Innovation is the biggest opportunity
With little prospect of organic growth in mature markets, companies are searching for new places for expansion.
They are looking to expand, in part, geographically, i.e., in rapid-growth economies, but also in terms of seeking out new niches in established markets.
The biggest opportunity is seen within innovation, whether in terms of new products or services, or within operations. This is especially crucial for finding unexploited gaps in existing markets, but it is also becoming an increasingly fundamental component of how many companies succeed within major rapid-growth markets.
Spending on research and development is growing four times as rapidly within countries such as China and India, as compared with mature markets such as the UK and US.
The IMF expects major rapid-growth markets to grow by 5%-6% in 2013-14, or about four points faster than mature countries. Companies now accept that the bulk of their growth will come from such markets and are readjusting their businesses accordingly.
Businesses are increasingly excited by the emergence of new marketing channels, such as social media, ranked as the fourth-greatest opportunity. This was especially true of companies operating in rapid-growth markets.
Cloud computing and data insights also offer tremendous marketing potential. But inevitably, there are risks too: emerging technologies are still narrowly considered a top 10 risk, although this is down from fifth overall in 2011. But the disruptive capabilities of ongoing technological development remain a worry for many emerging technologies are still considered a top 10 risk.
The disruptive capabilities of ongoing technological development remain a worry for many.
What it all means for businesses
Organizations need to prioritize technology and innovation in order to improve their overall customer reach, as new markets and technologies emerge in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Opportunities exist for those able to understand the imperatives in this area and integrate their processes and operations accordingly.
To mitigate the risks and enable opportunities companies could: