Emerging markets present challenges, opportunities

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B-to-b companies and agencies see many challenges—in particular, obtaining reliable data—as they seek to expand their business in emerging global markets. Those challenges, as well as the opportunities to be found, were the focus of “B-to-B Marketing Practices and Trends in Emerging Global Markets,” a pre-conference session Wednesday that featured speakers who are doing business in the Asia-Pacific region, India and the Middle East. “In fast-growing markets, one of the challenges is where to play,” said Laurent Michoud, head of global marketing at Ingredion, which manufactures food ingredients. “You have so many targets and opportunities, and often you don't have a lot of reliable data about which markets are growing fastest. For example, do you go to Indonesia or Vietnam?” In Asia, one of the keys to b-to-b marketing is developing personal relationships, Michoud said. Other important steps are leveraging social media, culturally adapting the offering to the market and developing a go-to-market strategy that starts with establishing local teams. Francesca Brosan, chairman of Omobono, a global digital agency based in Cambridge, England, focused on India, which has a population of more than 1.2 billion and 23 recognized languages. “Data is a real problem. Access to data is difficult,” Brosan said. “It is a very complex market.” Clif Collier, managing director of global agency Fifth Ring, Dubai, discussed b-to-b marketing in the Middle East. “The Middle East is a huge mishmash of cultures,” Collier said, pointing to a population of almost 400 million people in 17 countries divided by language and religion. “It represents the trading culture, based on price and volume. Because b-to-b is a highly value-added proposition, it is very difficult to do business in the Middle East.” However, Collier said, “Once they fully get the concept of b-to-b marketing, we will see exponential growth in the Middle East.”
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