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A Closer Look at the CIVETS Countries - Social Media, Tech, & Mobile Potential

Ryan Buddenhagen, May 16, 2012

In yesterday's post, I looked at emerging markets which I have discussed before, but with inspiration from a piece by Christian Arno (Search Engine Watch) this time I addressed them in terms of particular groupings of countries that are expected to experience exceptional growth in the near future. The BRIC countries have been the champions of this realm for some time, but now it is the CIVETS countries (Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey, and South Africa) that are being recognized for their potential as being the next wave of emerging economies. Especially intriguing for those in the tech and internet industries is the fact that much of the opportunity that will become apparent in these countries will exist for these industries as characteristics such as the age of the population will greatly influence how the increases in money will be spent and the behaviors that will be engaged in.  Let's dive in deeper.

The Marketing, PR and Branding of Early Market Entry
I touched on this briefly yesterday, but the idea is that getting into a market early has distinct benefits in being the first to establish a foothold. Now, this does not guarantee success or long-term sustainability in the market, but it certainly gets the company off on the right foot in this direction. If the product is quality, marketed well, and strikes the right cord with the local audience, then that could result in the brand recognition and customer loyalty that brings a company the dominant position in a vertical when other players enter.

This also translates into dollars and sense in that the money spent early in the process for online marketing, advertising, gaining exposure, and establishing a brand in an emerging market can be less than if they were coming in and competing with several other brands immediately. This is a simplified look at the process but is still representative of the realities of such opportunities.

Localization - In Both Senses
According to Arno, these markets are rife with localization potential, so let's examine that. I think it's true in two ways. First, companies coming into the market can cater what they do including their web design and internet marketing practices to the local language and culture to further localize their efforts to where they are operating. This is something I have spent much time discussing the importance of, most recently looking at how French e-retailer Spartoo is making it a priority to localize their website experiences to each new market in a piece of my mine from last week.

Further, the opportunity for effective local search engine optimization will simply skyrocket as internet use increases in these countries. As more and more people use the internet and search for local information (a current favorite ad growing search behavior), an entire market for businesses to optimize their online presence for local searches targeting this traffic will take hold. Many of these businesses are currently not online, don't exist yet, or do not see any ROI at present because the mass of searchers has yet to get online in these markets in full force. There is a real opportunity for results-oriented SEO companies to assist these businesses in their optimization.

Real Factors of CIVETS Growth
The large and young populations of the CIVTES countries (populations of the countries range from 45 mill to 248 mill, all with median ages of 28.5 or lower). The younger population is more likely to do several things that will increase opportunity for internet and tech businesses. If developed economies are any indication, these young people will drive sales in technology as interest and financial resources increase, making more opportunity for tech companies to establish a presence. Further, the fact that the total population numbers are high only compounds the impact of what these young people do in the years to come.

Along with technology, internet use will climb as access increases and interest in social media and smartphones grows. If the social media experience of BRIC countries India and China is any indication, developing CIVETS nations can expect high social participation and engagement, as over 66% of online adults in urban India and China create content on social media platforms (Forrester). There is insufficient data on smartphone penetration in most of the CIVETS countries, but Egypt does boast over 25% at present. Using smartphones will drive increased searching behavior and further local search engine optimization opportunities in the countries.

In sum, there is great potential and businesses whose goals and industry characteristics align with the opportunities that exist, should consider involving themselves in these markets to some degree. For more information on any of these issues or international search engine optimization, reach out to me directly at rbuddenhagen@webimax.com and @ryanwbudd.

Need an Expert Contributor?

Ken Wisnefski is a seasoned web entrepreneur and a frequent contributor to news outlets and business publications. Ken’s vast knowledge of how to make online businesses succeed has made him a sought after consultant from businesses wishing to improve their online initiatives. Contact pr@webimax.com to collaborate!


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