Rethinking Marketing Programs for Emerging Markets
Long Range Planning, October 2002
Amitava Chattopadhyay and Niraj Dawar
Also INSEAD Working Paper N 2000/47/MKTThis article points to a fundamental inconsistency in the emerging market strategies of multinational firms. On the one hand, they seek billions of new consumers in the emerging markets of China, India, Indonesia, and Latin America--on the other, their marketing programs are scarcely adapted for these markets. The result is low market penetration, disappointing market shares and poor profitability. These multinationals are trapped by their own devices in gilded cages, serving the affluent few but ignoring the potential of the billions of new consumers that attracted them in the first place. In this article the authors propose that, in order to attract billions of new consumers, the marketing programs of multinationals need to be rethought from the ground up. They identify three key factors that characterize emerging markets: (1) low incomes, (2) variability in consumers and infrastructure, and (3) the relative cheapness of labor, which is often substituted for capital. They draw on numerous case studies from around the world to illustrate how to incorporate these realities into marketing programs. They conclude with a discussion of the implications of such an approach for the multinational's core strategic assumptions.

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