Same Same, But Different
As a researcher, I often find myself in the paradoxical position of needing to sound cautious about topics that I find exciting and full of potential. Often it is a reaction to the tendency for ‘groupthink’ on hot topics and a need to get clients to apply the kind of evidence-based thinking that they require in all aspects of their business.
“Emerging markets,” much like “social media” and “curation,” is one of the hottest terms in marketing these days. But as with any hot topic, there’s a danger that the hype will overshadow important messages about how to connect profitably – and sensitively – with these complex markets. The South Sea and dotcom bubbles are just two recent examples of this tendency to jump on a current trend without thinking through the fundamentals; time after time, the unwary get their fingers burned and discourage others from connecting as early as they could. Often valuable opportunities are lost.
So what do we mean by “emerging markets”? Too often it seems the term is used as shorthand for China, or China and India. But even beyond the BRIC2
countries (which include Brazil and Russia), markets in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America represent significant opportunities for developing long-term relationships with travellers.*
Together these places contain roughly 60 percent of the world’s population and they’re getting stronger. If anything, their growth relative to developed economies has been accelerated by the global economic slowdown. China is already the world’s second-largest economy and the International Monetary Fund3
has predicted that the total GDP of emerging and developing economies will equal those of advanced economies by 2013-14.
In other words, the opportunities to find a culture or consumer that is right for your brand have grown exponentially. But again, that doesn’t mean marketers should blindly jump into the fray. Our purpose in this e-book is to share our passion for the potential in emerging markets, while reinforcing that passion with our own experiences and research. Our hope is to inspire long-term, profitable connections that will really build brands.
All of these markets share common characteristics that allow us a starting point in dealing with them. But they all have their own unique needs and traits as well. To borrow a well-known emerging markets catchphrase, these places are “same same, but different!”
*Note: Our definition of emerging markets includes the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), Africa, Latin America and the N11 countries: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Turkey and Vietnam.
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