At the beginning of the twenty-first century it is appropriate to reflect on the ever-more critical role that Europe is playing within global marketing. Movement towards a true Single European Market in which products, services and capital can flow freely across national borders whilst people enjoy similar freedom to go on holiday, to work or to live has progressed a long way. The European Union (EU) continues to evolve. While there still remains some inevitable discord between its members, slowly but surely it is becoming more harmonious and more cohesive. It is steadily developing into a liberalized 'common market' in which products and services and associated marketing are more similar than, say, twenty years earlier when the Single Europe Act (1986) was enacted. Courageously, even ambitiously, the European 'club' is now preparing for another step in its enlargement, bringing in the nations of Central and Eastern Europe. While, lately, the unity of the European Union has been tested in the turmoil of Middle Eastern politics, its future seems secure.
Against this background, Europe plays an increasingly critical role within the global market. It is the strategic marketing approaches used by Europeans within international marketing that is the focus of interest in this text. These are considered as they apply both internally across European national borders, and externally, within the global market.
Over the past two decades, working towards becoming a 'European' while still being proud of national roots, has been a personal goal. Overseeing international student exchanges has encouraged this effort, especially those supported through EU programmes. Principal amongst these is SOCRATES, which aims to encourage the spirit of European citizenship, improve linguistic expertise and raise the level of co-operation between institutions. Within SOCRATES, ERASMUS supports higher education student exchanges, seeking to bring about more appreciation of cultural similarities and differencs within Europe and beyond. It is these experiences on which this text draws, alongside a background of international marketing within the manufacturing and logistics sectors.
There are rich cultural features distinguishing national and regional peoples which influence strategic marketing across Europe, e.g. language, different approaches to working hours, interpretation and attitudes toward promotional messages. Although Europeans are becoming more similar, differences ensure that strategic international marketing continues to be challenging, while working internationally at a global level is even more demanding. It is these issues that are addressed within this text.