Marketers around the world are trying to figure out when to divert resources to use social media behaviors and technology in their marketing, communications and customer service. Too early and the best conceived plans on Facebook or customer communities will not produce enough results to survive the next budget season. Too late and an organization can find itself chasing after consumer behavior and losing reputation, if not business, to competitors.
We have big multinational clients who are deploying Facebook community management as quickly as possible in 50+ markets. Many of these countries don’t come close to having even critical mass adoption of internet access never mind consumers flocking to engage with brands via social networks. Still, the brands have no question that the velocity of social media adoption around the world will be faster than we have all been used to.
Mexico is a Real-Fast Growth Market
And there’s good reason for this. Just look at Global Web Index’s summary of the real growth markets in social network usage. Mexico outpaces the US and that isn’t just because the US is saturated. A lot of behaviors in Mexico outpace other markets. Smartphone (45%) and tablet (16%) adoption in Mexico also outpaces the US. Habits are shifting now.
According to Forester, “Brazilian and Mexican (connected + urban) consumers spend more time online than they do watching TV.” Where people spend their time, what they are trying to accomplish and where they focus their attention should matter to marketers.
As for internet usage, “By 2016, Forrester expects online adoption to increase in Brazil to 57% and in Mexico to 48% – vs. the current 47% and 38%.” Half the population online.
The Biggest Change for Marketers
As people like you and I adopt apps, adapt to being always connected and discover new ways to combine communications and content, how we form opinions and make decisions (including purchase decisions) is getting more complex. When buying a new bed, I am likely to reach out to my social graph throughout the buyer journey to get recommendations, check my decision with friends and post-justify my purchase with celebratory image via Instagram. Sure, I will visit retailers and manufacturers Web sites and pay attention to targeted and even non-targeted advertising.
But two things the customer journey is not is neat nor linear. Attribution is a beast. It is likely more important to gain an understating how social works in combination with other owned and paid media choices to help consumers towards their decision and willingness to advocate.
The biggest change is learning how to use social media as part of a strategy to drive business not simply add it to the channel mix. As a channel, social disappoints. As a powerful, new set of consumer behaviors it will continue to change how we market for years to come. That new learning will take some time for big brands. We see this everyday as major global marketers try to scale the learnings in social from one market to many, embrace new digital measurement models and provoke “old dogs” in charge of marketing around the world to try out the new tricks.
Innovation Not ROI
Brands in Mexico should be aggressively deploying social media strategies and increasing their spend. Consumers are changing fast and organizational change takes years. It is time to innovate and accrue an understanding of how a brand’s use of social media behaviors and platforms can drive customer advocacy, raise meaningful awareness and discovery and, yes, even drive sales. Set aside our well-intended focus on ROI for now. We will get there. Not its time to innovate.
(image: thanks to Upper Playground for their image from the Mexico Contemprary Art Fair (MACO)