This is going to make everyone who reads it, sit up and shout “HELP!” and quite rightly too. And the help that you are going to need is slick, refined and accurate communication help!
1- Flat-line spending in the West and massive spending in the emerging markets
Since 2008 the western world has been on a spending diet. Budgets cut to unprecedented levels, pay freezes equating to negative salary growth over all sectors (public and private) and a huge increase in mergers and acquisitions to try and compensate and retain market share. For you and I, very little of this has been good news and many of us have had to experience a change in the industry within which we were employed, just to stay afloat. As an example, 65% of all the peripheral companies providing services to the finance sector disappeared. This did, however, have a positive effect too. The natural balance of “cause and effect” meant that on the flip side there was a rather large spending increase in a number of the emerging markets. As time has moved on this is having a huge impact on how global companies are operating, I’ll elaborate more on that shortly, resulting in a new world order when it comes to how we need to be marketing our products and services.
2- The divergence of market strongholds, no more are countries influenced by a single provider of services, be that a company or a country.
Especially prevalent in the defence sector this one but across the board, the stronghold (monopoly in some cases) that companies, and countries, once had is no longer the case. Ever increasingly countries who have typically only bought from one other country (Vietnam from Russia for example) are now looking further afield and mitigating their reliance on just one source. Risk aversion is key here and (pardon the pun) burying the hatchet of recent history has even seen the likes of Vietnam purchasing arms from the US to complement and replace their existing stock.
3- Global markets are now looking for exports in new markets to increase market share and company growth.
Coming back to the point I raised at the end of the first trend in this list, we are now seeing companies looking for new export markets to increase their market share and bottom line profits. Not surprisingly, the well-established brands are feeling the pinch of the budget and spending cuts in the west and are looking to replace these deficits with new blood from markets previously untapped. This brings with it a whole bunch of new and exciting prospects, as well as challenges, and finding the right ones is going to be key to their success.
4- Countries who were previously just purchasers of products are now manufacturing and exporting themselves.
Countries who have benefited the most from this recent tipping of the scales are ones who have now got the ability to manufacture and export themselves. The diversity of products available from other, not so well known countries, is quite staggering and this is having a significant impact on how markets and companies are responding.
5- The next 2 billion people to come online will not have English as a first language, in fact, the majority won’t even chose English as their first foreign language.
Finally, and I may have mentioned this on a number of occasions, this fact is going to have a massive impact on how we communicate. Within the next 5 to 10 years 2/3rds again of the existing online population will be added, none of whom will have English as their mother tongue. At this point, the most predominant language of the digital world will have lost its crown. Remember how international communication (the written form) was once the golden nugget of the French language?
So what can we do now?
A very good question. No matter whether you are an industry leader or a start-up, for your business to grow to its full potential you need to be thinking Global from the outset. With very few exceptions, such as domestic services (plumbers, electricians, gardeners, builders, etc), today’s businesses have the potential of a worldwide appeal and in this worldwide village, there are well over 200 different languages. There is, of course, very little chance that you will be able to speak them all, nor is there likely to be a need to do so, but if you’re serious about your export markets you will have to communicate in a much larger number of languages than ever before. In 2001 it was estimated that to reach 90% of the online market you would need just 13 languages in 2013 that figure rose to 21 and in 2020 it will be a minimum of 48. As I mentioned in point 5, the dominance of the English language is being threatened and by those countries who now have a say in the international market. If you step back in time to the early 70s, where Willy Brant, leader of the German SPD 1968 – 1987, first verbalised this famous saying, “If I want to sell to you then I speak your language, wenn Sie mir was verkaufen wollen dann müssen Sie Deutsch reden.” – I’ll translate for you, “if you want to sell to me then you must speak German” never has this sentiment been more accurate than in today’s digital world.
In short, to get ahead of all the big boys in your industry, you can do far worse than having a sales window in the language of the country you’re looking to export into.