Marketing Strategies when operating in the LatAm market

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According to the American marketing association, “marketing” is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. It is the business process of creating customer relationships and customer satisfaction.

Due to the development of technology, marketing is increasingly moving online and thus digital and online marketing are more and more in the foreground compared to traditional marketing. Latin America (“LatAm”) is no exception in this regard.

When speaking about establishing relationships with the LatAm customers and setting the proper goals, it is crucial to realize that a significant percentage of the LatAm population belongs to the generations Z and Y, which are characterized by growing up or living together in their youth (at least for a while) with mobile phones, the internet, social media, etc. Due to the latter and because of the influence of the latter generations many LatAm countries are already classified in the group of countries with an extensive number of web users. Provided that the technology is rapidly evolving, LatAm consumers are as a rule largely taking advantage of the extensive benefits of digital and online business. 

In addition, it is also important to have in mind that the majority of Latin Americans own a smartphone. In fact, LatAm is one of the fastest-growing mobile markets in the world. Personally, every time I visit any LatAm country, I am amazed by the number of people who have a mobile phone, and I am also talking about people with fairly low monthly incomes. In view of the above fact, it is not surprising that focus is turning to mobile marketing. 

Despite the latter generic observation, considering LatAm as a homogeneous territory (in this regard) would be a mistake. Of course it is true that Latin Americans have many things in common, however each and every country is different and demands a unique communication approach and strategy.  

Given all the above – what kind of marketing strategies should companies opt for when operating in LatAm? 

–         Social media advertising

Facebook and Instagram are the way to go! Researches have shown that the vast majority of Latin Americans discover a new brand through Facebook or Instagram. This two platforms are thus by far the most effective in getting LatAm consumers to learn about a new brand.  

–         In-app advertising

Latin Americans love mobile apps – the number of application downloads in recent years in LatAm is truly extensive. Social media (especially Facebook, Instagram and TikTok), messaging apps (especially WhatsApp) and games are strongly ahead in the number of downloads among LatAm consumers. This being said, investing in in-app advertisements on the mentioned apps can certainly lead into potent reach considering the big number of active users of this applications. 

–         AVOD (advertising-based video on demand)

Researches indicate a high level of engagement among users of mobile services in terms of consumption of entertainment and media among the LatAm consumers. Considering such a high level of engagement, AVOD (category of service where users are committed to watch advertisements in order to be able to access the content they wish to watch free of charge) is and will continue to be a potent tool for addressing LatAm consumers.

–         Influencer marketing

In LatAm there are more than 12 million influencers, whereby LatAm influencers are responsible for a significant percentage of all interactions in the region. The latter calls for leveraging influencer marketing in LatAm. 

As has become the norm in other parts of the world, cooperation with smaller influencers is recommended as the content presented by the latter is perceived as more trustworthy compared to the content created by celebrity-influencers. 

When it comes to implementation of the marketing strategy, regardless of whether is it a webpage, social media, blog, etc. the idiosyncrasies of a particular region should be taken very seriously.

In view of the above, it is necessary to take into account the importance of tropicalization! The term “tropicalization” stands for the adaptation of an idea or campaign according to the local context where it will be implemented. Tropicalization is crucial both, in terms of product or service adaptation as well as brand communication methods (e.g. slogans), considering the respective culture, habits and customs, the language use, etc. of the target audience. For example, let’s take a look at the anecdote of the company Coors beer and their slogan “Turn It Loose”. When entering the Spanish speaking market the company fall into quite an unpleasant and rather awkward situation because of not considering an adequate communication strategy. The company translated its slogan into Spanish language as “Suéltate”, which was interpreted as something related to having diarrhea. That certainly wasn’t the message the company wanted to convey, was it?

Furthermore, it is beneficial to be aware of the high efficiency of storytelling as marketing technique in LatAm, whereas the story about the product or service should be conveyed in a way that the company behind the product or service connects and bonds with the target audience via the local language, humor, etc. I can confirm from personal experience that Latin Americans respond well to pleasant, affectionate, joyful, sentimental stories and anecdotes. Also, an impactful story will inevitably stay in the mind of the target audience. This being said, tailoring the communication strategy with awareness of the above will surely lead to success. 

What other aspects would you highlight as crucial when planning a marketing strategy for operating in the LatAm market?

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