing language in American; however, English is referred to as American English�also, full of unique idioms (United States of America, 2007, p. 2).
Cultural influences are the most difficult and essential modifications confronting international marketers. Marketers are confronted with different attitudes, lifestyles, beliefs, languages�all of which will affect the implementation of the marketing mix.
Imperative to every marketer�s evaluation of an international market is an appreciation for the political environment of the country within which a business plans to operate (Cateora & Graham, 2007, p. 179). Government involvement in business activities abroad is generally much greater than business is accustomed to domestically. Marketers must continually monitor political activities as business activities that were once perceived desirable, may become less desirable during times of political change and instability.
Australia is a federal parliamentary state consisting of six federated states that possess power of all matters, except those reserved to the Commonwealth of Australia in the constitution. This political configuration was developed in Australia�s humble beginnings and continues to represent a strong and stable government. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II and is represented by an Australian governor-general. The prime minister is head of the government (Commonwealth of Australia, 2007, p.3). Three political parties dominate the Australian political structure�the Liberal Party (LP), the National Party (NP), and the Australian Labor Party (ALP). Political partiality is present in each party, as the LP tends to represent urban business-related groups, the NP is partial to rural interests, and the ALP presumably corresponds with the trade unions and liberal groups. �All political groups are tied by tradition to domestic welfare policies, which have kept Australia in the forefront of societies offering extensive social welfare programs� (Australia, 2007, p. 8).
The US government is structured with an executive president at the helm. The US Congress consists of a 435-member House of Representatives, and a 100-member Senate. The country has a strong federal structure, and devolves its legal and fiscal system to a considerable extent. The United States also has 3 major parties; Republicans, Democrats, and Independent.
There is strong bipartisan sentiment on several international issues, including Australia�s commitment to its alliance with the United States and strongly supports the United States� activities in the Asia-Pacific region.
Businesses whose governments are similar in structure and policy tend to have fewer political disagreements and often foster lasting relationships with local government figures and businesses.
Economic influences are the most important elements to which international marketers must adjust activities and strategies. The economic growth of a country is greatly affected by the demand of goods, the distributions systems and infrastructures, consumer spending, taxation�the elements are insurmountable.
Australia has one of the strongest economies in the world, with a stable growth of 3.7% for the last 14 years. The growth was instigated by structural improvements and reinforcing frameworks for economic and fiscal policies (Australia, 2007, p. 69). Conversely, a comparison with Australian lifestyle�one that enjoys spending money on life�s enjoyments will affect this continued growth, as Australia has a very low rate of domestic savings. �Large cuts in income taxes announced in 2006 could help to offset an expected slowdown in consumer spending� (Australia, 2007, p. 72).
The United States has the strongest economy in the world. �As one of the world's most advanced economies, the country leads the way in the information technology revolution and in many other areas of technical innovation� (United States, 2007, p 68). Nevertheless, the United States has retained a huge deficit for numerous years with many international trade partners.
In spite of a series of unfavorable shocks such as energy prices, interest rates, and a weak housing market, the U.S. economy continues to grow but may experience a slowing (United States, 2007, p.3). Comparatively, Australia has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $32,900 per capita and the United States has a GDP of $43, 500 per capita, allowing domestic marketing to expect rather lower spending capabilities in Australia.
Business firms face a mass of issues and difficulties in their labors to develop successful marketing programs abroad. The countless questions created by different laws and different legal systems indicate that the business must follow a cautious path within international marketing operations, and be well versed in the particulars of the international legal environment (Cateora & Graham, 2007, p. 210).
Trade relations between the United States and Australia continue to strengthen and form new partnerships through the relationship with other neighboring countries. Australia has been an active participant in international affairs since World War I and has fought beside the United States and other Allies in every significant conflict to the present day. Thus, presumably, legal issues and confrontations are addressed and resolved in a civilized and conjunctive manner.
The bilateral Australia-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) entered into force on January 1, 2005. This broad agreement, only the second FTA the U.S. had negotiated with a developed nation, substantially liberalizes an already vibrant trade and investment relationship. The AUSFTA also creates a range of ongoing working groups and committees designed to explore further trade reform in the bilateral context (U.S. Department of State, 2007, p. 4).
Both countries share a commitment to liberalizing global trade. Both work closely together in the World Trade Organization (WTO), and both are active members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. This relationship will afford domestic marketers an ease of legal ramifications in international marketing efforts.
Today businesses are confronted with international environments that are dynamic and challenging. Accelerating advances in technology, an ever-changing and fast-paced marketplace, demanding customers, increasing global competition, and pressures for stakeholders are the present and future realities. The significance in cultural, legal, political, and economical differences of international countries will greatly affect the marketing mix. Marketers cannot afford to ignore the basic key elements of a target country and market. These elements are collectively related and decisions need to be made after analyzing and researching the many aspects of each influence.
American Marketing Association (AMA). (2004). Definition of Marketing. Retrieved May 10, 2007, from http://www.marketingpower.com/content4620.php
Australia. (2007). Country Watch Review 2007. Retrieved May 14, 2007, from Country Watch Database
Cateora, P. R. & Graham, J. L. (2007). International Marketing (13th ed.). The McGraw Hill Companies. Retrieved May 12, 2007, from University of Phoenix, eResource, MKT 450 � International Marketing Course Web site
Commonwealth of Australia. (2007). CultureGrams 2007 World Edition. Provo, UT: ProQuest CSA. Retrieved May 13, 2007, from CultureGrams Online Database
Patterson, N. (2007). Australians happy, but confused. B&T Weekly, 57 (2603), 7-7. Retrieved May 10, 2007 from the Business Source Complete database
United States. (2007). Country Watch Review 2007. Retrieved May 14, 2007, from Country Watch Database
United States of America. (2007). CultureGrams 2007 World Edition. Provo, UT: ProQuest CSA. Retrieved May 14, 2007, from CultureGrams Online Database
U.S. Department of State. (2007). Background Note: Australia. Retrieved May 14, 2007, from http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2698.htm