Derek Fears of Emprego Ligado Discusses How to Prepare for the Next Billion People in the World

Eighty-five percent of the global population resides in growth markets, representing a vast potential customer base for new and innovative products and services. To successfully target this demographic, industry leaders must first determine who the “next billion consumers” are and design their goods to meet their specific needs.

Derek Fears, Co-Founder and Head of Consumer Products at Emprego Ligado, recently joined us for an informative question and answer session. Founded in 2007 and based in São Paulo, Brazil, Emprego Ligado has swiftly developed into Latin America’s leading employment marketplace for blue-collar and service industry roles. During the Q&A, Derek discussed the ways in which other product managers and executives may apply the insights gained by his team when looking to expand into new markets.

The ability to think on a hyperlocal scale equals significant outcomes

Emprego Ligado has a mission to make the world a more prosperous and better place through linking businesses with hyperlocal workers. According to Derek, the benefits of this approach are far-reaching, not only demonstrating financial performance gains, but also providing positive social and environmental impacts. For example, the average commute time for a resident of So Paulo drops from three hours per day to less than one hour when using Emprego Ligado, reducing both strain on the public transportation system and greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, workers who are within four kilometres of their office have a higher retention rate than those who live further away, providing businesses with cost savings on recruitment and training.

Consider the business, user experience (UX), and technological perspectives.

Derek’s group was able to design and develop a successful product by taking a holistic approach to its management. They examined not only the financial implications but also the user experience and technological capabilities that would be required for it to be successful. Derek believes that for effective product management, it is essential to consider not only its profitability but also the user experience and technology needed to effectively execute the concept.

As a product manager, it is essential to utilise a framework for each project. This is especially true in developing countries, where it is important to be adaptable, localised, and as lightweight as possible. For example, in Brazil, where the average user’s phone only has 512MB of internal capacity, it is imperative to keep the design of the product minimal in order to compete for the space on the screen. A great example of this approach is the 1MB version of the Shazam app. This strategy is key for customer acquisition in Brazil and other developing countries.

Find your most demanding customer and cater to her needs.

Derek emphasises the importance of finding the “extreme user” and understanding how it applies to expanding markets. As an example, Aline from Sao Paulo provides an ideal case study. Aline is 22 years old and a single mother with a high school diploma. She only has a few jobs each year, and they are usually irregular and temporary. As a result, her income is quite low. In addition, Aline has limited access to a computer, uses a feature phone which often runs out of credit, and never leaves her local area due to a lack of internet connection. This means that she rarely embarks on any journeys.

Many of Emprego Ligado’s customers inhabit digital realms that are vastly different from Aline’s; they possess more sophisticated mobile devices, enjoy more dependable access to computers, and their digital behaviours are more similar to those in well-established nations. Furthermore, there is a wide range of users situated in the intermediary. By customising their product to tackle Aline’s issues, Emprego Ligado has the potential to target all of these varied demographics.

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