International Market Diversification...through evolutionary marketing

Ed Marsh | Nov 13, 2012

Holistic Approach to Export Markets

There's often a gap between the intellectual and emotional embrace of change initiatives.  For many American companies this is true in both the key areas where I often interact with them - evolutionary marketing and new markets

Often the intellectual embrace comes early (trends are clear and today's brutal markets require innovation and new strategies) but the emotional embrace only occurs after some sort of a traumatic event like a banker threatening work-out.

Here's another possibility - let the traumatic event come in a positive form.  The recognition of enormous and unrealized opportunity could serve as a similar "wake up call" but one with positive rather than negative consequences.  Africa may offer that wake-up for many companies.

Africa - the last "Emerging Market"

I've long maintained that there is exciting and compelling growth opportunity for American SMBs in many global markets.  Although I have traditionally cautioned against a willy-nilly embrace of the BRICs, and noted that many "emerging markets" have actually already emerged, I remain convinced that consumption growth in international markets has the potential to be the prime growth driver for many American companies. 

But of all the opportunities, the most compelling "green field" is certainly Africa.  A recent McKinsey report "The rise of the African Consumer" provides a variety of compelling statistics and strategy tips.  Noteworthy among these are:

Adaptive & Evolutionary Marketing

Want to penetrate and succeed in the green field of African market opportunities?  Proper product localization will be critical (consumption habits, price points and distribution channels are all different) and marketing localization will be a make/break discipline.

Understanding the digital marketing opportunity (internet adoption in metro areas is ahead of many developing markets) requires a thorough familiarity with the idiosyncrasies of the African mobile environment.  In fact mobile data and SMS marketing are simply the keys (after customer referrals) to success in these markets.

Inbound marketing (what we call evolutionary marketing) should be the fundamental strategy of any American business intent on growth in today's global markets.  An international strategy which integrates the multiple relevant disciplines critical to global sales success will focus resources on certain areas including international inbound marketing.  With that focus not only will pockets of potential opportunity be uncovered, but programs can be proactively adapted to target markets.  That's the power of the parallel business development paths of evolutionary marketing and new markets. 

Skipping this step will void all the other resource intensive efforts companies may make in pursuit of global sales growth.  It's critical.

And for companies eager to grow internationally through export sales to international markets, Africa is critical too.  No, it's not NAFTA - but it may be far more important to your success in 10 years.  Get started today.  Contact Consilium to learn how we can help you and check out our free market report (we were months ahead of McKinsey!)

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