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Mastering the Market Intelligence Challenge

Posted by | Fuld & Company

To thrive in rapidly changing economies in regions such as Asia and Africa, multinationals need to take new approaches to gather and using market intelligence.

Multinational corporations have invested huge sums in emerging markets —more than $3 trillion since 1998, by one estimate. Returns from these investments, however, have sometimes been disappointing. The Economist, for example, has reported that the return on emerging-market investments for the average multinational corporation has been “mediocre” and that some companies “have lost a ton of money.”

Even when managers think they are performing well in emerging markets, they often are not because they have set low expectations. Executives at multinationals, for example, may be pleased with double-digit growth in revenues or being at their target profitability in emerging markets, yet their emerging-market operations may contribute only a tiny fraction of their overall business. With emerging-market companies rapidly gaining competitiveness, time for Western multinational companies to build market share in these countries is running out.

A frequently mentioned reason for the underperformance of multinational corporations in emerging markets is that these markets are different and that multinationals need to adapt their products and operations.

Read the rest of this MIT Sloan Management Review Article here.

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