Step Two - Unite

Okay, so we know that Puerto Rico is under utilizing the Internet to conduct marketing. We know that in order to market on the Internet, we have to remove the negative stigma that it has among marketing and advertisers. We also know that we are clearly at a transition point for marketing in Puerto Rico.

The signs are everywhere, or more correctly, since there are a large number of billboards that are empty or contain obsolete ads, there are very few signs. Conclusion: Advertising budgets have been decimated and therefore marketers are unable to buy advertising like they used to. It's also noticeable in El Nuevo Dia. The number of advertising pages has dropped considerably. And while we can mostly ignore the empty billboards, because they make up such a small percentage of overall advertising spending, a shrinking Dia is alarming. Making up 60% of all ad dollars spent, if the Dia shrinks it means that the advertising community is hurting.

A slippery slope

Finally, we also know that the advertising and marketing community still refuses to deal with the obvious conclusion to this dilemma. With shrinking advertising budgets, they need a more cost effective way to reach their target demographics. I wonder if such a magic medium exists? Is there a mass media available that allows me to accurately target audiences in a very effective way?

Aha, I know, what about the Internet? I bet they are actively pursing all manners to get their messages out over the Internet. Well we know, from looking at all of the known metrics (and here), that local advertisers and marketers are NOT using the Internet. I wonder, why not?

Oh yeah, tee hee, I wanted to share another set of metrics with you. I wonder who comes out as the leading authority on Internet Marketing and Internet Advertising in Puerto Rico? Yes, it's true! I bet you didn't see that one coming did you? Really sad when you think about it, but none the less, it is what it is.

While I know that I've mentioned it somewhere, but after nearly 800 posts I can't seem to find it, so I'll repeat myself. It's probably either here or here. Anyway, the reason that the advertising community doesn't want to accept the Internet, is because they see it as a slippery slope to reduced profitability. If they begin to sell their clients on Internet marketing campaigns that cost a tenth (a hundredth?) of what they now charge for their current services, they believe that it will cannibalize themselves.

Their fear is that by selling services that are much cheaper than billboards, radio spots, television commercials, and full page ads in the Dia, they lose revenue. Guess what folks? I know you already are! Didn't we just cover that above, you know the smaller El Nuevo Dia and empty billboards.

What to do now?

Kind of makes you wonder though. If most companies are shrinking their advertising budgets, how are they getting their brand messages out? I guess they're not! Which is another nail in our economic coffin. If you accept the maxim that advertising equals sales, then we must conclude that since advertising is down, then revenues and profitability are also down.

In a way, I think that Banco Popular has it right, "Juntos se Puede." However, in my opinion, I think that they are going about it in all the wrong ways. More on that, in my next post. In many ways, it's gut check time. It's time to check our personal interests, our egos, and our "What's in it for me?" attitudes at the door and enter into a grass roots reinvention of marketing on the Internet in Puerto Rico.

It is time for everyone in the marketing, advertising, and technology community to band together and admit that the rules have changed. Marketing budgets will never return to what they were in their hey day in Puerto Rico. That means that, like it or not, the Internet must receive a larger amount of advertising dollars, but it also means that we've got to admit that the "faith" that we've placed in past technology leaders was done in vain (good word choice, don't you think?)

Step Two in Improving Internet Marketing for Puerto Rico

So I guess, what I've concluded is that we need to form a non-denominational group of participants in this new world of Internet Marketing for Puerto Rico. What I mean by non-denominational, is that this has to be a group of people organized around the belief that what is good for everyone is good for me, and that therefore means that no one "owns" the group that has a direct benefit from the success of the group. I've seen too many attempts at organization which have turned into a land grab for the credit of improving things.

You may not realize it, but Puerto Rico has a disturbingly empty technology community. In most large cities through out the world, technical user groups abound. For every key technology, there is a very active and organized user group. There are nearly NO user groups in Puerto Rico. Of course, this stems directly from our old friend the "zero-sum mentality." The hidden message behind the odd absence of user groups in Puerto Rico is that if I share technical knowledge with my peers or competitors, I'm giving them the tools to take away some of my pie.

Of course, nothing is further from the truth. What most people don't get is that ideas, or knowledge for that matter, is nothing with out execution. If I tell you how to market more effectively on the Internet, you still have to do it.

Recently I got a heads up about organizing a PodCamp in Puerto Rico. While I have a mixed set of emotions, as described above, maybe a regularly scheduled set of non-conferences is just what we need. If that's not it, then we'd better come up with something else, and quick. Every moment that we ignore the huge pink elephant in the room (Internet marketing and advertising is THE way out of our advertising slump), the more revenues and profits will decline. Which is the exact opposite of being helpful.

Flickr Creative Commons Contributor: @dipek

5 comments:

Anónimo

4 de septiembre de 2009, 07:14
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dijo...

Saludos,

Estoy muy de acuerdo con tus puntos con la excepción de que "There are nearly NO user groups in Puerto Rico". Bueno, al menos escribistes "nearly". Por lo menos usuarios de Mac siempre han tenido User Groups disponibles. Ahora mismo existen dos bien activos. Soy miembro también del InDesign User Group el cual ayuda un montón gratuitamente. He visto otros pero no soy miembro.
Lo que si me he dado cuenta es de los Groups en Facebook. Existen unos cuantos para publicidad y mercadeo en PR, pero no veo movimiento, ni reuniones, ni seminarios en general. O sea, que de que se puede... se puede. Nuestra cultura es un poco diferente en ese respecto. En EEUU si acostumbraba a buscar y compartir con personas que tengan los mismos ideales y problemas. En seguida que volvi a la isla, esos tipos de grupos no existían.
Por otro lado, cuales son las mejores herramientas que tenemos para mercadearnos por el internet local. En mi tipo de negocio, Facebook no genero ni una llamada en dos meses. Google Adwords si me ayudo a conseguir dos o tres clientes nuevos y reconocimiento de otros los cuales luego me recomiendan, pero eso luego de mas de tres años anunciandome. El problema con Google mayormente es que recibimos muchos anuncios que no nos resuelve. Si mi IP esta en PR.... por que sigo viendo anuncios de viajes a PR? Muchas veces veo anuncios de abogados en España o Chile! Basicamente, si el que se esta anunciando solo deja su promocion corriendo sin verificar los datos en Google, pues esta perdiendo el dinero. Lo triste es que Google Adwords pierde credibilidad y la gente empieza a ignorar esos anuncios.
Lo mismo en la television local. Si me quiero anunciar para que residentes en la isla vean mi anuncio de television, donde me anuncio? El mercado cambió demasiado y nadie presto atencion a los anunciantes.
Tenemos DirectTV y casi todos los anuncios son de Colombia y otros paises. Lo mismo con Cable, anuncios de Fox Caribbean, ABC Caribbean, etc. Estamos viendo anuncios de las Isla Virgenes! Y vistas las Islas Virgenes y ves anuncios de NY! DISH no lo he usado en la isla, pero me imagino que es lo mismo. Y para colmo, todos estos servicios alternos de television ahora te venden la cajita que graba el programa y le das FastForward a los comerciales. Pues, para que voy a producir un comercial y pautarlo en la television local?
Y del lado del consumidor de esos anuncios, quien quiere ver 20 veces un anuncio de Medalla durante el mismo programa??? Nadie, se perdio entonces la credibilidad de este medio tambien.
Al menos veo que la radio no ha sido afectada tanto como la TV. Si tenemos los problemas de que los dueños no son de PR. Al menos los anuncios en la radio son de negocios en la isla, por ende, el mensaje le llega al consumidor.

Ea, se me paso este pequeño comentario. Puedo hablar del tema por horas, sorry.

MC Don Dees

4 de septiembre de 2009, 09:58
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dijo...

Well, I'm glad that you've been able to locate and participate in Mac and InDesign user groups. Good for you. I'd have to say they stay pretty low under the radar because I know some pretty big Mac-heads and they've never once mentioned anything. Anyway more power to you. BTW, would you mind sharing a link to the MUG for other Mac-readers?

Your comments on figuring out the intricacies of using Google Adwords could very well have the source of it's lack of growth in PR. The key to any adword campaign is mastering how to match the right keywords, with the right ad, for a target audience. To further complicate things managing an adword campaign is a moving target, there is no one perfect ad. As search habits change, so must your ads. A good campaign must monitor, nearly daily, their results to ensure they still have a magical combination of keywords, ads, and audience.

You're also spot on with your Facebook group observation. Meetup was another technology that exploded every else, but here. I think there is some magical barrier that Facebook users hide behind which prohibits them from moving beyond a virtual connection. Any attempts to cross over into the face to face world, typically fails. A truly unique paradox, from the Isle of Paradox.

Thanks for the insightful comment and your readership.

Scylas

18 de septiembre de 2009, 16:31
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dijo...

I have been following your DondeQuiera blog for a while with particular interest on your posts about internet marketing (in general).

For the most part, I agree with you, the web market is on its infant stages and even tough internet penetration in Puerto Rico is fairly high companies are behind when it comes to adapt to online marketing and advertising. But heres the thing, I say "companies" and not users. I doubt Puerto Ricans are any different than the rest of Latin Americans when it comes to the web.

I agree that most advertising agencies are in bed with the expensive ads because it leaves fatter commissions, but that's how it is everywhere.

However, is there any reason that they should be advertising online? Anywhere in particular they should be spending their budget?

Looking at the most accessed websites from Puerto Rico, almost none of them are local. I know for a fact that ClasificadosOnline makes a lot of money, and Im pretty sure ElNuevoDia does too.

Are there any other popular sites in the island that I have missed?
I don't see any sites that generate enough local traffic or even non-local traffic to grab the attention of an ad agency.

MC Don Dees

19 de septiembre de 2009, 00:24
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dijo...

Man Scylas,

You sure know how to steal someone's thunder. I was working up to your ultimate conclusion. You're right, in terms of advertising there are few local choices. What do you think that means?

I would agree with your conclusion about Classificados Online, but I'm not so sure that El Nuevo Dia is doing as well. Yes they are the only game in town, but I think that their online revenues are small compared to their print income.

Users vs Companies - Don't those users work for those companies? Based on my experience the "zero sum" mentality makes the Puerto Rican Internet user a fairly unique creature. For me that is a game changer that no one I've ever met can deny nor provide any other viable explanation.

You raise some interesting points. I really appreciate you stopping by and especially for participating.

One of the points I'm trying to raise is that advertising on the Internet requires more marketing than merely coming up with some catchy copy and glittery graphics; it requires participation, it requires involvement, it requires adopting new rules to play in this new medium. A medium that daily becomes more critical in reaching target audiences with any accuracy or efficacy. But I'm getting ahead of myself, I'm already working on a post to help explain some of the new rules. I hope you hang around.

Scylas

19 de septiembre de 2009, 02:09
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dijo...

Don,

Thanks for the warm welcome, I will definitely stick around.

I gotta admit I'm not quite in the loop about the zero-sum mentality but think about this:

There are about 4 million inhabitants in the island, the average age is 36 years old (young). There are another 4 million Puerto Ricans outside of the island.

There are close to a million broadband connections in the island, and now we have iphones, blackberrys + those still using slower connections.

There is a market, not related to tourism, it just has not been exploited.

ElNuevoDia has a conflict of interest when it comes to developing their online business. It just isn't worth it for them; they are in the exact position the Wall Street Journal or the Chicago Tribune were in a few years ago... in fact they are in a better position, they are the only game in town... the other main news site is "Primera Hora" which is also owned by ElNuevoDia.

El Vocero doesn't have a decent website... and that's it for online newspapers in PR.

There are few non-tourism related sites that are even worth visiting (even thought there are a lot of good blogs). In fact, I would say DondeEs is one of the best Puerto Rican sites on the net.. I just don't understand who your target market is.

Communities usually arise out of a common need or an extremely cool idea. Why are there no more local choices?
I have no idea. But if there are incredibly popular local sites in Venezuela, Colombia, Chile and Argentina I would be surprised if it wasn't possible to get something going in PR.

If I was the top dog at any of the larger ad agencies in Puerto Rico and I had a budget of $1M to spend online, I would have no idea where to advertise. Facebook and Google are not local enough and ElNuevoDia is not very appealing.

There are over a million Puerto Ricans online every day.. yet ElNuevoDia only gets 90K hits (per quantcast)?