While the best cycling companies worldwide invest millions of dollars to build their brands, be closer to the riders and create added value, the reality in Latin America seems to be a bit different.
I am lucky to be in contact with many actors of the leading bicycle brand companies in the world, and it is exciting to see how everyday these companies strive to improve the riders’ experience, with strategies and proposals with a long term focus. The Marketing 3.0 has arrived. Today the relational Marketing is booming, and the customer has become protagonist. Therefore, all efforts are aimed to be closer to the customer and exceed their expectations, the new era of digital Marketing has changed the rules and nowadays a good opinion is much more powerful than a major campaign in the best newspaper.
However, in emerging markets such as Latin America, the reality is different. The misuse of trademarks, lack of concordance with global strategies and lack of concern about the rider are the order of the day. But why? I think the main problem is key: while a global brand strategy is based on building a long term relationship with the customer, by taking care of the brand and improve their cyclists’ life experience; a local distributor only focuses on maximizing short-term profit, the daily cash flow.
Believe it or not, in my experience, we could count on the fingers of one hand the national companies that are currently working with marketing plans and strategies, instead they work with very low Marketing budgets and most of the decisions are made based on personal opinion rather than as a result of a market analysis.
Of course, Bicycles are sold, we are talking about new emerging markets, with well-informed customers and poor offer of products, but… who is taking into account where it goes your brand? Sadly, most of the worldwide brands don’t realize about this reality which could become a very high cost for them.
Then, how can we work to develop new markets and take care of our brand at the same time?. Here, there are some ideas that may help:
- Work closer to your distributors: it is not enough with once a year trip.
- Understand the Marketing as a whole, which includes the sales force. Preach it!
- Hav an international sales force to see the business from a marketing point of view and not only numbers.
- Take the time to teach and monitor local Marketing Plans. It is your brand!
- Know each market: If you have decided to land your trademark in one market, you must know who your customers are and what they need.
- Make sure that your distributors really love cycling and your brand. If you do not do so then they barely can´t work with passion.
- Do not be tempted by globalization. Global Marketing strategies are reference guides, but it is necessary to adapt a them according to each local market reality.