Reflection on Impact of Emerging Markets on Marketing: Rethinking Existing Perspectives and Practices

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The world of business has changed in recent years. Usually, the firms of developed countries dominated the globe and developed countries’ markets were the most attractive. However, new attractive markets and new players have emerged from areas outside the developed world. These new markets such as the BRICs and the MISTs have large populations, high economic growth and increasing demands for goods. Also, they are expected to surpass the developed economies by 2050 (Goldman Sachs, 2003). According to Jagdish N. Sheth, the emerging markets have impacted both the theory and the practice of marketing. The reason is very simple; marketing is a discipline that was developed in the concept of industrialized (developed) markets meaning that most of the marketing tools are designed to work specifically in industrialized markets (Sheth, 2011). Therefore, adapting most of what is known about marketing is necessary to succeed in new markets and new marketing research approaches need to be taken.

The article Impact of Emerging Markets on Marketing: Rethinking Existing Perspectives and Practices covers some of the most important characteristics of these markets such as their growth, market heterogeneity, sociopolitical governance and comparative advantages. Also, the author suggests some changes that need to be made to the existing marketing theory, marketing strategy, marketing policy and marketing practice. Moreover, Sheth argues that companies (from developed countries as well as from the emerging countries) who succeed in the mentioned markets are becoming global competitors. The reason is that these firms have to innovate to overcome challenges such as shortages of resources, inadequate infrastructure and unbranded competition. As a result, innovation makes these firms more efficient as well as it creates a competitive advantage which allows them to compete globally.

Having grown up in Mexico, one of the so called MISTs, I can relate many of Sheth’s marketing suggestions with some strategies used by Mexican companies. Some of these companies are already global players such as Grupo Bimbo, Cemex and America Movil (Inter-American Developing Bank, 2008). They are strong competitors in the bakery industry, building materials industry and telecom industry respectively. However, there is another rising player named Coppel S.A. de C.V. that already started to expand to other emerging markets outside Mexico, aiming to become a global competitor in the retail business. Coppel is family owned business with 1,000 stores and 80,000 employees in Mexico. Also, it has eight stores in Argentina and eight in Brazil. I will like to focus on Coppel, 2011’s biggest retailer in Mexico (El Economista, 2012), and how this company has already applied some of Sheth’s suggestions to marketing perspectives and practices. Even though the article mentioned many good points to succeed in emerging markets, the most important are purpose driven marketing, resource improvisation, and market development.

Purpose driven marketing
According to Sheth, purpose driven marketing is going beyond highlighting the benefits of a product or service, creating a lifetime value among the customers, employees and other stakeholders. Coppel wins its customers’ hearts with the slogan “Coppel Mejora tu vida” which translates to “Coppel improves your life”. Along with the slogan, Coppel offers a range of products such as clothes, furniture, electronic appliances and financial services to the 68 percent of the Mexican population whose monthly income is less than 2,743 pesos, close to 165 EUR (DigitalPersona, 2012). Most of the products sold by Coppel are products that fulfill the customers’ needs. At Coppel’s stores, it would be difficult to find expensive shoes or clothes. Also, Coppel guarantees all the furniture and any electronic product regardless of the brand sold at their stores up to 2 years; while most manufacturers only guarantee the first year. This warranty is...
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