Why Internet Marketing Sucks in Puerto Rico

Roman Emperor Trebonianus GallusSometimes I'm afraid as coming off as someone who puts everything down, and I can see how that might be an unintentional result. However, I want to believe. I really do! I've met most of the players and I know they are smart, well qualified professionals, with mostly good intentions. It's just that I'm not sure where the line is drawn between what they want to do, who they claim to be, and what I can witness and objectively conclude.

I think this comes from having heard too many people, make too many promises that are never fulfilled, that I've adopted a proof is in the pudding (btw, a shortened version of an old Jewish proverb "the proof of the pudding is in the eating.") mentality. For me, actions speak much louder than words, and when you stack up the evidence against some things, I'm afraid that what is said, and what may be the intent do not match the evidence.

So in this post I just want you to see what I see. I see three organizations who claim to be the leaders of Internet technology, marketing, and advertising. However, what I see again and again, are high qualified professionals trying to do the right things, professing what are the right things to do, but who don't DO any of those things on their own or in their respective organizations.

A lesson that I try to teach the young'uns is that whatever you want to be, the only way to master that goal, is to do the things a professional in that career does. For instance, if you want to be a programmer, then you have to write a lot of programs. If you want to be a singer, you have to practice singing all the time. Or if you want to be the next Ivan Rodriguez or Roberto Clemente, you have to play a lot of baseball. Simple, right?

So here, without analysis (well not as much as my usual cynicism) are three case studies which, I believe, demonstrate why Internet marketing sucks in Puerto Rico. In these case studies, I'm going to sample the pudding. I'll try to gather as much information about these organizations, the individuals leading those organizations and the companies they work for. For all of this data collection, I will use simple search engine queries and follow clicks, till I reach a dead end.

Internet Society of Puerto Rico and Archer Lebron, President of the ISOC-PR Board of Directors; CEO and President of TranXcend, Inc.

ISOC-PR has been around since 2001. It's major achievements have probably been participating in various studies of the Internet in 2005 and 2006, establishing some Internet Clubs, and conducting fairly regular activities (usually seminars). One of the things I find aggravating about their Joomla based home page is the lack of sorting or ordering by date of items (messages, archived files, news). While getting bonus points for hosting their site on an open source CMS, the intent of the site seems to be the transfer of information TO visitors. Consider that for a moment as I'll revisit that point in my conclusion.

If you'd like to meet some of the folks at ISOC, here are their scheduled events for the rest of the year:

  • 11/4/09 - Segundo Foro de Tecnología: Perspectivas de la Academia
    ORADORES: Presidentes de Universidades
    LUGAR Microsoft Caribbean, Inc.
    Metro Office Park, Microsoft Building, Calle 1 Piso 5
  • 12/2/09 - "Liderazgo, Visión y Tecnologia: La Historia de WAL-MART"
    ORADOR: Renzo Castillo, CEO, Walmart Puerto Rico
    LUGAR: Puerto Rico Telephone, Avenida Roosevelt, Edificio 1515
The latest president of the Board of Directors is Archer Lebron, who is also CEO and President of TranXcend, Inc. Now let's take a quick look at his company's web site. Any way you slice it, it looks like it's straight out of 1994. Simply put, it is an online brochure. No blog, no news, no forums, just contact information. The site only talks TO visitors. There are no links to any social media sites. A quick search of Facebook and Twitter reveal nothing for TransXcend and nothing for ISOC-PR.

Sales and Marketing Executives Association and Olga Rivera, President of the Board of Directors; President ICPR Junior College

While the objectives of the SME of PR are not exactly aimed at interactive marketing, they do have a committee focused on the Internet. This committee is responsible for the annual SME event, the Puerto Rico Internet Forum. As mentioned before, they also sponsor the WebAd Awards.

Their web site seems to be primarily aimed at their members. While they do have a news section, everything else is a communication of information TO visitors. Are you starting to catch the trend here? The current focus of the SMEPR is their celebratory orgy of their Annual convention at the Rio Mar this weekend. The event starts today.

Here's a perfect example of what I introduced at the beginning of the post. The SME site has no links to any social media web sites, nor can can I seem to find any trace of them on Facebook or Twitter. But wouldn't you know it, it seems that their keynote speaker is UberCool founder Michael Tchong. His topic will be "I want to Tweet you up."

So while the organizers of their convention recognize that Twitter is UberHot and should be of interest to their members and participants of their convention, the SMEPR doesn't actually appear to participate on Twitter. I wonder how many of its members do?

Quick note: Non-members are allowed to attend the conferences but for a small fee. For example, if you'd like to see Michael, it'll set you back $160. However, if you'd just like to schmooze around and maybe get some free beers ;-p I think registration for the exhibit hall should be free.

The current president of the board of Directors is Olga Rivera, who is President of ICPR Junior College. Again, the ICPRJC web site has no links to any social media websites, but they do have a games section (WTF?). They also have an interesting page that cobbles together photographs, videos, and other news regarding events and other "cool" stuff, including a link to Youtube! In general, while the ICPRJC site successfully targets students, it is still basically focused on communicating information TO visitors.

IAB Puerto Rico and Ernesto Gonzalez, President of IAB Puerto Rico ; President of GTA Marketing Agency

While IAB Puerto Rico/Caribe are new to the Internet, Ernesto Gonzalez has been a long time participant and leader on the Internet. First, I pretty much covered IAB Caribe or IAB Puerto Rico, how ever you want to call them, in my last post. So let's take a look at GTA Marketing Agency.

GTA has been a huge proponent and developer of Flash-based sites, so most of their site is in Flash. Talk about your online brochures, GTA makes the best you'll ever see. However, what you won't see is any news, blogs, or any thing else besides information aimed AT visitors. I will give them credit for being the fist of the sites discussed today with links to Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and YouTube. So there is so movement towards, or at least invitation to, a conversation.

Conclusion

Of course, these case studies offer only a very narrow perspective, but I think I've made the case. These are the three leading organizations and resident experts on all things Internet and Internet Marketing in Puerto Rico, and none of them are leaders on the Internet. However, within the news and all of the elite power circles, these people and organizations are the recognized experts when it comes to the Internet.

Kudos to Ernesto and his efforts to join the conversation, even if he is late. However, over all the primary message these web sites communicate is that the way to approach the Internet is nothing more than an electronic brochure. I always learned and professed that you lead by example. So you can see why I think Internet marketing sucks in Puerto Rico, when none of its supposed leaders are actually leading in anything Internet-related.

What these leaders have not begun to comprehend is that the Internet is a conversation. Therefore any marketing aimed at the Internet must be approached from a conversational perspective. I tweeted about this before, but it bears repeating. In a post from Karl Greenberg over at MediaPost, he shares some thoughts from Jeff Goodby, who spoke recently at the Association of National Advertisers' Agency/Client Forum in New York. This one is killer:
"Goodby argues that only a fraction of marketers are really willing to face the implications of digital media, and most do not fully comprehend that there's a need for a new kind of advertising -- "a new way of talking to people."
Amen brother. The Internet is all about talking WITH people, not TO them. It's just as simple as that. To see what I'm talking about take another look at UberCool from Tchong. That's the standard that our Internet leaders should be reproducing. Yes Timmy, it's true, the emperors are really not wearing any clothing.

Bonus: Check out Robert Bowling, a 24-year-old who serves as the Modern Warfare 2’s community manager has to say:
“I like to think of it as having the fans as part of the team.”
Do you think any of the organizations above can claim anything new that? Yep, that's what I thought, no clothes!

Flickr Creative Commons Contributor: Al_HikesAZ

10 comments:

Anónimo

29 de octubre de 2009, 20:46
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dijo...

There is always room to grow, agree. You brought some interesting points to the table. Although personally I like to be more polite on my recommendations. I believe it simplifies the communication process. The approach you used here is too rough.

MC Don Dees

29 de octubre de 2009, 21:07
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dijo...

LOL, and I thought I pulled most of my best punches.

Well, anyway, thanks for stopping by, and sharing in the conversation.

I'm sorry if you thought I was impolite, I did preface my post that I do tend to come off as rough. The truth can often reveal our most embarrassing shortcomings.

I was only trying to shine a light on an injustice that has gone on for far too long. When we look around and wonder why our technology industry lags so far behind the rest of the world we only need to look at the leadership we've had thus far.

Also, a loyal reader pointed out that the SME setup a Twitter account for their convention. You can find their twitter feed at http://twitter.com/convencionSME

Scylas

3 de noviembre de 2009, 17:41
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dijo...

Rough or realistic?
That is the question.

MC Don Dees

3 de noviembre de 2009, 20:19
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dijo...

The only part of this entire post that is intentionally rough is the word suck in the title. Everything else is merely information.

Yes I may create a scenario where the information is tainted by the word "suck", but I'd submit that any other interpretation of the facts is in the minds of the reader.

I'd say that as a culture Puerto Rico is well known for the "Ay Bendito" syndrome. Therefore, we tend to cringe when the facts expose a larger conclusion that is uncomfortable. Or is it perhaps because there are real names associated with the facts?

ZenNexus SEO

8 de noviembre de 2009, 08:40
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dijo...

I am glad you said that we suck at internet marketing because we do. Internet Marketing, like a lot of other industries is currently outsourced to outsiders in the US for most PR companies that advertise online. We are in the stone age in terms of e-commerce with ClasificadosOnline being the most utilized site for advertising.

While other countries are making billions in sales thru the internet, the most literate country in the Caribbean is wasting their time with flash brochures and traditional marketing.

The SME is a true joke, they should pay to have people attend their useless fashion shows. We have the most primitive internet presence of all Latin America countries and the usability of our websites, for lack of better terms, SUCKS EGGS.

antigonum cajan

5 de noviembre de 2010, 09:34
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dijo...

PUERTO RICO the concrete/asphalt isle sucks big time, my intercontinental blog:
antigonumcajan
eveningpost.blogspot.com, exists thanks to the overwhelming capacity of this isle to suck, along with the natives and Dominican Republic Invaders, almost 3 hundred thousand.

Rafael

19 de diciembre de 2010, 17:31
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dijo...

Well, for me it is pretty clear that if it sucks is because of mainly three reasons: 1. lack of information/knowledge about what digital marketing is all about, and by this I mean knowing everything that it´s related to as: SEO, SMO, PPC, WebAnalytics, ROI, Conversion, etc., and the potential that it creates for business development, or 2. there might be a mis-conception that causes rejection in having links to Social Media, mainly because interaction could be dangerous, especially because it could become a weapon used by the competition to spread invented rumors about how bad a business is. Culture might have a lot to do with this as the interpretation and use of the "interaction or conversation" might be different in latin cultures versus in the US, Canada or northern Europe. 3. Traditional marketers might play a role of not being too pro-active in promoting internet marketing because it could diminish their (traditional business). So far, I have not seeing yet a single traditional marketer that promotes digital marketing.

Anónimo

8 de marzo de 2011, 19:08
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dijo...

I don't know if this post still has someone reading it but it kills me that it still ranks 2nd in Google for Internet Marketing Puerto Rico. There is a great example of the state of Internet Marketing in Puerto Rico two years after this post.

I finished my Master's in Internet Marketing recently and I'm looking to connect with responsible and dedicated people in the field in order to do something about it and take advantage of a market that in my opinion is waiting for people to take control of it.

If anyone has some useful information or places to find people seriously interested in Internet Marketing please shoot me an e-mail any time.

Good article, should do an updated version.

Agustin Trujillo
agustintrujillo7@gmail.com

Anónimo

11 de julio de 2011, 12:52
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dijo...

For those in Puerto Rico that are really interested in Internet Marketing from the search engine side, visit http://www.miislita.com. You will find serious research work on search engines from both the scientific and marketing research sides. Feel also free to visit http://www.minerazzi.com

Rafa

27 de febrero de 2012, 13:20
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dijo...

"Goodby argues that only a fraction of marketers are really willing to face the implications of digital media, and most do not fully comprehend that there's a need for a new kind of advertising -- "a new way of talking to people."

Exactly, this is a real problem. Traditional marketers are not willing or ready to speak about digital/internet marketing, it is an unknown to them. Currently they are avoiding the topic because they feel it requires some technical knowledge that they are not ready to jump into. Actually, the situation is even worse, they are making all kinds of efforts to continue talking about their traditional marketing efforts to small businesses and ignore the internet marketing area, because they feel that internet marketing will put them out of business.