You don’t have to talk with Mark Towery for a long time before you hear the word “dynamic.” He’s the managing director of the Atlanta-based management consulting firm Geo Strategy Partners and has been applying his trade for some 30 years.
The firm’s focus is on business-to-business market research, which he considers different from a lot of what passes as research. “B2B research is different — a smaller universe of difficult to access decision makers who are subject matter experts, a need for both intelligence and insights” and “ever changing competitive dynamics.”
Those changing dynamics send his team onto oil rigs to talk with the riggers about the kind of gloves they need. They send his staff to poultry plants to see chickens eviscerated or metal shops to get a close-up view of a manufacturing process.
They don’t mind getting their hands dirty to figure out how to help a company develop a survival strategy in the face of ever changing, oh yes, “dynamic marketplaces”.
“Strategy is emerging as a clear discipline,” he told attendees at an Association for Strategic Planners Annual Conference in Washington. “The faster paced and more dynamic and more competitive the markets are, the more important the strategy is.”
So why open an office in Managua, Nicaragua, not a traditional location to anchor a regional headquarters compared to Beijing or Hamburg, Germany, where Geo Strategy has its other regional offices?
“We are excited to be in Nicaragua to expand the firm’s business-to-business (B2B) industrial market research and growth strategy capabilities and reach,” according to an Aug. 11, news release.
During an interview with Global Atlanta, he added that Geo Strategy has been doing business in Latin America on behalf of its clients for more than 15 years. While Colombia is definitely on his wish list for an office, Nicaragua had some compelling advantages.
“First, it’s only three hours and 45 minutes away,” he said, noting that he wished Delta Air Lines Inc. would reduce the cost of the non-stop flight to Augusto C. Sandino International Airport, named after Augusto Nicolás Sandino a Nicaraguan revolutionary and leader of a rebellion between 1927 and 1933 against the U.S. military occupation of his country.
While Augusto Sandino’s name was appropriated by the Sandinistas Liberation Front whose leader Daniel Ortega was re-elected as president in 2006, Mr. Towery dismissed the anti-U.S. biases saying “the war was over 25 years ago, and the up and coming generation has little or no memory of it. Even Ortega is a different Ortega, who is more pragmatic and pro-business and for economic development.”
Mr. Towery lists among Nicaragua’s advantages its role as a base from which to serve the region due to its “low cost platform.”
“You can hire local talent in certain disciplines for very competitive rates,” he said, “but those we hire I would put up against anyone in the world.”
Obviously supportive of his staff, he added, however, that to find the employees “who can meet our level of competence and professionalism takes a long time to find. We interview 15 for each one we hire.”
“In terms of security, Nicaragua is arguably the safest county in Central America,” he added. “It’s also a fairly small community in which you can quickly become integrated.”
He also praised PRONicaragua, the Nicaraguan Investment Promotion Agency, established in 2002, which he credits with facilitating the opening of the Geo Global Strategy’s local office.
He decided to open the office with a view of implementing a three pronged business model: a back office providing administrative support for its customer relations management, a regional platform to support pan-Latin American studies for its global clients and a local firm serving clients in Nicaragua and Central America.
The office already is indispensable when working on Latin American projects. In the past Geo Strategy has relied on partners in the region, but will now manage them from Nicaragua.
For instance, a project that it currently is working on for the Malaysian Rubber Association’s activities in Argentina and Brazil is to be handled out of the Nicaraguan office.
The office also will provide a slight twist on its traditional activities. By serving as a front office for Nicaragua and Central America it will provide its services ad market research for business-to-consumer accounts as well.
The company lists an impressive array of clients including the likes of Alcoa, Dow Chemicals, Pfizer, Siemens, LG, Hitachi, Kia, Lockheed Martin and Monsanto, and the list goes on.
Globally, Geo Strategy helps clients identify new market and new product opportunities, competitive advantages, take advantage of competitive strengths, find sustainable growth models, develop, go-to-market strategies, encourage growth through partnerships and acquisitions and this list goes on as well.
For instance, in relation to its work in mergers and acquisitions, the firm will advise on strategies for acquisitions, sales, divestitures, joint ventures, succession planning and valuations.
And what of the language barrier? As an indication of his seriousness, Mr. Towery is in an intense Spanish-learning mode.
Mr. Towery may be reached by calling 770-650-8495 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org