Latin Interactive World: “Digital Power Houses”, Headways Media

Latin Interactive World: "Digital Power Houses", Headways Media

Last week in our "Digital Power Houses" series, Engel Fonseca, VP for Digital Value Generation North Cone at Harrenmedia, shared his opinions and other facts about the online advertising market.

Today, Portada interviews Mr. Dennis Brandl, CEO Mexico and Latin America for Headways Media. Dennis Brandl has been one of the first German consultants in the field of SEO and Online Marketing Performance. Mr. Brandl  tells us about the opening of the company´s Mexico office, how the company manages its advertising and outlines its goals and objectives for this year.

Portada: How would you describe Headways?

Dennis Brandl: “Headways Media is an online marketing agency, born in Germany, always eager to make our clients more successful through our high quality work.

We pride ourselves upon offering a performance marketing approach to our customers, which entails selecting and implementing the correct medium which suits the company´s target market and business goals. The main mediums which this company offers are Search Engine Optimization (organic ranking of websites on search engines), Search Engine Marketing (Pay per click campaigns on search engines and display networks), Social Media Optimization (marketing through social media like facebook) and E-mail marketing. We always choose the most appropriate combination of mediums to obtain the very best results for the clients.

This philosophy based entirely on the customer’s needs has proven extremely successful in the past.”

Portada: Who are your investors?

Dennis Brandl: “There are some, but they prefer not to be named.”

Portada: Who is your biggest client?

Dennis Brandl: “A 400 year old producer of electrical components, worldwide leader in its sector. Normally such companies don`t easily invest in Online Marketing. Their traditional way of marketing as well as their mindset is somehow not that much inclined towards the Internet as a means of marketing. However, we are now in charge of their online marketing in various countries all over the world. The success was massive as online competition was very low and with our expert help they could increase worldwide direct sales, which meant they could then omit commissions for external sales agencies.”

Portada: In which countries do you have offices?

Dennis Brandl: “Right now we have offices in Germany and Mexico. For some time we had offices in Belgium, France and The Netherlands. However, we decided to centralize operations to Germany in 2008, as we found that the short distances in Europe meant we could serve all our clients from one central location.”

Portada: We know you have opened a new office in Mexico for the Mexican Advertising market and pan-regional. Could you define the most important challenges at the pan-regional market?

Dennis Brandl: “A general challenge when entering new markets is the obstacles you face at the very beginning of operations. Legal issues, recruitment of good and skilled people, integration into the industry, brand positioning etc are challenges that we have faced.

Another challenge is that we have had to adapt to the culture of the target country. Especially in marketing this is an absolutely necessity. We also have to consider this different culture when setting expectations, making strategic planning and general operations.”

Portada: If you have to compare the European advertising market and the pan-regional, what do you think that has to be improved at the pan-regional market?

Dennis Brandl: “The market here is young and therefore there is a lack of common awareness. Participants in the market have to learn more about the service online marketing itself.

Service consumers must be aware of this possibility and have a basic understanding of its concepts. On the other hand the service providers still lack knowledge as well. There are agencies offering these online marketing services that barely know how it properly functions. Therefore there is high risk for those who buy it.

The best example is the service Search Engine Optimization. About 90% of the agencies here in Monterrey offer SEO services that are reduced to simple changes to the website. Unfortunately this is only the smallest part of the work entailed for effective SEO marketing. However, companies actually buy it! Of course the service will not have the expected results which negatively influences the customer relation AND the reputation of the service itself. This must be improved.”

Portada: And which features of the pan-regional market do you think that could Be important for other markets, like the European?

Dennis Brandl: “Here, personal relationships and networking play a great role. I think we somehow neglect this in Europe. Business is cold, providers are selected for their best offer, and changed for an offer a little lower, which might be considered short sighted. I think here in Mexico, relationships are valued more. This definitely helps you in the long run, because the cooperation of service providers and service consumers will be more efficient.

Besides, we learn a lot form this market entry. We gain experience in developing an industry in an emerging market. This will help us for future market entries, in Europe, such as those countries that just entered the European Union like Romania, Hungary or Slovenia. The markets that we see there are somehow comparable to the pan-regional market.”

Portada: Do you have plans to expand to others countries in Latin America?

Dennis Brandl: “Sure. The plan is to open another office in Mexico before we move on. Planning until now, we foresee a expanding our operations to a country in South America.”

Other articles in the "Digital Power Houses" series: