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Mario-CordonThe advantage of Open English is that the product has a real and huge “appeal”, says Open English CMO Mario Cordón. How was this “appeal” built?

The various advertising campaigns in different media platforms that have been running in Latin America and in the  U.S. Hispanic market are based on “a little mocking” type of humor, in Cordon’s words. All ads were produced in-house based on the strategy of reaching each and every single  person who would like to learn English. “We do not seek a particular segment, all demographics in Latin America recognize the value of learning another language such as English, either from a doctor, a student, an artist …, ” says Cordón.

 

persueychon.open.englishCordón himself mostly writes ads, as he did with the last ones “Spaghetti Western” and “Persueychon“. As for a campaigns’ creativity, he assures that the construction of dynamic stories and characters has worked out really well ” Characters already have names. The most famous  are called “Wachu ” and Open English “el calvito ” is Andrés Moreno, who is actually the founder of the company. There is a very fun dynamic there, because Andrés dominates perfect English and Wachu is not aware that his English is not very good. We were very lucky to have a great actor like Adrian Lara, who interprets “Wachu” in such a hilarious way.”

 

Portada: So, how would you define the strategy that is being implemented to reach this large audience?

Mario Cordón: “Our strategy is mostly based on asking ourselves more questions like: What will be the best way, in the sense of a  more scalable way to reach the entire region?, but we also try to always focus from a marketing’s point of view on the “performance” aspect. There’s a lot of controversy around the performance-branding debate, but as we see it any of them are totally exclusive.

The strategy has three points:

  1.  From the creative standpoint: going viral and get people to talk about the brand.
  2.  What media mix allows us to do what we want to do.
  3.  How to measure this.

The Media Mix

spaghetti.western.open.englishIn both“Spaghetti Western” and “Persueychon” campaigns, the media mix was based on TV and digital channels. “The big advantage we had is that our social media is really strong. Social Media is also something we do in-house. We have two pages on Facebook: one for Open English and another one for Andrés Moreno. ”

“Our social network accounts have around 3 million fans,” says  Cordón. “So it’s very pleasant to market in an environment with so many fans that are so responsive to the brand. It is very funny to do marketing for us.”

 Portada: How would you define the percentage of investment in each medium?

Mario Cordón: “We do not ask ourselves that question in that way. We do not decide in advance what percentage is going to be TV, what percentage is online. But, we have internally developed econometric models that tell us how much we have to invest. Especially in the mass media outline… . Besides, it’s not the same for us to advertise in January than to do it in September. Then, the percentage suddenly changes. It’s very dynamic. ”

Portada: Do you do programmatic buying in digital media?

Mario Cordón: “No. In digital media, we have direct purchases with specific publishers.We also advertise on Google Display and Facebook.”

Measurement

“Being able to measure productivity becomes very difficult because you set the guidelines but then the audience that follows you will response through phones, websites, everywhere. Then conversions are impossible to measure. That is why we prefer attribution by indirect methods. The best way to describe it is that we like to see the correlation between investment and numbers of students that have signed up, “says Cordón.

To Cordón, the key point is the interaction between the media: ” you invest more on TV and your pay search evolution goes up, then we know that there is an interaction and that we need to quantify it. We see other things as well, such as despite investing more money in online we notice that the index is scarcely up to what we attributed to TV. Then there is another interaction and the only way we have to measure it is with a continuous and consistent effort. ”

[quote] measuring the interaction between TV and digital media is a continuous and consistent effort. [/quote]

Online Video

“Video is critical for us, because people like our characters so much that they love to watch them all the time,” says Cordón. “We plan two types of videos: for engagement and response. And, how to deal with that tension? Testing, testing and more testing. It’s Amazing how sometimes you have a hypothesis, you do a test and it’s totally the opposite. One swears for example that a particular landing page will be the best, and then it is not. Or the other way round. It is a whole process of becoming a little bit more humble and say “well … let’s try.”

 

Doing business in Brazil is not only good business, but very rewarding. Alas, it is no easy feat.

At least, that was the consensus during an afternoon session at the last day of the Latin American Advertising & Media Summit in Miami, where panelists, Brazilians and non-Brazilians, shared some light on what to do  -and not do- when doing business in Brazil.

“Brazil is very rewarding, but it is really difficult,” said Mario Cordon, the Guatemala-born CMO of Open English. “There are a lot of similarities with the U.S., but there are also lots of differences too.” Cordon, whose web-based course of English has been a success in Brazil, said doing business in the country is unlike doing business in the rest of Latin America. “Sometimes Brazil feels like a different continent; a place that just happens to be in Latin America.”

Other panelists included Gastón Taratuta, the CEO of IMS Corporate, a digital marketing agency that does work for high-profile American companies, including Twitter and Netflix. Taratuta, who is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and English, also spoke of the differences between Brazilians and the rest of Latin America, and while he said speaking Portuguese is crucial to succeed there, the single most important thing is to find the right management team to operate locally.

Other piece of advice came from Diego Terán, managing director of MEC. “Brazil is not really one market. If you launch in Brazil, you have to pick your region; it’s more like doing business in the U.S.”

Panelists also touched on media and how Brazil -along with Argentina and Mexico- continue to be a TV-centric market. In Brazil, said Taratuta, 60 cents of every media dollar is taken by Globo; and Internet advertising has grown mostly because Globo didn’t want to focus on digital. An example on how small, dynamic agencies are helping change this landscape is IMS itself. According to Taratuta, when Netflix entered Brazil, it was going to allocate 80% of their media on TV and 20% in digital. “In the end, they ended up doing the opposite: 80% on digital and 20% on TV,” he said.

Among the advantages cited by the panelists of doing business in Brazil:

  • High-penetration of credit and debit cards
  • Brazilians are tech-savvy
  • High-penetration and adoption of Smartphones
  • Several important cities, not just one like in many Latin American Countries.
  • e-commerce is well developed
  • Brazilians are leapfrogging, skipping the landline and going straight to mobile; skipping PCs and going to tablets

 

Doing business in Brazil is not only good business, but very rewarding. Alas, it is no easy feat.

At least, that was the consensus during an afternoon session at the last day of the Latin American Advertising & Media Summit in Miami, where panelists, Brazilians and non-Brazilians, shared some light on what to do  -and not do- when doing business in Brazil.

“Brazil is very rewarding, but it is really difficult,” said Mario Cordon, the Guatemala-born CMO of Open English. “There are a lot of similarities with the U.S., but there are also lots of differences too.” Cordon, whose web-based course of English has been a success in Brazil, said doing business in the country is unlike doing business in the rest of Latin America. “Sometimes Brazil feels like a different continent; a place that just happens to be in Latin America.”

Other panelists included Gastón Taratuta, the CEO of IMS Corporate, a digital marketing agency that does work for high-profile American companies, including Twitter and Netflix. Taratuta, who is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and English, also spoke of the differences between Brazilians and the rest of Latin America, and while he said speaking Portuguese is crucial to succeed there, the single most important thing is to find the right management team to operate locally.

Other piece of advice came from Diego Terán, managing director of MEC. “Brazil is not really one market. If you launch in Brazil, you have to pick your region; it’s more like doing business in the U.S.”

Panelists also touched on media and how Brazil -along with Argentina and Mexico- continue to be a TV-centric market. In Brazil, said Taratuta, 60 cents of every media dollar is taken by Globo; and Internet advertising has grown mostly because Globo didn’t want to focus on digital. An example on how small, dynamic agencies are helping change this landscape is IMS itself. According to Taratuta, when Netflix entered Brazil, it was going to allocate 80% of their media on TV and 20% in digital. “In the end, they ended up doing the opposite: 80% on digital and 20% on TV,” he said.

Among the advantages cited by the panelists of doing business in Brazil:

  • High-penetration of credit and debit cards
  • Brazilians are tech-savvy
  • High-penetration and adoption of Smartphones
  • Several important cities, not just one like in many Latin American Countries.
  • e-commerce is well developed
  • Brazilians are leapfrogging, skipping the landline and going straight to mobile; skipping PCs and going to tablets

 

Mario CordonMario joined Open English after holding the position of Vice President of Marketing and Sales at Kaplan Virtual Education.  His TV campaigns at Kaplan were recognized by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals (AMCP) with the coveted Gold Hermes Award.  Previously, he held the position of Vice President of Marketing at Levenger, Senior Director of Marketing at Office Depot, and Strategy Consultant at Bain & Co.  Mario earned his Engineering degree at Lehigh University where he graduated Suma Cum Laude and his MBA at Duke University where he was awarded the Keller Scholarship.

Interview with Mario Cordon

Portada: Tell us a bit about your career so far?

Mario Cordon: I’ve been fortunate to have a diverse career.  I’ve worked in Latin America, Europe and the United States across a range of industries including Online Education, Ecommerce, Retail, Consulting, High Tech, Pharmaceuticals, and Newspapers.

Mypost-MBA career started when I joined Bain & Company, one of the top three firms in Strategy Consulting, where I advised Fortune 500 companies in matters related to growth and Mergers and Acquisitions.  As many consultants, I ended up transitioning back to the client side.For the past seven years or so, I have been able to work on a mix of Direct Marketing and Branding initiatives.  At Office Depot, for example, I spent several years in the Direct Marketing division with Revenues of $1.5+ Billion and very large scale marketing operations in a multi-channel environment. My biggest contribution was using Marketing Science to change the marketing mix at a business that was running flat for four years in a row so we could quickly engineer a turnaround and drive growth rates of 5% to 9% at the time. While at Kaplan Virtual Education, I worked extensively on successfully integrating branding and lead generation.  Our Kaplan Academy TV campaigns received the coveted Gold Hermes Award from the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals in the USA.

I then joined Open English in June of 2011with a high level of excitement about Andres Moreno’s vision to create the leading online English school in the world. At the time, Open English was in a true start-up phase and had recently raised its first round of funding from VCs. During the following 24 months, I found myself in the fortuitous position to help create one of the fastest growing and most exciting brands in Latin America today, fueling triple digit growth in revenuestwo years in a row and a building a massive fan base (we have over 1 million fans on facebook- and growing).  Our creative efforts paid off, resulting in one of the most viral TV campaigns in the region.  I love visiting Latin America and observing the multiple ways in which our audience engages with our TV creative concepts.  It’s so energizing to hear people shout “Eeeexito!”in true Open English style as I’m boarding an airplane in Miami or any city in the region, or joke about Repollo/Rechickenat restaurants, or sing “The books on the table, table.”   And the experience is even more rewarding knowing that all our TV ads were developed in-house.  And now we are actively writing our next chapter in the history of Open English.  Stay tuned – exciting things to come!

Portada: What makes an excellent CMO that targets U.S. Hispanic and Latin American audiences?

Mario Cordon: Becoming an excellent CMO that targets the US Hispanic and Latin American audiences is quite a challenge for two main reasons.

  • First, Marketing continues to evolve at a very rapid pace.  This is certainly not your  Father’s Marketing, so to speak.  The CMO has to be versed not only in traditional media but also in fast evolving online, mobile, and social media.
  • Second, the Latin American region is large and complex and continues to evolve along multiple dimensions (the same is true of the US Hispanic segment).

In light of these two reasons, my Top 10 list for an excellent CMO would include the following:

1.     Branding Guru and Profits Rain Maker – the CMO must go beyond being just a Branding Guru.  The has to be able to drive a profit center not just a cost center.  The CMO has to be able to focus on the business, not just on Marketing.This person should rise up to the challenge of driving a high ROI on Marketing activities.

2.     Left brain thinking and right brain thinking – must be creative but also quantitative.  Just one or the other is not enough.

3.     Have creative courage – mediocre creativity is not a trademark of a good CMO.  He or she must have the courage to explore new creative boundaries to break away from the pack.

4.     Community builder – an excellent CMO not only builds a community of customers but also builds win/win partnerships with internal customers (e.g., Sales), vendors, influencers and companies that can complement the go to market model.

5.     Situational awareness – there’s a lot of context to a brand.  Each brand has a history, a path dependence,  ameaning among multiple segments, and a place within a larger environment.  The CMO must have a very keen sense of the brand’s situation in order to make the best decisions to build brand equity.  One false move can have very detrimental consequences.

6.     A steward of customer engagement and experience – the CMO can’t stop at simply driving consumer engagement.  He or she has to be an advocate for a fantastic customer experience along all touch points with the brand, the product and the company.  There is no other way to drive a high Net Promoter Score and the rewards that come along with it.

7.     A wizard at marketing attribution – given the rise of digital media and multi-channel marketing, the art of attribution has become very complicated.  Understanding the ROI of each element of the marketing mix is a daunting task.  Unfortunately, it is also a mandatory task to achieve reasonable returns on marketing spend.  An excellent CMO understands how to arrive at the right attribution model.  He or she can smell mis-attribution a mile away.

8.     An orchestrator of the Marketing Value Chain – in today’s world just knowing advertising isn’t enough.  The CMO must have a solid grasp of the entire marketing value chain, including but not limited to:  PR, media planning, marketing analytics, market research, online reputation management, social media, creative development, financial modeling.  The CMO doesn’t have to be the expert in each part of the value chain, but he or she must understand how to build and orchestrate all parts of the value chain to deliver optimal results.

9.     Deep cultural and geographic understanding – Latin America is a region displaying mega trends.  The emerging middle class, the rate of broadband and mobile penetration, and the explosion in consumer credit are giving rise to unprecedented access to brands (whether local or global).  Does your CMO have a clear vision for how to tap into the confluence of these favorable trends?  However, the extent to which these forces are playing out differs by country.  Does your CMO have a good understanding of these differences or is he or she playing the wrong game in important markets?

10.  Be a true leader, not just another big shot.

Portada: Why are you qualified to talk about panregional and Latin American marketing/advertising?

Mario Cordon: Today Open English is one of the largest buyers of advertising on pan-regional cable in Latin America, one of the brands with the highest levels of social media engagement across Latin America, and possibly the fastest growing brand across the entire region.

Latin American Advertising and Media SummitWe are extending the Early Bird registration to our Latin American Advertising and Media Summit (Miami June 4-5, 2013), due to requests from our audience, to this Friday April 19th. Make sure to get your tickets by then to benefit from substantial savings!  Savings are even larger if you decide to also attend the Latin Content Marketing Forum (Combo Ticket).

Focus on Sports Marketing

The crucial role of Sports Marketing will be examined by Advertising and Media Luminaries at the Latam Summit in Miami’s Intercontinental Hotel on June 4-5, 2013. With the 2014 Soccer World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics taking place in Brazil, Sports Marketing will be crucial for successful marketing targeting Latin American Audiences. That is why “Getting Ready for the Big Game” is the main theme of the 2013 Portada Latin American Advertising and Media Summit
Major client side marketers will provide the latest insights and intelligence.  Ben Jankowski, Group Head Global Media, Mastercard, will jointly present with Virginia Pereira,  Head of Media Latin America, Mastercard on how MasterCard has activated sports around the world with a special emphasis on the  2014 Soccer World Cup and 2016 Olympics, both to take place in Brazil.

Mastercard’s  Jankowski is one of several marketing and media luminaries that will participate in the Summit. They also include:
Claudio Ferreira, Publisher, Veja Magazine. Veja is the second largest magazine in the world ranked by circulation and the largest and most influential in Brazil. Ferreira will answer questions such as whether Brazil’s decade-long expansion in consumer growth has hit the brakes. The Brazilian Media executive will also examine opportunities presented by the 2014 Soccer World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games.
Nick Denton, CEO and Founder, Gawker Media.  The British journalist and internet entrepreneur will talk about the latest trends taking place in the digital media world in a one on one on-stage interview with Portada’s Marcos Baer.

Other major client side marketers and agency executives that have confirmed their participation include:
· Leonardo Loisa, Sr. Regional Marketing Leader, AMD
· Axel Steinman, VP Emerging Markets, Advertising and Online Business, Microsoft Advertising
· Fernando Maroniene, Senior Marketing Manager, Adobe Systems Latin America
· Max Sichel, CEO, Grupo Copesa
· Virginia Pereira, Head of Media Latin America, Mastercard
· Todd Wilson, SVP, Managing Director,  Starcom Mediavest Group
· Mario Cordon, Chief Marketing Officer, Open English
· Jorge Laverde, Marketing Head, Latin America North, Nokia

Early Bird registration expires on Friday April 19th. Take advantage of the early bird here:
Latin Content Marketing Forum. Hispanic Content Marketing ForumThe Latam Summit will be preceded by the Latin Content Marketing Forum, which will take place in the same venue during the morning of June 4th.

The Latin Content Marketing Forum will analyze the enormous role content marketing can play in the Latin (U.S. Hispanic and Latin American) market space, which belong  to the fastest growing markets in the world.
Confirmed Speakers include:

Mariano Moro, Interactive Marketing Director Latin America, Coca-Cola
Damian Voltes, Director, Patagonia Ventures
Tom Gerace, CEO and Founder, Skyword
Nuria Net, Managing Editor, Features – Digital at Fusion, the ABC and Univision Joint-Venture
Nicol Turner-Lee, President and CEO at NAMIC
Javier Farfán, Senior Director of Cultural Branding, PepsiCo
Fernando Semenzato, VP Content, Fox international

Early Bird registration expires this Friday April 19. Take advantage of the Early Bird Combo registration (Latam Content Marketing Forum and Latam Summit!) here:

Sponsors:
Already Confirmed Sponsors of the Latin American Advertising and Media Summit include:
SPONSOR OF EVENING RECEPTION
Batanga Media
LEADER SPONSOR
Alcance Media
DISTINGUISHED SPONSORS
Publicitas 
DG
Televisa Publishing and Digital
ATTENDEE BAG SPONSOR
Latcom

Sponsorship Opportunities
To inquire how you can align your brand with these prestigious events, please call Kelley Eberhardt at (212) 685 44 41 or email her at kelley@portada-online.com.

Mario Cordon, CMO of Open English confirmed his participation at the 2013 Latin American Advertising and Media Summit, which will take place in Miami on June 4 and 5, 2013. Open English is a top 15 cable Advertiser in Brazil and will soon also introduce marketing campaigns targeting the U.S. Hispanic market. Todd Wilson, SVP, Managing Director at Starcom, an agency whose media buying and planning accounts includes Samsung, Telefonica and Procter & Gamble, will also be participating.

Latin American Advertising and Media SummitPortada’s Latam Advertising and Media Summit is the Annual Meeting point for the Global Latin Advertising, Media and Content World (Latin America, U.S. Hispanic and Spain). In its fifth annual edition, and taking place at the newly renovated Intercontinental Hotel in Miami, the 2013 Latam Summit will be a two-day event brimming with fresh ideas, market intelligence and networking opportunities. The Summit can be sponsored and attended in combination with the Latin Content Marketing Forum , which takes place in the same venue in the morning of June 4. Take advantage of the early bird combo rate to attend both events (expires this Friday April 12)!

Other major speakers participating in the Latam Summit will include Ben Jankowski, Group Head Global Media at MasterCard, who will jointly present with Virginia Pereira, Head of Media, Latin America on how MasterCard has activated sports around the world with a special emphasis on the 2014 Soccer World Cup and 2016 Olympics, both to take place in Brazil. The theme of this year’s Latam Summit is “Getting ready for the Big Game.”

Other major marketing and media luminaries Summit attendees will have the opportunity to listen and talk to include:

  • Nick Denton, CEO and Founder, Gawker Media
  • Claudio Ferreira, Publisher, Veja Magazine
  • Fernando Maroniene, Senior Marketing Manager, Adobe Systems Latin America
  • Leonardo Loisa, Sr. Regional Marketing Leader, AMD
  • Axel Steinman, VP Emerging Markets, Advertising and Online Business, Microsoft Advertising
  • Max Sichel, CEO, Grupo Copesa

Make sure to take advantage of the early bird registration expiring on Friday April 12!

 

Mario Cordon, CMO of Open English confirmed his participation at the 2013 Latin American Advertising and Media Summit, which will take place in Miami on June 4 and 5, 2013. Open English is a top 15 cable Advertiser  in Brazil and will soon also introduce marketing campaigns targeting the U.S. Hispanic market. Todd Wilson, SVP, Managing Director at Starcom, an agency whose media buying and planning accounts includes Samsung, Telefonica and Procter & Gamble, will also be participating.

Latin American Advertising and Media SummitPortada’s Latam Advertising and Media Summit is the Annual Meeting point for the Global Latin Advertising, Media and Content World (Latin America, U.S.  Hispanic and Spain). In its fifth annual edition, and taking place at the newly renovated Intercontinental Hotel in Miami,  the 2013 Latam Summit will be a two-day event brimming with fresh ideas, market  intelligence and networking opportunities. The Summit can be sponsored and attended in combination with the Latin Content Marketing Forum , which takes place in the same venue in the morning of June 4. Take  advantage of the early bird combo rate to attend both events (expires this Friday April 12)!

Other major speakers participating in the Latam Summit will include Ben Jankowski, Group Head Global Media at MasterCard, who will jointly present with Virginia Pereira,  Head of Media, Latin America on how MasterCard has activated sports around the world with a special emphasis on the  2014 Soccer World Cup and 2016 Olympics, both to take place in Brazil. The theme of this year’s Latam Summit is “Getting ready for the Big Game.”

Other major marketing and media luminaries Summit attendees will have the opportunity to listen and talk to include:

  • Nick Denton, CEO and Founder, Gawker Media
  • Claudio Ferreira, Publisher, Veja Magazine
  • Fernando Maroniene, Senior Marketing Manager, Adobe Systems Latin America
  • Leonardo Loisa, Sr. Regional Marketing Leader, AMD
  • Axel Steinman, VP Emerging Markets, Advertising and Online Business, Microsoft Advertising
  • Max Sichel, CEO, Grupo Copesa

Make sure to take advantage of the early bird registration expiring on Friday April 12!

 

Ben Jankowski, Group Head Global Media at  MasterCard, has just been added to an impressive roster of speakers at our Portada Latin American Advertising and Media Summit on June 4 and 5 in Miami.    (Make sure to take advantage of the early bird registration expiring this Friday April 12).

Latin American Advertising and Media Summit Jankowski will jointly present with Virginia Pereira,  Head of Media, Latin America on how MasterCard has activated sports around the world with a special emphasis on the  2014 Soccer World Cup and 2016 Olympics, both to take place in Brazil. The theme of this year’s Latam Summit is “Getting ready for the Big Game.”

Jankowski is one of several marketing and media luminaries that will participate in the Summit. They include:

Claudio Ferreira, Publisher, Veja Magazine. Veja is the second largest magazine in the world ranked by circulation and the largest and most influential in Brazil. Ferreira will provide an in-depth overview of the latest economical and political developments in Brazil as well as an outlook for the next decade.

Nick Denton, CEO and Founder, Gawker Media.  The British journalist and internet entrepreneur will talk about the latest trends in digital media.

Additional speakers we recently got confirmation from, include Mario Cordon, CMO of Open English, a top 15 Cable Advertiser  in Brazil and of Todd Wilson, SVP, Managing Director  Starcom, an agency whose media buying and planning accounts includes Samsung, Telefonica and Procter & Gamble.

Portada’s Latam Advertising and Media Summit is the Annual Meeting point for the Global Latin Advertising, Media and Content World (Latin America, U.S.  Hispanic, Spain). In its fifth annual edition, and taking place at the newly renovated Intercontinental Hotel in Miami,  the 2013 Latam  Summit will be a two-day event brimming with fresh ideas, market  intelligence and networking opportunities. The Summit can be sponsored and attended in combination with the Latin Content Marketing Forum , which takes place in the same venue in the morning of June 4. Take  advantage of the early bird combo rate to attend both events (expires this Friday April 12)!

Learn more about the enormous role Online Video can play in the Latin (Latin America and U.S. Hispanic) marketing space. Book now for our Latin Online Video Forum, a required event for any marketing professional.