Thursday, 30 August 2007

Marketing in a Flat World

As Tom Friedman puts it, the flattening of the world presents us with entirely new sets of challenges and opportunities- and he goes on to emphasise how nation states and individuals should react. I argue, in this post, that this trend has an interesting set of implications for marketing too…

Setting guiding principles straight- the integration of countries such as China and India into the global economy presents the marketing function with a fundamentally great opportunity to leverage the benefits those markets have to offer. Specifically, 2+ billion very competitive people has a way of filtering the very best of brains/talent to the top, and this talent is available at a very low price point. I argue that marketing is well poised to take advantage.

How? Consider the following:

  • Marketing innovation blowback- implementing marketing campaigns in emerging markets present challenges that are very local- presence or absence of media channels and resources mean that you have to think different about how you reach and influence. But, what has been built for emerging markets, can arguably be brought back to the home/ mature markets with little customisaiton required.
  • Leverage emerging markets for cost reduction in your budgets- look at your traditional campaigns- everything from DM, to emails, to database administration etc can be done out of one of these markets, at a fraction of the cost in these economies- what parts of your campaign can you move there? (the answer by the way, is not all!)
  • Focus on analytics and insight building in emerging economies- did you know that a significant chunk of McKinsey's knowledge management resources reside in emerging markets? Their job is to build and manage those insights for all of Mckinsey to benefit from, not just for those emerging markets.
  • Leverage those online assets more- with the emergence of a huge technology business, countries such as India have a very sophisticated technology talent pool- which can be leveraged to create newer forms of marketing value creation, with things like website analytics for instance, or with other forms of online outreach and accountability.
  • Creating more accountability- marketing, it has been argued, does not give a very good account of itself when it comes to results accounting- a part of this has to do with the amorphous nature of what marketing does, but a bigger part is due to the difficult in implementing accounting and measurement processes, which can be very skills intensive- which is where the emerging markets and the leverage they bring come in- put your accountability processes elsewhere…

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