Portada interviewed Gonzaga Valdés (photo), CEO of iCrossing Latin America and Spain. iCrossing has recently bought Wallaby Group as part of its expansion into Latin America, Spain and the U.S. Hispanic market. Valdés talked to Portada about the recent acquisition and the future strategies and plans for the region.
Portada: How are you planning to work with Wallaby Group? Are you going to maintain the business structure?
Gonzaga Valdés: “Wallaby is now iCrossing Latin America/Spain, and I am a member of the iCrossing senior executive team. We will keep Wallaby’s structure, and we’ll also continue an integration that allows us to combine iCrossing’s experience, tools, and technology with my team’s in-country knowledge of Latin America and Spain that comes from iCrossing Latin America/Spain’s presence in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Spain. My team also shares iCrossing’s vision for building connected brands.
The integration is going smoothly. iCrossing’s acquisition of Wallaby simply formalized a relationship that had been succeeding already, as we had been collaborating to service brands such as Coca-Cola since 2009.”
Portada: What are your goals for next years in Latin America?
Gonzaga Valdés: “iCrossing is a leading digital marketing agency in the markets it serves across the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and South Korea. Our goal is clear: to adopt iCrossing’s mission to build connected brands for our clients while extending iCrossing’s reputation to Latin America and Spain.”
Portada: What are your projections in terms of revenues in the Latin American market?
Gonzaga Valdés: “We have a significant opportunity to grow our business in two major ways. One way is to tap into the iCrossing global network to service existing clients in Latin America and Spain. The other opportunity is to help iCrossing clients outside Latin America and Spain expand their brands into those important markets by capitalizing on the talent of the iCrossing Latin America/Spain organization.
Our goals are very ambitious, and today we have very solid foundations to achieve them. It is difficult to give figures at this point, but we are taking a quantum leap that will certainly drive our results in a very significant way.”
Portada: Do you plan to work in the U.S. Hispanic market?
Gonzaga Valdés: “The U.S. Hispanic market is very important, and even more so if we consider U.S. Hispanics under the age of 30 – a group that uses digital more heavily than others. iCrossing and iCrossing Latin America/Spain are creating a joint strategy for the U.S. Hispanic market to deliver for our U.S.-based Fortune 500 clients.”
Portada: How would you describe the Latin American market compared to the European market?
Gonzaga Valdés: “The market for digital is bigger in Europe than in Latin America, but Latin America represents the largest growth opportunity for global chief marketing executives. The economic downturn in Europe has compelled companies to streamline spending on traditional marketing campaigns, which has helped spur the development of digital marketing. We hope to see more creative digital marketing to emerge as the audience grows in Latin America, too.
I believe the use of social media and the application of creative standards for marketing in Latin America are gaining on Europe. The differences between Latin America and Europe are not great from a creative point of view.”
Portada: What strategies do you think could be "exported" from Latin America to Europe?
Gonzaga Valdés: “European marketers can learn from the way marketers in Latin America create digital campaigns in cost-effective ways. And Latin America can teach the world the value of face-to-face communication. Social relationships are the key to successful marketing in Latin America – offline and online. Latin America is a vast and diverse region but a small world when it comes to creating relationships at a personal level.”
Portada: What do you think needs to be improved?
Gonzaga Valdés: “Brands need to focus on the customer, treating digital and offline as complementary approaches to marketing that revolve around the customer journey. There are differences between online and offline marketing, but at the same time, marketers can harness their value to create more value.”