Cultural Knowledge Crucial Before Launching Products in Emerging Markets

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

Vehicles parked in front of the bank with the city as a backdrop.

ORLANDO—Prepaid companies seeking to enter international markets need to get a sense of the local scene before launching a product, Michael Hafer, senior vice president of global prepaid at Western Union, told attendees during a panel discussion here at Prepaid Exo.

The session examined what prepaid companies need to do to launch products in emerging markets worldwide. Hafer said it’s simply not enough for a company to identify new opportunities and launch products overseas:

“The importance of local and cultural knowledge is critical. The one think I’ve learned is if you work with a local team, you have to rely on those people to be your experts on the customers in those markets. It’s very critical to listen to what they have to say. Learn what motivates those consumers to use those products.”

In terms of identifying a new market, Hafer said companies need to determine if they can be successful providing a product for a particular prepaid vertical:

“Don’t start by identifying the size of the market. Ask yourself in the organization can develop a product that meets the need of consumers in that segment.”

Indeed, Hafer’s approach might be more important this year as Mercator Advisory Group anticipates mixed results in the international market in 2013. Growth slowed last year overseas as economies weakened. The market is likely to improve this year, but at a subdued pace as the world’s economy is still searching for signs of revival.

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