Publicitas´ 30th birthday and we spoke with Grace Palacios, CEO Americas, about the state of advertising and media market in Latin America, the possibilities for development and what are the major events in recent years.
Grace Palacios co-founded in 1980 Charney/Palacios & Co. In 1991, the firm was acquired by Publicitas, where she was responsible for the development and expansion of the business activities throughout Latin America. In 2008, Publicitas appointed her as CEO Americas, responsible for overseeing all business units in the Americas across Canada, the U.S. and Latin America.
Portada: When you started the business 30 years ago. What made you think that it was possible to seize the opportunity?
Grace Palacios: “During the late 70’s Miami started to position itself as the new gateway for the Americas and progressively many Fortune 500 companies began to set up their Latin American headquarters to oversee sales and marketing functions. In the process, media agencies also accelerated their presence to service these clients from their new Miami hub. My partner Cy Charney and I recognized the need to bridge clients and agencies with the leading media companies in Latin America and subsequently, Charney/Palacios was founded with this mission on July 1st, 1980.”
Portada: What are the four most striking differences between the panregional advertising and media market between 1980 and 2010?
Grace Palacios: “Over the past thirty years we have witnessed a historical evolution both in terms of the expansion and creation of opportunities in the scope of pan-regional media. There have been a multitude of factors that have evolved significantly over these past three decades:
First and foremost is the repositioning of the potential, size and diversity of the Latin American market in regards to the global landscape. While the region trails behind North America, Europe and Asia in most statistics, Latin America despite any economic and political situations confronted by one country or another during certain periods of time, has consistently demonstrated its resilience and ability to bounce back and capitalize on its emerging growth opportunities.
This growth has been directly linked to the dramatic evolution in pan-regional advertising options that have accelerated particularly since the mid-1990’s. Pan-regional advertising options evolved from only having a few magazines with regional coverage to the successful evolution of sophisticated newspaper groups and packages to the strong penetration of cable companies throughout the region to the growth of electronic and outdoor media and of course to the dramatic surface in the multitude of internet based companies and portals and online options offered by all media.
Such comprehensive media options and competitive media landscape have propelled a significant improvement in the sophistication of research and data as well as an array of in-depth market and comparative analysis regarding market penetration, demographics, audience behavior and the now key ROI metrics required today by all advertisers.
All of the above factors have undoubtedly had a very positive impact for pan-regional advertisers and media agencies to enhance significantly their ability to segment and target audiences throughout the region on a centralized basis and with the ability to plan, negotiate and place their ad campaigns across the entire gamut of pan-regional media options.”
Portada: We understand that print media has been the majority of your sales historically. How has the mix of your sales changed in recent years?
Grace Palacios: “Indeed, both Charney/Palacios and Publicitas our parent company built their market expertise and recognition based on their long standing relationships and representation agreements with the leading newspaper and magazine publishers in Latin America and around the world.
However, during this past decade both at a company and corporate level we have pro-actively and strategically focused a significant amount of resources in enhancing our digital expertise and online offerings leveraging the fact that many of our traditional media partners have successfully migrated their audiences into a myriad of digital platforms. Today, Publicitas Charney/Palacios has successfully expanded its online sales and positioning by incorporating into every media presentation and client proposal an integrated print and online component offering unique strategic offers that capitalize on the accelerated migration of budgets into digital platforms. Our digital portfolio will continue to develop into a significant segment of our overall sales initiatives and revenues.”
Portada: You now lead Publicitas in the Americas (including in the U.S. and Canada), what do you think the U.S. and Canada can learn from the media representation-placement business in Latin America and the other way around?
Grace Palacios: “The media evolution in particular of the publishing industry has been extremely similar across geographical regions based on the way that consumers have changed and new technologies have emerged. As such, while engaged in discussing insights on the opportunities and challenges in this new diverse and complex advertising environment with media companies outside Latin America, I have confronted a great deal of similarities on how global media companies have embraced this period of rapid change. As the strategic sales partner, Publicitas has focused the discussions on how advertisers can better drive their brands in this far richer media landscape while being able to quantify that our represented media is producing the maximum ROI for advertisers. In particular, our newspaper partners have a proven established credible brand that today is able to deliver an engaged and quantifiable audience that can be targeted to reach the niche audience qualified for advertisers. Therefore, whether our media partners are in Latin America, U.S. Canada, Asia or Europe, we are focused on capitalizing on the strength of their audience demographics and the ability to provide the metrics and transparency to advertisers.”
Portada: Where do you see the main trends going in the media representation-placement business going forward in general and in the Latin American sector in particular?
Grace Palacios: “There needs to be a clear differentiation in the market between an official media representation company and media brokers, as these are two very distinct roles. Clearly for Publicitas Charney/Palacios this is a very critical component based on the long- standing contractual relationships with our represented media companies throughout the Latin American region.
In terms of the future, based on the continued expansion and centralization of pan-regional budgets, the ability to provide comprehensive and competitive targeted media solutions through a cross-media landscape should continue to bring important value to both media agencies and advertisers.
The involvement and support of the media companies in partnership with their official representative will remain critical in creating and providing customized and comprehensive media solutions based on the client’s strategy and goals and growing the scope of pan-regional budgets.”