Discover how MCI is helping associations tap into new opportunities in “LATAM”.
MCI is helping associations make the most of the opportunities in South America. Renata Pozza, Association Solutions Director at MCI Brazil notes that "The economic growth forecast for Latin America in 2023 was 2.3%, according to the World Bank. This outlook is influenced by the sustained low economic growth globally. However, the worst moments of the post-pandemic inflationary wave have already passed. The best opportunities in the region lie in environmental investments, focusing on the establishment of companies geared towards the green transition.”
Latin America in numbers
Home to 650-million people
Accounts for 5.26% of the world’s GDP
The LATAM region consists of more than 20 countries and is characterised by a mix of emerging and developing economies. Each state has its own set of opportunities and challenges, and each has a unique cultural, economic and political landscape. As Renata notes: “Engagement is about more than simply translating what worked elsewhere – it’s about successful adaptation.”
The key industries and sectors driving opportunities are:
- IT: The IT sector is experiencing significant growth. Increased internet penetration, smartphone usage and digital adoption have created opportunities in areas such as software development, e-commerce, mobile applications, and digital services.
- Healthcare: The content produced by American medical associations is highly appealing to Brazilian doctors. Therefore, this presents a good opportunity for medical associations looking to expand in the region.
- Manufacturing and automotive: The region has a strong manufacturing base. Engineers with the correct training and certification are in short supply.
- Infrastructure and construction: Latin America requires extensive infrastructure development to support its growing population. Again, the training of engineers is of critical importance.
- Agritech: The region is a major exporter of agricultural commodities, but it represents only 5% of the global agrotech market. There have been huge investments in this area, but there are still great opportunities.
- Renewable energy: Latin America has been investing in renewable energy projects – mainly solar. This is driven by the need for clean and sustainable power sources.
- Financial and fintech: Fintech innovations and digital banking services are driving growth in the region. The 2023 Brazilian Bank Congress attracted an audience of 45 000.
- Real estate: Cities are experiencing rapid urbanisation and tourism growth. Mexico City, São Paulo and Bogotá have attracted significant real estate investment.
WATCH: Tiago Ricciardi, Business Development Director of MCI Brazil, discuss the unique opportunities for building a community of consumers in Latin America.
Market-entry strategies for Latin America
Renata says that strong relationships are key: “Latin American business culture places a high value on personal relationships. Invest time in networking, attending trade fairs and industry events; build trust with local stakeholders, customers and government officials.
These are Renata's top tips for success:
1. Form partnerships with local entities and alliances with related field associations.
2. Adapt to local culture.
3. Define your priority markets and initiate your operations in them with a soft opening in the region.
4. Adapt your pricing strategies.
5. Customise your product.
6. Facilitate multi-currency payments.
Breaking it down
US Associations are recognised but entering this market in partnership with local associations would be more effective than independent entry. To increase sales, Renata advises Associations to prioritise the regions that are most relevant:
- Brazil is the most important market in Latin America due to the considerable size of its population and the power of its economy. Associations here are strong and traditional, with the main product usually being a congress. People are eager to learn and highly value international education. There is an opportunity to offer good quality education, certification and online content.
- Mexico represents a secure pathway for the global expansion of American Associations due to its proximity to the US and the size of its population. Associations here offer mainly an annual congress but no continuing education. There is a lack of adaptation to new consumer habits.
- Colombia is emerging as a compelling opportunity for international partnership. A good market strategy is to leverage Colombia as a regional leader, integrating smaller countries. Again, there is an opportunity in the provision of congresses and online continuing education.
- Panama, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic offer opportunities too as they are closely connected to American culture and do not produce competitive content or congresses.
WATCH: Tiago highlights the opportunity for Associations to provide online content.
Case #1: American Medical Society's growth in Latin America
- Challenge: The challenge at hand was twofold: to increase brand relevance throughout the region and to formulate a strategy for sustainable growth across Latin America.
- Our solution: Capitalising on MCI's expertise, we homed in on an initial strategy that involved cultivating partnership relationships with national associations in Latin America. Additionally, we aimed to solidify an annual event showcasing highlights from the American congress.
- Foster partnerships with societies, local institutions and other relevant entities.
- Establish a continuous regional platform for product sales or membership.
- Identify specific regional needs to tailor products and programmes accordingly.
- Successfully secured partnership agreements with 12 Associations across Latin America.
- Positioned the event as the primary regional gathering in the field, attracting 6,500 participants across various editions.
- Successfully consolidated positioning, making the event a landmark in Latin America.
- Adapted guidelines and developed impactful training projects.
Case 2: American Healthcare organisation's strategic expansion into underserved markets
- Challenge: Identify untapped markets with growth potential for the American Medical Society.
- Our solution: Leveraging MCI's strategic consulting expertise, the Healthcare organisation aimed to tailor its approach to the unique needs of each selected country in Latin America.
- Strategy: Engaging in a comprehensive "Voice of Customer" methodology, collaborating with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) from professional associations and the pharmaceutical industry. This involved developing a deep understanding of the educational needs of the physicians, mapping the landscape in each country, and recognising opportunities for the Society.
- Outcome: Successfully identifying top 5 short and long-term opportunities, the American Medical Society's global project spanned across Latin America and fostered sustainable growth for the Healthcare organisation.
There are opportunities for associations to leverage education and congresses in Latin America. To discuss opportunities, please contact Renata Pozza, Association Solutions Director at MCI Brazil.
* Associations’ drivers of global growth series
Achieving clear and successful global growth for associations demands a strategic approach that encompasses several key attributes. MCI’s global strategy for associations is deliberate, proactive and informed by local insights, with a commitment to prioritising growth.
This is the third in our Drivers of Global Growth Series, which is based on the learnings shared in our Global Growth Workshop. Each article focuses on a different region.
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