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Written by Ken Roberts on 24 September 2012. Posted in Marketing Connections

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NettApp Latin America's Camila Valdez asked about web-based marketing programs for re-sellers. (PHOTOS: Carlos Miller)

2013 is nearly here, and with it, the need to devise new budgets.

In marketing for Latin America and the Caribbean, some trends for the new year include greater emphasis on digital marketing and better targeting of events to reach potential customers, not just a broad audience.

Participants in WorldCity’s Marketing Connections discussed trends for 2013 in their September meeting, emphasizing the growing role of the internet for companies to reach distributors, advertising agencies, customers and even marketing peers for the months and the years to come.

One indicator of digital’s rise: a greater role for bloggers. Companies now are including key bloggers on press release lists, inviting them to events and giving them status similar to traditional media, said Annabel Beyra, owner of Fusion Communications, which works with clients from CNN to MasterCard.

More campaigns also are moving to mobile devices, such as smart-phones and tablets. Mobile now is popular in Latin America for everything from ads to promotional codes to training, said
Marcio Moerbeck, marketing manager for northern Latin America and the Caribbean for VMware warned of "cookie stuffing."
 Hernan Brana, a director with MarketLogic, a Miami-based firm that works with multinationals regionwide.

“Mobile is not the future. It’s now,” said Brana, as participants noted 20 percent of Mexico’s market uses smart-phones and that even simpler cellphones sport big screens apt to receive marketing content.

Many global companies also are offering ready-made marketing campaigns on their websites, so that partners abroad can download those packages and use them. The campaigns can help distributors, re-sellers and others that may lack marketing staff and expertise to effectively promote a company’s goods and services in their country, said Roberto Ricossa, vice president for the Americas for telecom equipment maker Avaya.
But so much information on the web also raises concerns about data overload. For example, how can distributors and re-sellers of varied products in Latin America know which campaigns to choose and how to best execute them for their local market?, asked Camila Valdez, marketing manager for Latin America for NetApp, which focuses on storage and data management solutions. 

That’s where relationships and call centers come in, said Ricossa. Avaya has its reps in Latin America sit down with distributors to discuss their goals and help them choose marketing options. Plus, it directs questions on its products and services - including many posed on Facebook and Twitter - to Avaya call centers, where specialized staff can answer customer queries, said Ricossa. 

To keep strong communications flowing, social media plays a growing role for business. But effective marketing on social media means more than launching a Facebook page. Executives need to figure out their goals with social media, said Marcel Castro, founder and chief executive at MarketLogic. They need to answer such questions as What’s my message on this Facebook page? How does my message differ by country?

Abel Delagado, representing the multinational U.S. Media, makes a point.

Some companies use Facebook pages mainly to post pictures of events. But while events help build personal ties, it’s important that companies invite the right people, so meetings and parties can translate to sales, participants said. That means keeping careful lists of those attending, with business e-mails and other business data, and checking those lists against sales – a practice too often overlooked.

Tracking data also is vital to identify prominent bloggers and popular websites for ads. But when analyzing website data, beware of “cookie stuffing,” warned Marcio Moerbeck, marketing manager for northern Latin America and the Caribbean for VMware, known for virtualization and cloud computing.
that’s when a site puts a “cookie,” or small bit of text on your browser, to direct you to another site. Often, the cookies generate a referral and referral fee for a site. To market effectively, check that web sites with high numbers offer relevant content and came not only from referrals, suggested Moerbeck.
The trend toward digital marketing suggests that marketing departments will need more money for information technology in the future. Ricossa said he read an article recently that suggested by 2017, chief marketing officers will have greater IT budgets than chief information officers at big companies. 

“When I read that I said, “Yes,” Ricossa said joyfully. “Just four more years.”

Marketing Connections is one of five events series organized by WorldCity on international business topics. The marketing series is sponsored by Fusion Communications and MarketLogic. The next marketing event is set for Nov. 9. 

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