Emerging Marketing Perspectives

Amid a torrent of economic growth and emerging consumer spending power, the world is facing an exciting new frontier in marketing. It is a frontier that has the potential to transform marketing theory, practice, and research. If companies and marketers do not quickly adapt to the emerging market environment, they will be left behind. The emerging market phenomenon is less than three decades old, but enough observational evidence, case studies, and professional books exist to catalog new learning and suggest significant new directions for marketing scholars.

As companies seek to capitalize onĀ this post emerging markets, they face the daunting task of understanding the unique cultural context of these countries and of constructing effective marketing strategies that will work in them. They must be able to understand and engage with the emerging consumer, who is becoming more empowered as incomes rise and social norms change. They must also understand the emerging market business environment, which is often complex and rapidly evolving because of a combination of factors such as a lack of specialized intermediaries, an overreliance on informal methods of contract negotiation, and a proliferation of local competitors.

To succeed, businesses must develop a strong local presence to serve consumers and to build brand awareness and equity in the emerging market. Moreover, they must make bold investment decisions and develop the skills of their local teams to operate in ways that differ from what their headquarters might consider normal. They must also be prepared for the inevitable hiccups in the market that will require rapid adaptation of operations and the development of innovative customer-relationship management systems.

In addition to these challenges, the emerging markets are frequently characterized by political instability and volatility of prices, exchange rates, and supply-demand responses to natural calamities that can create sudden economic declines. As a result, investors in emerging markets must be able to withstand considerable uncertainty and have the patience to stick with their long-term investment strategy.

While these challenges are not insurmountable, they must be understood by marketing executives if companies are to successfully navigate the emerging markets. In the past, many managers have avoided investing in emerging markets because of the difficulty of finding a way to make their investments profitable in these volatile environments.

Fortunately, the field of marketing is beginning to address these problems with new concepts and frameworks. In particular, the field of emerging marketing is developing a number of new perspectives that can help businesses achieve success in these new global marketplaces. These perspectives revolve around four key battlegrounds: initial consideration, when consumers think about a purchase; active evaluation, when the consumer researches potential brands; closure, when the consumer selects a brand to buy; and postpurchase experience, when the consumer experiences the brand purchased. The new emerging marketing paradigm is helping to identify specific strategies for each of these battlegrounds. Harnessing word of mouth, gaining visibility in the initial consideration set, and emphasizing in-store execution can dramatically increase the likelihood that a brand will be selected by consumers in these important new markets.