Friday, August 30, 2013
The Economist is the latest to serve up lukewarm Emerging Market news after a decades-long buffet with all the gluttonous expansion the world could ingest. Slowed growth, lackluster ROI, bribery and corruption scandals, and of course the PC getting served with divorce papers by a few billion former prospects. Companies that have counted on emerging-markets growth have fallen short, leading some to question whether the buffet is closed for good.
These are worrying trends, to be sure, but they are hardly signs of the apocalypse. Emerging markets are not the feast they used to be, but they still offer myriad opportunities for growth. As smartphones pass the noteworthy milestone of outselling feature phones globally - due largely to swelling sales in Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe - many opportunities will be mobile-based. Besides the obvious boon for operators and handset manufacturers, there is promised growth for everyone in the mobile Internet value chain (app developers and store owners, content and service providers, networking and even peripherals). The ad agency Publicis, which recently merged with Omnicom, has seen the writing on the wall and gone on a buying spree of emerging-market firms. As billions of new consumers acquire smartphones and tablets (and the means to purchase more goods), it makes sense to be the one who speaks to those buyers.
Who will mobile advertisers be working with in 10 years? They will be working with companies that develop products and services with compelling features and functionality, at the right price for wildly diverse emerging-market customer segments. Their clients will have a plan for navigating an increasingly competitive environment, hyper-localized go-to-market strategies, and careful management of country risk factors. They will be working with company executives who don't mind snacking on-the-go.