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Editor's Cut: Significant changes in Latin America
by Ryan Monceaux, Editor In Chief


MIAMI - Day one of @d:tech Latin America has come and gone and was generally regarded as a total success. The facilities are first-rate and again, @d:tech has the top movers and shakers in the industry. Miami has provided the perfect backdrop for an interesting dialogue on the future and potential of Latin America in the new economy.

The first day's sessions were highlighted by the opening keynote address by Sergio Zyman, former CMO of Coca-Cola and the founder of the marketing consulting firm Z Group. Mr. Zyman dealt with the premise that the era of marketing as we know it (and e-marketing, for that matter) is over. Zyman's speech covered a wide assortment of topics and focused on moving e-marketing from gambling to scientific marketing and on the rules for being a thriving e-marketer in today's evolving online world.

Zyman pointed out that the first and most important aspect of successful Online Advertising is strongly researched and scientific marketing. While that has become a given in the U.S., it is even more important in Latin America, where less advertising dollars, two major languages and a spread-out potential user group makes the potentially area difficult to navigate. With several major obstacles left to overcome before the Information Superhighway can pave over Latin America, Zyman introduced a few rules for handling marketing in the region.

One of his first rules was to make certain and not think of e-marketing as magic in the region. Just throwing money into advertising in Latin America is not the solution, Zyman said. Instead, proper investment, hard work and scientific research are the most effective ways to reach the masses in Latin America.

Another problem in the region (and globally, actually) is that marketers have not differentiated their products and services from those of their competitors. Zyman said that to consumers, all of the products look the same and there is no reason for them to search out and find which is best. He emphasized defining exactly what your company does as well as enhancing the value of the services you provide in order to focus in on what is the chief goal in Latin America: selling a product or service. Zyman said he sees too many companys straying from this, which ultimately leaves them behind their competition.

One-to-one marketing is "it" in Latin America. According to Zyman, many companies have come to the region with the mentality that they will phase-in developments that other markets already take for granted, thus allowing them to keep their share in the area. Competing companies will see this and take advantage of it, leaving those who attempted to nestle into the region in the dust. Personalized marketing and opt-in programs should be the focal point of marketing to the area, just as it is in the United States.

Sergio Zyman said that he thinks the Internet will grow 100,000 times faster in Latin America than most are predicting. He said the region is starved for the products, services and economic boost that only the Internet can provide. While many companies have taken advantage of an early window in getting into the market (the first mover advantage, as he explained it), there is still a small amount of time to get in on the ground floor on the Internet, salsa-style.



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