The style of living of consumers varies widely from one region to another. The most popular products are trendy clothes and luxury brands. These trendy clothes must fit the socioeconomic environment of each country while remaining flexible enough to meet changes. For example, in many companies, the needs of both a primitive subsistence economy and an industrialised customer-oriented economy must be accounted for in designing international marketing programs. Their potentials and requirements may differ widely. Product policy often requires products to be tailored or adapted to meet the unique needs of consumers in other countries.
Sometimes the changes are relatively simple and involve different scales of measurement, power requirements, or less luxurious models. Sometimes they are major and involve basic modifications that alter production processes and increase costs. The regional executive is in a better position to tell what will sell in his part of the world.
Heavy machinery, computers, and earth-moving equipment are examples. For others, such as consumer nondurables, regional differences necessitate different products. Knowledge, being more than information, is based on a system of laws more commonly viewed as theory. It is not a collection of laws based on various unrelated but proven hypotheses and generalisations; instead, theory in support of knowledge is a system of laws brought together as relationships that can be altered or expanded through evolutionary hypothesis testing and generalisation. The recent emergence of thought surrounding farming systems research is an example of an evolutionary system of “laws” flowing from socioeconomic and bio-physical scientists who desire to better understand and “assist” primarily small farm agriculture.
Post-harvest food handling and distribution are assisted by many theory-based systems, including physiology, pricing, transportation, storage, processing, inventory, promotion, quality control, consumer preference, and others. Women shop daily for food. Frozen foods are not as common, they are sometimes not accepted, and smaller refrigerators and freezers preclude storage of large quantities of food. Custom and family systems both affect the products purchased. In countries where wives stay at home or pursue a more docile role, the automobile does not fill the same need as in the United States. In addition, certain products are symbols of success, and the symbolism may vary by country.
Autos, colour television, and air-conditioning follow this pattern. In some countries, servants still live in the household, furnish assistance, and make consumption decisions, whereas, in the United States, the “servant” is built into products and houses. Heat-and-serve foods and dishwashers illustrate the point. Product grades and qualities desired also vary by country. The deluxe model, the product built to last, or style items must be replaced by cheaper versions in countries with limited average incomes. The status conveyed by the high quality of American products may not be attainable through low-quality products. Yet, the wealthy segments of each country provide markets for the original product.