Fortunately for me, my mother, Miriam Karr, was a great teacher in this area. I had the opportunity to watch her as she opened up new markets for Chase Manhattan
Bank as an economist. In the 1980s the banks had a large amount of debt out with third world countries, and those countries couldn’t find a way to repay it. Around that time, Chase Manhattan Bank was reorganizing and although my mom was valuable in her job and in the marketplace, she had to do what people have to do from time to time—prove her value to the organization.
She began looking at new markets and focused on Latin American countries. Then she had the idea to help those countries export their products. It wasn’t simple, because those countries didn’t have buyers for their products, but she found other countries to take their products in trade who would in turn sell their products off. This became the countertrade program. Because of her idea, third world countries had markets for their products; and due to the barter deals she arranged, the countries suddenly had money coming back in. For every three dollars these countries exported, one dollar went to the bottom line of the bank. So not only did my mother create a new opportunity and a new marketplace, she became a hero to the CFO of the bank.
What does this mean for you? When you’re looking for emerging markets, you can’t go into the new market doing the same thing that existing vendors are doing. Taking customers away from an existing vendor for the same product is a tough thing to do. Why would a customer leave a vendor they like and have an existing relationship with just to go with someone else with the same offering? It’s not going to happen.
If you’re going into a new market, don’t think about competing with existing vendors, think about creating new results. Think about the gaps customers are experiencing with existing vendors. What issues do your potential customers still need to find solutions for? Then position your products and services around those issues. That is how to gain acceptance into a new market, gain scale, and, most importantly, gain competitive advantage. The key to impacting a new market with your products and services is not to compete, but to create better results. To learn more about How to Impact Emerging Markets, contact me.