Doing business with Web 2.0 in Latin America: Position yourself as an expert

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The [corporations]don’t know how to control their brand, because online marketing is a lot different from regular marketing. Regular marketing was about pushing a message, through radio or TV. But internet marketing is not about pushing a message, it’s about giving a message, leaving a message, and the message has to grow by itself, by users, by a community, by clients. That’s why they are afraid – they feel they don’t have control and power over their brands like you used to have with regular marketing.

Can you give a specific example of that type of fear?
I’ll give you an example from here in Peru. D’onofrio, in a big advertisement on TV, said “on this day you can buy one ice cream for one sol.” And they sell the ice cream in little carts here. So a lot of people went to the streets to look for these guys. And [the sellers]said it’s not really one ice cream for one sol. If you buy five, you pay five soles. People got together on Facebook — and it was a big time group — and they created a campaign against that campaign. And D’onofrio lost control. If you have consumers online, you have to be honest.

You feel that the Internet helps keep companies more accountable?
Yes. It’s like [consumers]can love you or they can kill you. They do both.

How would you advise small companies that never considered using the Internet to enter this online world?

For example, a local distributor of mangos. You distribute mangos to supermarkets in Lima, but you want to go global. You will go to the Internet first to do online branding, to locally position your brand. You will do forums, polls, blogs: talking about mangos, how can you drink mango in the summer, how are mangoes good for health. You can do a lot of things to communicate and position yourself as a leader.

They would do that from blogs and their website?

You can have a blog on a website; you can have a Facebook account, Twitter. You can make online marketing campaigns that you display in video portals, in different forums, blogs and social networks. But more important than the channels is the way you are going to communicate. You try being a leader on the subject. It’s not about selling mangos, it’s about being an expert on fruit in Peru.

Positioning yourself as an expert.

And as a reference. …

The strategy for the new media market is like this: Businesses have to learn that they cannot sell straight to customers. You cannot do that in Web 2.0. What you have to sell is value, information. If you’re in tourist services, sell all the wonderful things that can be done in the destination – all the things to eat, to visit, why they will leave content. You can position yourself as giving the best information and being the best resource for people to fly to your place.

When you give good information, you are going to another level. If you give good information, you will get attention. They will say “Well, I’m not going to go this time, but I like that they are giving information, and I will keep visiting, because maybe they will sell a package that I’m really into.”

After the attention, comes the conversation. These guys will participate in your site. You will not respond with a straightforward reply with a package for Cusco. You will respond with “What are you looking for? We are planning to have this…” You have made a relationship.

Then you make the negotiation. Those are the four steps.     

Tell us about the conference on Wednesday.

My target market Latin America. It is for business people at the high level and also entrepreneurs.

When there is a manager, for example, in order to do internet strategies they usually do three things. They go to a freelancer. Or they will go to the systems department and say “Oh, you are engineers, now you have to do marketing online.” Or they will go to an expensive consulting company and they will hire them to do a campaign that is not well done, that is not Web 2.0. What I want [these managers]to know is how to make online strategies. Just as they would go to a seminar for management, or innovation or for human resources, they need to know [online strategies]. I want the heads [of companies]to know how to do online strategies. And this goes for businesspeople, for politicians, for everyone that wants to use the Internet professionally.

Visit Christian Baldarrago’s website for more information. Click here for details on the conference Peru Web 2.0 (in Spanish).

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