Joe Kutchera, the author of “Latino Link” a book recently published by Paramount Books, has interesting views on how to market and publish to Latin American – panregional audiences.
We talked to Joe about Latin American online marketing strategies. Below is the Q&A.
Portada: What features does a product/content have to have in order to be marketed successfully panregionally with no or very little local fine tuning?
Joe Kutchera: “Marketers that want to target wealthy Latin Americans could successfully launch a pan-regional site. Why? The wealthy of each country have far more in common with each other than they have in common with their fellow countrymen. They travel internationally. They speak English. They are well-educated (and many have studied abroad). They own fancy watches and cars. That demographic presents a unique opportunity for a successful pan-regional site in Latin America.”
Portada: What mass sites are popular pan-regionally?
Joe Kutchera: “Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Terra, and a handful of other sites. Each of those features an extensive amount of local fine tuning and personalization. A website can only expand globally today by incorporating those tactics as online markets become much more sophisticated. Many localization features can be automated. In addition, most global sites now enable users to personalize how they experience a site by entering their own personal profile information. User generated content can compliment local editorial customization as well.”
Portada: Your book, Latino Link, features a case study from the jobs and recruiting site, Monster Worldwide. Does Monster have a site targeting US Hispanics or only Mexico? Does Monster have other sites in the Spanish-speaking world? Can Monster grow its brand pan-regionally in all Spanish-speaking markets? If not, what would you advise it to do so?
Joe Kutchera: “No, Monster has not launched a U.S. Hispanic-dedicated website. But, they have evaluated the opportunity. As you'll see in its case study in the book, Monster has rolled out its websites globally on a country-by-country basis. Its Latin American headquarters in Brazil have centralized many backend functions for the region. Nevertheless, the company very much focuses on customizing and localizing each country specific website as its needs for each country are different even though they share the same language, Spanish. The reason why I included Monster in Latino Link as a case study was that they provide a great example of how to scale out web businesses pan-regionally while at the same time customizing sites for every region and even personalizing information for each user.”
Portada: I understand fulfillment is a challenge for the development of e-commerce. How so and what do you propose to overcome this hurdle?
Joe Kutchera: “International e-commerce represents a very large business opportunity as consumer demand for products across borders is high. Yet, enormous hurdles exist like taxes and international shipping fees. What's most interesting is how Latin Americans go around the hurdles and shop in the U.S. Mexicans, it is estimated, spend $40 billion annually on products and services in the U.S. Why? Because laptops, for example, in the U.S. cost about half of what they do in Mexico. Higher taxes and less competition in Mexico make prices higher. So, Latin American consumers go out of their way to travel and shop in the U.S. The Internet then becomes a key shopping and planning tool for Latin Americans who shop in the U.S.”
Joe Kutchera is the Author of Latino Link: Building brands online with Hispanic communities and content (http://amzn.to/latinolink) and a leading speaker and advisor on reaching Hispanics, multicultural Americans and Latin Americans online. Mr. Kutchera works with Insitum, an innovation, design, and market research consultancy, which helps companies develop new products for the Hispanic and Latin American marketplaces. Insitum has offices in Chicago, Mexico City, Bogota and Sao Paulo. You can read Joe's columns about best practices for reaching Latinos online on MediaPost and Portada.