Mark A. Browne


What: Marketing technology struggles to keep up with increasing use of voice search. Adoption of smart speakers is highest among educated millennials with higher disposable incomes.
Why it matters: Voice search expands by 35-fold between 2008 and 2016. But brands don’t have to re-invent the wheel to make sure they’re on top of consumers’ search results.

Burger King had its own way last year. It ran a television ad with a young male employee speaking these words directly into the camera: “OK, Google, what is a whopper burger?”

The question triggered innumerable cell phones and smart speakers within hearing distance of televisions. They woke up and searched the internet for the answer. Their owners likely then heard a description of the burger chain’s iconic Whopper.  Their device’s virtual assistant read the description from a page on Wikipedia.

Google, which was not consulted before the ad ran, quickly modified its virtual assistant so it would not to respond to the ad, according to The New York Times.

Voice-search increases need for marketing technology

Burger King’s foray into voice search can be seen as a harbinger of the brave new world brands face. More and more internet searches are done by voice activated assistants on smart speakers and cell phones.

More customers ask AI-powered services like Google Assistant, Siri or Alexa detailed questions about restaurant brands.

Restaurants are responding to the pressure to get with the voice search game.

“In this new environment, more customers than ever are asking AI-powered services like Google Assistant, Siri or Alexa detailed questions about restaurant brands, locations and menu items,” said Lee Zucker of the New York City technology company Yext.

A study by Yext found that nearly half of all respondents (49 percent) said they would use voice search to get restaurant-specific information. “AI changes the game for restaurants everywhere,” Zucker said in a press release announcing the study results.

Brands ramp up marketing technology

Brand managers, however, don’t need to panic as they steer into the uncharted waters of smart speakers and voice-activated searches.

Adapting to voice search is not a case of re-inventing the wheel, SEO expert Chris Rodgers, founder of Colorado SEO Pros tells Portada.

“If you have already been performing SEO properly, then you have already done some of the work to make sure that you rank for voice search.”

What are the key things brand managers should watch out for?

Rodgers says:

  • Focus web page content on the questions people are asking.
  • Use natural conversational language on web sites.
  • Understand the problems and solutions customers are looking for when building site content.
  • Be the best resource on the web to answer customers’ questions.

“You need to pay attention to how your content solves problems via voice search,” and that often means ensuring that your site has an excellent FAQ section, Rodgers says.

If you have already been performing SEO properly, then you have already done some of the work to make sure that you rank for voice search.
“The truth is, this represents the next step and it’s just an evolution of what we’ve already been doing.”

More smart speakers, more voice search

The smart speaker market spend is ballooning. It will grow from $4.3 billion last year to $23.3 billion in 2025, according to Allied Market Research.

Amazon’s Alexa led in revenues in 2017 but Apple’s Siri is expected to grow the fastest. More will be spent in North America on smart speakers than anywhere else in the world.

The biggest adopters of smart speaker technology are affluent educated millenials as well as young gen X and children, according to Global Market Insights.

Along with smart speaker sales, voice search is growing, too.

More than 40-percent of adults “used voice search on a daily basis in 2016,” Forbes Magazine reports, noting that comScore predicts that “50 percent of searches will be voice-based by 2020.”

Forbes reports that most voice searches are also local. That puts an emphasis on the ability of the search engine used to deliver up local results.

The search engine voice searches uses depends in part on the device itself.
Rodgers tells Portada the search engine used in a voice search depends in part on the device used.

Amazon deploys its own database for shopping inquires made using its Alexa, and as a result Apple’s Siri has its own knowledge base. But Apple also uses Google. While Google serves as a main database, “it’s not a case of all smart speakers relying on Google.”

Microsoft and Amazon have teamed up against Google and Apple. Portada recently reported they are making their virtual assistants Alexa and Cordana compatible.

Brands jump in

Burger King’s joins a brave new world brands diving into smart speakers and voice search.

Marriott is trying out the Amazon Echo in rooms at select properties. Guest can access information on hotel services as well as their favorite music.

Saint Louis University decides to install Amazon Alexa smart speakers in student living areas and preload them with the answers to the most common 100 questions about getting around the university.

Andrew Ko, director of education at Amazon Web Services said “Amazon Web Services is proud to work with Saint Louis University to provide students with quick access to important information,” in a press release announcing the university’s smart speaker installation. “We applaud SLU’s commitment to using technology like Amazon Alexa to enhance campus life for its students.”

. SoImage by Freepik

What: The use of AI on marketing and advertising is turning heads and generating headlines. The latest? Computers select images and colors, improve text, sift through big data to sharpen targeting and lift customer response rates.
Why it matters: Agencies, however, say they deploy AI for more mundane but critical tasks. Those include automating repetitive work. They also encompass sorting and labeling images and videos. It saves thousands of hours of labor. As a result, it frees up in-house talent for higher-level creative output.

The brave new world of AI on marketing is here. Recent headlines boast of AI’s ability to boost customer response rates with better text, content and just the right selection of colors and images in advertising.

AI on Marketing Saves on Labor

Marketers tell Portada, however, that they’re using AI on marketing for far more mundane but still essential agency tasks. Namely, saving thousands of hours of labor and freeing up their best talent to do what creatives do best: create.

“Our initial goal is to automate several of the manual processes that go into the content creative process,” Carmen Garcés, head of digital at Hogarth México told Portada.

Hogarth Mexico, she said, is using AI or “machine learning” to mask, rotoscope, review, organize and tag hundreds of hours of video as well as images, saving the agency thousands of hours of labor.

Artificial intelligence is also being used to sort through Hogarth’s talent database of thousands of worldwide employees to help producers select just the right resources for each project.

The time saved frees up Hogarth Mexico staff to improve and apply their skills and technical knowledge to creative output, Garcés explained in an email.

“There are a lot of talented people around the world with unique creative and technical skills. We see AI as a great support to help us leverage this talent even further and to provide novel solutions and superior output for our clients.”

Apply AI on Marketing

Applying AI tools to recognize, catalog and modify visual content provides exciting opportunities for improving work efficiency and increasing advertising’s effectiveness.

Our initial goal is to automate several of the manual processes that go into the content creative process.

“One element of targeting that is still left relatively untapped is object recognition,” wrote Tim Bosch, associate director at Resolution Media in a recent column published by Digital Commerce 360.

“AI will be the driving force that exposes this massive targeting opportunity.”

According to Bosch, Snapchat has developed the technology to recognize objects posted by users, differentiating between food, pets, and more.

“Imagine this—after analyzing a user’s image inventory, object recognition technology could calculate their individual fashion style. This style feeds into their overall profile which brands can tap into to provide personalized ad messaging.”

Researching AI on Marketing

According to Garcés, Hogarth Mexico is “talking to multiple vendors and research institutes,” about how AI could help further improve the agency’s productivity. That includes using AI to modify videos and images.

“That would allow us to remove entire elements and objects from a scene something that if done in the traditional way could take days.”

Hogarth Mexico is considering AI tools that would allow it to change out the dialogue of actors in a video. It could then substiture “a completely different phrase or even deliver the speech in a completely different language.”

It’s undeniable that the unstoppable progress of AI has made it a tool that is impossible to ignore.

“The most important opportunity for us is to leverage AI to augment our talent. And amplify the creative output of our organization and provide superior customer experience while delivering content to our clients,” Garcés told Portada.

AI Frees up Creative Talent

At Grey Mexico, Chief Creative Officer Humberto Polar is focused on how to use AI to automate the generation of creative materials for advertising. He mentions combining of images and prices, and adapting formats in retail campaigns.

“This type of work today occupies many hours and is subject to a high level of human error. That’s precisely because it is operation-related and not creative work,” Polar told Portada.

“We should put our efforts towards automating tasks. Then people to do more much more gratifying and useful work, thus providing truly creative support to our clients.”

Grey Mexico is also using AI. Namely to analyze data, generating new understanding of the behaviors of consumers. With AI, the agency can apply its same creative thinking, but to much larger data sets.

“It’s undeniable that the unstoppable progress of AI has made it a tool that is impossible to ignore,” Polar says.


What: Retailers scramble behind Amazon and MercadoLibre to capture their share of expanding e-commerce in Latin America. This happens despite difficult payment and delivery challenges.
Why it matters: Experts predict e-commerce trends will grow by 19% in the next five years. They see it rising well above the global average of 11%. The lack of brick-and-mortar retail outlets in Latin America actually plays into the hand of e-commerce retailers. That’s because it allows them to offer products to consumers outside of major cities who don’t have many shopping options.

E-Commerce Trends Heating Up

E-commerce trends in Latin America provide no place for the timid. The challenges are well-known. Experts say they include lack of infrastructure, consumers without credit cards or bank accounts, high rates of online payment fraud, and obstacles to delivering product—to name just a few.

But the barriers to success don’t stop leading players. For example, MercadoLibre is diving into the e-commerce market and thriving.

One expert remarks the challenges are “daunting.” But competitors like Linio are finding ways to outperform. They chase what Linio’s General Director Olivier Sieuzac says is a “massive opportunity” in expected e-commerce growth in the region.

Linio has learned it had to expand its online business model. That means beyond just selling product. The strategy now includes things like creating its own delivery fleet. Linio also sells its hard-earned expertise to brands like Aeromexico who create their own online retailing presence.

To succeed in Mexico, Linio built partnerships with VISA to prevent credit card fraud. Consequently, it also joined arms with third-party payment channels. They include the convenience store chain Oxxo. Linio aims to provide the unbanked with cash-payment options.

Mexico, according to Sieuzac, offers the “worst of both worlds.” Mexico suffers high levels of online payment fraud and a low level of cooperation from banks.

As a result, Linio developed a proprietary algorithm with VISA as a response to reduce credit card fraud. Consequently, Linio also now offers its own credit card with a loyalty program. The loyalty program awards cash back on purchases.

Linio also created its own fleet in Mexico to handle the delivery of over-sized items like refrigerators and other home appliances.

Infrastructure, payment obstacles

Lack of infrastructure in Latin America makes delivering product a particularly difficult part of the e-commerce business.

Logistics and related issues amount to 15 percent of the cost of what’s sold online—well above other regions, according to Miriam Dowd, Marketing Manager at FOCUSECONOMICS.

Merchants experience the impact of “limited” access to credit card-based payment methods. Banks often don’t allow debit cards to be used for online payments.

E-commerce in Latin America faces many challenges, the most daunting of which are logistics, traffic, and infrastructure. Regulations and rules vary among countries. Merchants have and limited access to secure, credit-card based payment methods,” Dowd explains.

Online sales are expected to grow by 19% in the next five years. As a result, that is well above the global average of 11%. They are foreseen to double in value to $118 billion in 2021.

But on the positive side of the ledger, experts say market penetration is low compared to other regions. As a result, that represents lots of opportunity. Consequently, the market also offers higher growth rates.

“Online sales are expected to grow 19% in the next five years – well above the global average of 11%. As a result, they will double in value to $118 billion in 2021. Consequently, two of the three fastest-growing eCommerce markets in the world are in Latin America. They are Colombia and Argentina,” Dowd said in an email to Portada.

E-commerce trends forecaster eMarketer found even with this expected high growth rate, nearly 75 percent of the market of 650 million consumers expected to shop online is untapped.

E-commerce trends working for e-retailers

MercadoLibre boasts status as the undisputed leader in Latin America. Its huge geographic footprint and logistics expertise “have helped it to hold the lead,” Dowd said.

Amazon leverages its international recognition to become a leading player in Latin America.

And for Linio, expanding its business model and offering consumers a trusted, predictable and “formal” online shopping experience proves critical to its success, according to General Director Sieuzac.

Linio seeks to set itself apart from other online retailers by rigorously vetting its product providers to make sure what they offer Linio’s customers meets certain standards.

Linio offers free returns in its strategy of building customers’ confidence.

“We’re not leaving customers alone in a face-to-face situation with the seller,” Sieuzac said.

Linio’s strategy provides its online expertise to brands. They then create their own online shopping sites, a key component of Linio’s competitiveness.

As a result, Linio entered into a partnership to build and operate Aeromexico’s Club Premier online shopping experience.

Mexico offers the worst of both worlds: high levels of online payment fraud and a low level of cooperation from banks.

Linio also partnered with the micro-financing company ConCredito. ConCredito provides a huge presence in rural zones not necessarily within Linio’s geographic footprint.

Linio publishes its catalog of products on ConCredito’s website “Creditienda.” Linio spokesperson Paulina Maza said the company supports the ConCredito e-commerce site with specific promotion campaigns. They include digital marketing, logistics, fast delivery of products, and returns.

What lies ahead

The lack of brick and mortar retail outlets in Latin America actually plays into the hand of e-commerce retailers. That’s because they can offer products to consumers outside of major cities where consumers don’t have many shopping options. Sieuzac told Portada, “It’s a massive opportunity. You have people that simply don’t have access to products, even from a normal shop.”

A “key component” of e-commerce growth in Latin America proves to be shopping online with a mobile phone. As a result, a report by yStats.coMobile commerce reveals experts expect it to increase at a faster rate than e-commerce.

Brazil offers the largest consumer e-commerce market in Latin America. The report found experts predict Colombia to show a 20 percent growth rate through 2021.

A summary of the report reveals experts predict: “Rising internet and smartphone penetration rates, greater online payment security and development of MCommerce to contribute to the growth of online retail sales.”

What: Google Flights, with its dominant search engine positioning, has turned the competition for online airline ticket sales upside down.
Why it matters: Airlines are scrambling to keep up and compete in new ways in response to what Ernesto Echeverri, Director of Marketing for North America, the Caribbean & Asia for LATAM Airlines Group, says is Google Flights’ complete disruption of the business of directing consumers to the best flights online.

It isn’t easy to compete with Google. In fact, Google’s owner, Alphabet, Inc., finds itself under intense scrutiny by governments and regulators. In these instances, Institutions have accused Google and in some cases won court judgments for antitrust violations. Now, airlines are discovering Google’s entry into the online ticket advertising and sales market has both good and bad consequences.

First launched in 2011, Google’s airfare search tool has become a dominant player among travel booking sites. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Thrifty Traveler columnist Jared Kamrowski says Google Flights is “leaps and bounds better than any other flight searching tool.”Google Flights

“Google Flights is the most powerful flight search tool,” Kamrowski wrote in a recent column. “[It] should be your go-to flight search engine.”

A Matter of SEO

But the tool’s success is turning out to be a double-edged sword for airlines. Since it directs users to the best fares, brands have to compete harder —and spend more— for first-page search-engine results.

“No one else has as much access to online flights information as Google. That means Google can outperform any other online flight aggregator,” Ernesto Echeverri, director of marketing for North America, the Caribbean & Asia for LATAM Airlines Group, and a member of Portada’s Travel Marketing Board, told Portada. “It makes it a little bit uneven because they have a tremendous advantage.”

Google Flights is the most powerful flight search tool. It should be your go-to flight search engine.
Ernesto Echeverri

As a result, it makes it more difficult for brands like LATAM to ensure top positioning on search engine results, especially on mobile platforms where appearing on the first page is even harder due to the smaller screens on mobile.

To compete with Google Flights’ dominant positioning in search results, LATAM will have to spend more money on purchasing first-page positioning, increasing its digital advertising costs, Echeverry said.

Competing with Google

Portada typed the words “flight to Paris from Boston” into Google recently and the following results popped up:

The first four search engine results were paid positioning by companies including Expedia, Cheap Flights, and Google Flights took the fifth spot, the first unpaid position.

“We see players like Kayak and Priceline or Expedia who are also struggling to remain relevant with Google Flights,” shared Echeverri. Competing with Google for first-page search results is going to cost LATAM more. “What I think is going to start happening is that this will start increasing my costs.

A Silver Lining

The consequences of Google Flights’ entry into online flight search haven’t been all bad, however.

Echeverri declared that LATAM ticket sales tied to searches on Google have increased as a result of Google Flights directing consumers to LATAM flights. “Google Fights is increasing our sales. The multiple is probably ten-fold per year in the category of metasearch.”

Google Flights’ dominance on Google search has also forced LATAM to compete harder for other ways to win customers, including making improvements to its mobile application, frequent flyer program, and CRM.

We see players like Kayak and Priceline or Expedia who are also struggling to remain relevant with Google Flights.

A Better Deal for Consumers

Another consequence of Google’s disruption of flight search has been the possibility to break down the geographic barriers that allow airlines to sell tickets on the same routes at different prices, based on the market where the ticket is purchased.

According to Echeverri, the same round trip ticket between Mexico and Chile may cost more or less, depending on whether the purchase is made, in Chile or Mexico.

LATAM faces tough competition against Google flightsGoogle’s massive database of online information means Google Flights looks at fares from all over the world, so consumers can find a cheaper price on the same route, depending on where they choose to pay. It’s great for the consumer, but it will force airlines to adopt single pricing. “It’s hard on the airlines that used to have geographic barriers to manage their markets,” Echeverri asserted.

As a company you can do two things: start crying right now, or start doing stuff. LATAM has started doing stuff.

Here to Stay

“As a company, you can do two things: start crying right now, or start doing stuff. LATAM has started doing stuff. You don’t want all your eggs in one basket,” Echeverri warns.

Google Flights is “dominant and they are leveraging that dominance, which is good in the short term,” but could produce consequences that will have to be examined over the long term, according to Echeverri. “Google Flights is here to stay.”


What: Ecommerce marketing strategy is revealed by retailers Walmart and Soriana. It shows how they’re capturing the e-commerce home delivery grocery market in Mexico with alternative digital payment strategies.
Why it matters: Fear of fraud stops many Mexico consumers from making online purchases with a credit card. As a result, Walmart and Soriana are on it. Consequently, they’re deploying cash on delivery, branded digital cash cards, mobile phone loyalty programs, and PayPal options.

The race is on as grocers deploy ecommerce marketing strategy in Mexico. Grocery and general merchandise retailer Walmart has taken the lead. But in Mexico, its competitors, including Soriana, are racing to build their online-delivery businesses.

How customers pay for their online purchases could make all the difference.

High credit card commissions and fear of fraud pose a significant barrier to online sales in Mexico. Digital purchases make up only 3 percent of all consumer goods sales nationwide. As a result, that’s way below the average seen in other countries, according to branding expert Vilma Vale-Brennan. She is deputy general manager of Vale Network in Mexico.

The new President of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, has promised to get banks to lower credit card commissions. But grocery retailers like Walmart don’t have time to lose.

Ecommerce Marketing Strategy with Digital Payment App

Last year, Walmart launched its own digital application. As a result, it allows customers to pay for goods at stores with the Walmart digital application “Cashi.”

After downloading the app to their mobile phones, customers can recharge it with cash at any Walmart-owned store. It’s a fast and easy way to convert cash into a secure digital payment option. As a result, customers use it for purchases at Walmart, Superama, Sam’s Club, and Bodega Aurrera stores.

Cashi can be used to pay electric bills and services including Netflix, Spotify, and Uber.

The idea here is to make purchasing with Walmart easier, and to give people more options.

But perhaps more importantly, Walmart tells Portada it expects to extend the Cashi digital payment system later this year to allow its online customers to use Cashi for online grocery purchases, according to Gabriela Buenrostro, assistant director of corporate communications. “The idea here is to make purchasing with Walmart easier, and to give people more options,” she said.

Walmart’s ecommerce marketing strategy outpaces the online market with 4.5 million e-commerce shoppers in Mexico, followed by grocers Soriana at 1.1 million, according to a study by the American media measurement and analytics company Comscore as reported by Portada.

Cash, PayPal Options Offered

Walmart offers online customers the option to use PayPal, and Soriana added the PayPal payment option to its online shopping site this year.

Soriana also allows its online customers to pay cash to the home delivery person, or use their credit card on the delivery person’s portable card reader, Director of Electronic Commerce Rafael Castelltort told Portada.

Most of Soriana’s online grocery customers shop online using Soriana’s branded mobile application on their cell phones. A Soriana loyalty card program has more than 9,000 users, and to build loyalty even more, Soriana, deploying its own ecommerce marketing strategy launched its own mobile phone service “Soriana Movil” in 2017, which earns users loyalty points that can be exchanged for free products, Castelltort said.

The trends are very clear. Mexicans prefer to use a mobile phone when visiting grocery stores’ online sites.

Soriana’s decision to launch its own mobile phone service in Mexico might appear tangential to an effort to build online purchases, however, it could be spot-on in terms of getting more online shoppers.

“The trends are very clear,” comScore’s Alejandra Ibarra, manager of comScore’s Latin America Services, told Portada when asked about ecommerce marketing strategies among grocers in Mexico. “Mexicans prefer to use a mobile phone when visiting grocery stores’ online sites.”

And as time goes by, mobile applications are becoming more and more important for grocery ecommerce market leaders like Soriana and Walmart.

Just last year, Walmart announced its acquisition of the online marketplace Cornershop. Users download the Cornershop application to make online purchases using their mobile phones at supermarkets, specialty food stores and pharmacies in Mexico and Chile, according to Forbes.

“The Cornershop acquisition by Walmart shows the focus that applications have for the company and the performance it must deliver to maintain its leadership,” Ibarra told Portada.

What: WeWork’s Ana Rivadeneyra reveals to Portada how WeWork “humanizes” its outreach to potential customers in order to grow its market in Mexico and Latin America.
Why it matters: WeWork is leveraging the power of its own members’ experiences as told by them on social and other digital media to fuel its rapid growth in Latin America. 

“Our community is our most valuable marketing tool.” That’s how Ana Rivadeneyra, Marketing Manager México at WeWork, describes WeWork’s strategy for continuing its rapid growth in Mexico and Latin America.

WeWork first entered the Latin America market in 2016 starting in Mexico City and has since grown its presence in the region to 50 locations and 11 cities in six countries, including Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Bogota, Río de Janeiro, Lima, Monterrey, Santiago de Chile, Medellin, Guadalajara and Belo Horizonte.

“This region is of utmost importance globally for WeWork since it is the fastest-growing region, taking into account that we have only spent a little more than two years in this territory,” Rivadeneyra tells Portada.

Today, WeWork has 32,000 members in Mexico, and 450,000 members worldwide.

Portada: How does WeWork see itself operating worldwide and in Mexico? Is it a real estate, services, or software company?

AR: Our growth in Latin America—and the world—is on all of those fronts. We provide a 360-degree solution that simplifies space installation and maintenance. We are a single point of contact for an architect, designer, construction professional, landlord, and attorney. Here, workers and companies have the space, technology, services and experience to help them focus on what’s most important to them. Beyond just the physical space, our network of members and our application create a worldwide community of professionals and businesses.

WeWork has 32,000 members in Mexico, and 450,000 members worldwide.

Portada: What are the traditional marketing tools WeWork is using to grow its market in Mexico and Latin America?

 AR: Our community of members is our most important marketing tool. For that reason, we have developed our “member stories” which are case studies of success that tell how WeWork has contributed with its growth, expansion and connections. To distribute these messages and to amplify their content, we use multiple channels such as social media, print, radio, videos and events. By the same token, we place a lot of importance on our referral program where our employees and members are awarded for recommending someone who is interested in a work space.

Our most valuable marketing tool is our own community. There is no one better than our members to explain what WeWork is and how we can help.

Portada: What are some of the newer marketing tools that WeWork is using to grow in Mexico and the region?

 AR: At WeWork we are constantly looking to innovate in all areas, and our marketing is no exception. Our strategy is highly focused on digital (Social Media, Google Ads, Search, Website, Email Marketing, etc.), but without losing the real experiences and the value of real connections with people. Therefore, we like to define our strategy as “humanized marketing.” Another one of our very valuable tools is our WeWork application. With it we have managed to materialize loyalty tactics like discount benefits for members, direct communications, push notifications, a referral program, etc.

Portada: Among the new digital marketing tools that WeWork is using, which ones are proving to be the most important?

 AR: Organic content on the Facebook and Instagram platforms works well for us in order to promote our mission and generate awareness of what we offer. We add to that strategic segmentation on the same social networks that allows us to talk about our products to a new market and grow the community. We also use tools like LinkedIn that work to connect with a specific target in a more direct way.

Portada: What is an example of a tool or technology that is making a big difference in your Latin America marketing?

 AR: We use the “WeWork experience” that our members have when working in our spaces, including events and experiences that can be posted on Instagram. This has proven to be one of the 360-degree tools where people can learn more about trends, well-being, and different themes that interest them. For this reason, we focus many of our efforts and actions to invite more people to enter our buildings and experience and live the spaces within.

What: For audience data analysis, CNN blends and analyzes multiple data streams that reveal its audience’s preferences. Thus, the world-renowned news organization produces content that keeps viewers coming back.
Why it matters:  CNN’s VP of digital research and analytics Seth Holladay outlines the challenge of finding the right data and analytical tools to ensure that content engages loyal viewers and attracts new ones.


Audience data analysis tools

Cookies are not enough when it comes to a complete understanding of your audience, according to CNN’s VP of digital research and analytics Seth Holladay. In other words, the bits of data stored on users’ web browsers provide only a partial picture of CNN fans’ interests and viewing habits.

To really know its audience, CNN turns to multiple data streams gathered from its own online properties and third-party data sources. For example, this includes Google and Alexa voice-activated speakers. Moreover, it analyzes users’ behavior on CNN’s websites, Holladay told Portada during a sit-down interview at Portada Miami.

CNN uses multiple sources of data and data analysis tools to inform its editorial, advertising, and content strategies. “We watch how people are interacting with our content,” Holladay said.

For instance, one tool CNN uses for audience data analysis is Adobe Analytics, to track users’ interaction with CNN’s websites. But cookies aren’t enough. Thus, CNN also uses third-party data sources, like Comscore, to better understand its audience demographics.


Third-party data and other data sources

“Across the CNN portfolio, we cover a lot of topics. Comscore for the U.S. market allows us to understand the demographics of our viewers,” Holladay told Portada. “We take a lot of our really granular Adobe-level data, users’ actions on our website, and within that we are blending in different types of data using a lot of third-party sources to enrich that data.”

Seth Holladay, CNN

Audience information drawn from third parties includes data from Alexa and Google Home smart speakers that, while not directly connected to CNN, still provides valuable insights, Holladay said.

We have increasing interest from Hispanic audiences across the world in what is happening in the U.S.



Connecting the dots with mobile

To further close gaps in audience data analysis, CNN looks at data drawn from consumers’ mobile advertising IDs.There is an ability to connect the dots with mobile advertising IDs, what people are doing and the online behavior data from Adobe, and then match those with the advertising side to create a richer picture of the audience,” Holladay explained.

CNN has a “number of initiatives underway” to deploy AI and machine learning to analyze the data it collects. But human decision making is still a key component of how CNN uses data to guide its content decisions.

“From a business perspective, at our core we are a news service. We have a lot of editorial oversight so that will remain the main driver in our decision making.”


Multi-cultural advantage

CNN en español allows CNN to isolate the Hispanic audience in a unique and discreet way, Holladay noted.

And the current political climate in the U.S. has turned into a plus for driving new Hispanic viewers to CNN’s properties.

We are blending lots of different data.


“What we have now is a platform for people that want to consume news in both languages. We have an increasing interest from Hispanic audiences across the world in what is happening in the US,” Holladay told Portada.CNN discusses audience data analysis

Moreover, CNN en español also allows the news network to draw a deep understanding of content preferences in the different countries in Latin America where it is available. This is also very useful for audience data analysis.

“One of the most basic things we collect is the geography of the user,” Holladay said.


Informing editorial decisions

First, CNN collects and analyzes “tons of signals” to understand its visitors. The company examines what digital properties they’re clicking on, what causes them to leave a site, and their digital touchpoints.

Then, it deploys a real-time dashboard to give its editorial professionals a true picture of the impact of content. In this way, they see “what types of topics and subjects resonate with different types of audiences,” Holladay said.


What: The internet offers seemingly infinite ways for consumers to research products and services before making a purchase. Aeromexico and Palace Resorts explain how they leverage key benefits of marketing automation to start a conversation and turn consumers’ digital research into online and offline sales.
Why it matters: No matter how much technology brands throw at marketing, excellent content, and the human factor count for a lot, especially when consumers are purchasing an experience and not just on price.

Consumers’ Digital Research Speaks Volumes

Palace Resorts is not just any resort. Its 10 oceanfront properties spread across Jamaica and Mexico on the Caribbean and the Pacific offer an all-inclusive vacation of a lifetime. That’s why consumers looking for an exceptional experience do a lot of digital research before making their purchases.

“We’re not a commodity you buy on a budget. So we talk a lot about our destinations,” Gerardo Garcia, Palace Resorts’ Vice President of Sales and Marketing in the USA, told Portada during a sit-down interview at Portada Miami. “We try to bring the customer into a conversation.”

Our core business is to run successful hotels, so we have to find the right people on the technology side.

Potential guests often visit 20 websites before booking. So, Palace Resorts has to be sure it has excellent content at each of those touch points so as to engage consumers and promote the brand. “People dedicate a lot of time to their process of buying a vacation. Their digital research process creates that inspirational moment,” Garcia told Portada.

Key Benefits of Marketing Automation: Balancing the Human Factor With Technology

Palace Resorts loves it when customers buy online, but a large percentage of its guests have lots of questions before booking. Thus, having a call center and live chat are key tools in the purchasing process.

Garcia’s marketing team includes 15 people dedicated solely to responding 24/7 to customers’ questions posted on social media or at Trip Advisor. “The more I learn about technology, the more I value the human factor,” Garcia said.

Gerardo Garcia (left) at Portada’s Travel Marketing Board’s Portada Miami Meeting

Working with third-party vendors is a critical part of Palace Resorts’ marketing strategy. Allowing vendors to manage technologyallows us to focus on our marketing strategies and find the right channel to launch that campaign. Our core business is to run successful hotels, so we have to find the right people on the technology side. Otherwise it becomes overwhelming,” Garcia explained.

Automated behavioral email is also one of the most important channels for communicating with existing customers. In addition to its CRM software tool Clever, Palace Resorts uses HubSpot to send emails based upon customers’ preferences.



A First for Aeromexico

Aeromexico is the first brand in Latin America to create a chatbot to respond to customers’ questions on WhatsApp. According to the airline’s Paola Camacho Stern, senior specialist co-brand partnerships, other brands are taking notice.

If customers don’t get the answers they need, the chatbot transfers them to Aeromexico’s call center. Ppersonnel there has actually been reduced thanks to the assistance of the chatbot.

In spite of the technology, the human factor remains a critical component for ticket sales since Aeromexico prides itself on the superior experience it provides travelers both in the air and on the ground.

We are using both traditional and online channels. Whenever I do a campaign, I try to do both of them.

“We have a lot of people that want to talk to a human being. What we are looking for is a balance. I don’t think the call center is going to disappear, but our digital will grow more until it finds a balance,” Stern said.



Communicating the Experience with Content


Aeromexico relies heavily on social media to communicate its brand and the airline’s experience. “We have very strong social media channels, a lot of followers. We are focusing on making people feel like we’re not just an airline but the best company to take them from one place to another,” Stern explained.

Paola Camacho Stern at Portada’s Travel Marketing Board’s Portada Miami Meeting

The airline buys paid advertising, and uploads videos on Facebook which is its “strongest” social media channel.

Traditional media, too, plays an especially important role in Latin America. It includes the use of radio, outdoor advertising print, the airline’s inflight magazine as well as advertising before feature films in cinemas.

Key benefits of marketing automation include email, and Aeromexico uses it to launch campaigns and promotions and tell customers about new routes. It does extensive a/b testing to find the best messaging. Aeromexico also segments its databases to personalize offers.

“We are using both traditional and online channels. Whenever I do a campaign, I try to do both of them. Traditional channels are more expensive. You need to find a mix. You can’t put everything in digital.”


A bi-weekly summary of the most exciting recent news in marketing technology and trends. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

  • Facebook says 3 million advertisers are now using its new Stories format on the Facebook, Messenger and WhatsApp platforms. Some 500 million post Stories daily and the format won the largest portion of year-over-year ad impressions growth during the first quarter of this year, according to Facebook’s Q1 results as reported by CNBC.


  • Brands may have a significant opportunity to increase their reach to consumers on social media when users unlock their cell phones, according to a new study by Verto Analytics. The study found that messaging and social media apps trigger more than 100 unlocks per user per month. The study also found that approximately 16% of Facebook usage on cell phones happens when the social media app is relaunched when the mobile phone is unlocked.


  • Facebook’s user base continues to grow in spite of the social media platform’s legal and privacy problems with regulators. The Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp platforms have 2.7 billion monthly users worldwide and 2.1 billion open one of the apps everyday, according to reporting by Tech Crunch. Facebook grew its user base in Europe by 4 million during Q1 of this year.


  • More than 40% marketers surveyed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Winterberry Group said predictive modeling and segmentation will be their main focus this year. AI is increasingly being used by brands to arrive at more lucrative market segmentation from data gathering. More than half of those surveyed also expressed concern about the impact increased regulation may have on their data gathering and analysis capabilities, as reported by Emarketer.


  • Officials in Great Britain are recommending increased regulation of internet content that could result in individual liability for executives of large internet platforms like Google and Facebook, according to reporting by The New York Times. Prime Minister Teresa May was quoted by the Times as saying “for too long these companies have not done enough to protect users, especially children and young people, from harmful content.”


  • More images may mean higher SEO rankings by Google, according to research by seoClarity as reported by Media Post. The research found images were appearing more frequently in the top search results. Researchers said SEO optimization strategies need to take account of search engine users’ preference for images over text, as keywords used used in searches contain images more than one third of the time.


  • The online shopping application Dote has attracted $12 million in new funding and will offer online shopping parties to users that seek to replace the experience of going to the mall with friends. The application allows shoppers to make purchases on the Dote app from a range of retailers and includes recommendations from social media influencers, according to reporting by Tech Crunch.

What: Demographics may have once been the Golden Rule for turning market segments into sales. But Volaris goes deeper with platform marketing that tracks and analyzes exactly what customers do online. As a result, the airline can see what messaging and channels work best.
Why it matters: Moment to moment, Volaris is watching consumers’ internet browsing behaviors. Using a constantly updated algorithm for precise attribution, the airline drills down to individual preferences to convert interests and preferences into ticket sales.


Male, female, Baby Boomer, Generation Y: the basics of market segmentation have guided brand marketing and media purchases for years. But AI-powered attribution anchored in methods for tracking consumers’ behaviors online have changed the playing field forever.

Take the Mexican low-cost airline Volaris. Volaris sold its first ticket in 2006. It flies to domestic and international destinations in the Americas. As a result, its domestic market share in Mexico tops 30-percent.

In the highly competitive field of airline ticket sales, Volaris’ Head of Performance Marketing Jose Langarica is all things digital. In a sit-down interview with Portada at Portada Miami, he pulled the curtain back on how the brand uses sophisticated attribution and data analysis to identify and convert potential customers.

One key takeaway Langarica offered is that where and what consumers do on digital is now more important than which demographic segment they belong to.

We analyze all channels but focus on the one channel that had more impact than another.

Platform Marketing and Online Behaviors

“We look more at behaviour, not demographics,” Langarica told Portada. “I’m interested in how often you purchase, how often you’ve been looking for flights, are you looking for swimwear.”

Using what Langarica said is a “very complex algorithm,” the airline assigns a value to each of the digital touchpoints consumers make.

Using its own and third-party data, tracking online behaviors combined with its algorithm lets Langarica’s team see well beyond demographics. Consequently, it can drill down to consumers’ individual preferences and learning which channels and which messages work best.

“What we do is analyze all of the touchpoints and look at the consumer’s behavior at each one: did they open or not open an email, did they see a banner ad but not click on it,” Langarica explained.

Volaris has its finger on the pulse of “all the digital channels,” and consequently works with content to bring consumers to the Volaris page for a purchase.

Attribution: Measuring Which Channels and What Content Work Best

A consumer may start the day viewing a Volaris email. Then they see the brand on social media, and later Volaris content on their computer. Then later in the day, the consumer may see a video or an announcement that they click on which converts into a sale.

“We analyze all channels but focus on the one channel that had more impact than another,” Langarica told Portada, discussing the airline’s platform marketing technology.

Volaris is testing its attribution model “all the time.”

We look more at conduct (online), not demographics.

The most important channel varies depending upon the campaign. “It depends on the promotion and the objective. The attribution model has to be very well defined,” Langarica said.

“What was the channel that produced the conversion: that is the most important,” he said.

Third-Party vs. First-Party Data

Volaris uses third-party data in its analysis of consumer preferences and digital behaviors. But Langarica said first-party data is the “most trustworthy.”

“With third-party data, you don’t have the same level of confidence.”

Which key performance indicators does the airline use?

Langarica said he looks at the number of website transactions. They include those on Volaris’ own application which is available on the Apple Store and at Google Play.

He said he also looks at the revenue each transaction generates. 

Volaris’ application can be downloaded to either a mobile phone or a tablet and, according to Langarica, there are customers that prefer to purchase their tickets through the application.


What: Carnival Cruise Line’s Christine Esteve, OMD Multicultural’s Ana Crandell, and CNN’s Seth Holladay kicked off the twelfth edition of Portada Miami with a panel entitled How Data and Content Continue to Fuel the Evolving World of Advertising.
Why it matters: Data continues to drive marketers’ efforts to gain the best and most granular understanding of markets and consumers, but Portada’s panelists offered some surprising back-to-basic advice as they enlightened the audience about the rapidly changing data and advertising landscape.

Data, and more of it, continues to guide strategy and content for media companies like CNN and brand marketers such as Carnival Cruise Lines. But participants in Portada Miami’s kickoff panel How Data and Content Continue to Fuel the Evolving World of Advertising had some surprisingly non-technical advice for their audience.

“You have to understand what you are trying to achieve. Then you have to find the data to support that,” panelist Andrew W. Russo, VP of Data Science at Starmark, advised the audience.

“It’s still about who, when, where, how, and what. I always ask: what is your objective when you start a project?”

Carnival Cruise Line’s VP of Ecommerce Cristine Esteve offered similar back-to-basics advice, noting that marketers sometimes make the mistake of using data that is drawn from samples that are not truly representative of the target audience they are trying to reach.

“It is imperative to know the sample from which the data is being sourced to be sure it is representative of the full breadth of the U.S. Make sure that the sample accurately represents against the segment you are planning,” she advised.

Esteve also emphasized the importance of having clear goals and objectives before wading into the complexity of using data to drive content.

You have to understand what you are trying to achieve. Then you have to find the data to support that.

OMD Multicultural’s Group Account Director Ana Crandell advised not to let the science obscure the importance of creativity in content creation. “The infusion of data has placed most of the focus on the science, but we as an industry need to swing the pendulum back to the artistic part as well.”

A/B Testing Alive and Well

A/B testing of content is alive and well at Carnival Cruise Lines, which uses it hundreds of times every day, according to Esteve, as it guides the use of headlines, product positioning, and how to build content that has a broad reach.

“Because of the complexity of all the data, and the fact that we can personalize content, we do a lot of A/B testing so that we are specifically talking to the different personal segments.

It is imperative to know the sample from which the data is being sourced.

A/B testing comes before machine learning, said CNN’s Seth Holladay, VP of Digital Research & Analytics for CNN. “Before you run a marathon, you have to be able to run a 5K.”

Insight: How CNN Mixes Data and Content

Panel moderator Guillermo Arduino, CNN Anchor and Correspondent for Encuentro
CNN en Español 
drilled down with questions aimed at understanding how CNN uses data to inform its content, audience understanding, and editorial strategy.

CNN collects data to both inform its editorial decisions and to give advertisers the most granular view of CNN’s wide and widely varied audience of viewers.

“We need to figure out what data to collect so that we can handle those dueling objectives,” Seth Holladay said.

CNN collects “tons of data” based on its audience’s viewing choices. “They are giving us tons of signals coming in the forms of what people are clicking on, where they are not clicking, what is causing them to leave the site, so we’re looking across the consumer touch points that we have. Then we connect this with our editors to inform their decisions on what they program, what content we program, where we put our resources,” Holladay said.

How Data Drives Content

Segmentation and statistical models are required to take data gathered from cookies and create a richer, more accurate knowledge of the target audience, according to Starmark’s Andrew Russo.

“We look for those statistical nuances to build content. I do a lot of work with digital marketing so I am looking at cookie data but it doesn’t tell me everything. We need to understand more about who we are targeting,” Russo said.

OMD Multicultural uses data to “inform content and develop the most important pieces of creative that then represent a perfect match to influence the consumer,” said Ana Crandell.

OMD also uses data on the “back end” to then validate that its creative strategies are working.

But creative still requires an artistic component, she emphasized. “Remember that the practice of media planning is both an art and a science.”

A bi-weekly summary of the most exciting recent news in marketing technology and trends. If you’re trying to keep up, consider this your one-stop shop.

  • Facebook is eliminating the “relevance score” on its advertising platform and replacing it with new metrics designed to give advertisers a sharper view of how their messages are performing. As reported by ClickZ, the new metrics replacing the relevance score are “quality ranking,” “conversion rate ranking,” and an “engagement rate” ranking. Ad effectiveness ranking on Facebook will also now be limited to the audience that has seen an ad in the past 30 days.


  • Brands are giving influencer marketing very high rankings in Linqia’s “The State of Influencer Marketing 2018” report. More than 80-percent  said they used influencer marketing in 2017. Some 44-percent of brands reported they plan to leverage influencer content on other digital channels, and 51-percent said that influencer content “outperforms” brand-created content. Instagram topped all social media platforms in the survey, with 92-percent of brands saying it is “the most important social network for influencer marketing in 2018.” Facebook followed at 77-percent.


  • Users of Instagram can now make purchases without leaving the social media application. More than 20 brands have joined the service called “Checkout with Instagram,” as reported by ClickZ. The new feature is aimed at reducing the number of shoppers that abandon their purchases because of the need to switch from Instagram to a brand’s own website.


  • Brands will no longer be able to target age groups, genders or zip codes when advertising housing and credit services and employment on Facebook. The social media platform has removed those categories following a successful lawsuit by organizations including the National Fair Housing Alliance and the Communications Workers of America. The use of Facebook’s “lookalike audience” tool will also be restricted for the same ad categories, according to ClickZ.


  • A recent study by Facebook, which owns Instagram, provides powerful data showing the importance Instagram now has for building brand awareness. Facebook, according to ClickZ, surveyed 21,000 Instagram users in 13 countries and found that more than 70-percent of users had positive impressions of brands they saw on the platform. Some 44-percent of users said they find out about brands for the first time on Instagram and 42-percent said they use Instagram to research brands.


  • Univision has chosen the Amobee platform to help advertisers plan and strategize their messaging on the Hispanic television network. Amobee’s technology will assist Univision across linear, social and digital platforms, so that the broadcaster can work with brands who want to use proprietary first-party data or custom target audiences to reach their preferred market segments, the broadcaster said in a recent release.


  • Taptica has now completed its acquisition of RhythmOne, making Taptica one of the leading independent video advertising companies in the U.S.


What: Meltwater’s Ana Hoyos, Latcom’s Valentin Bueno, and WeWork’s Ana Cristina Rivadeneyra discussed how they are using data and technology to build market share in Latin America at Portada Miami’s key insights panel: Marketing Tech in Latin America: The Opportunities Ahead.
Why it matters: Excellent data is essential for creating content that connects with consumers in LATAM, and brands shouldn’t shy away from partnering with technology providers to reach their goals in the region, according to speakers at participating in the panel on marketing technology in Latin America.

It’s “harder to get data in Latin America,” and even more difficult to build, according to Latcom CEO Valentin Bueno, a speaker at Portada Miami’s panel Marketing Tech in Latin America: The Opportunities Ahead. “We need to create our own data. The work is to build the data with the client. There is no one size fits all,” he told #portadaMIA attendees.

Using the right technology is also key, according to Ana Hoyos, Director of Meltwater Latin America, and also a speaker on the panel. She told attendees that brands shouldn’t be afraid of finding the right technology partners when marketing in the region.

You really need some sort of tool, and you need to use technology to help you leverage all of the data that is out there.

“There is a lot of data, so using the right technology and not being afraid to partner with the people that can give you the actionable insight,” is very important, Hoyos emphasized.

WeWork entered the region just two years ago, and panel speaker Ana Cristina Rivadeneyra, senior marketing lead at WeWork, said WeWork has developed its own listening tool to better understand WeWork’s customers in the market. The data gathered is used, in part, to determine the architecture and construction of WeWork’s work spaces in the region.

Partnering and Organization

Panel moderator Alejandro Clabiorne CEO of PHD Latam asked the panel participants to discuss their organizational approach to task of leveraging data and technology to reach consumers in the region.

“There are no barriers between tech and marketing,” at WeWork, Rivadeneyra said.

Meltwater places a lot of focus on AI, and works with companies that can help it “integrate data science into our daily operations,” said Hoyos. It’s important to educate customers who use Meltwater’s media monitoring and analysis services about the importance of data measurement and analytics, she said.

“Everyone needs to adapt. Everyone is on the boat,” so we want our clients to know “you don’t want to be left behind,” she told the #PortadaMIA attendees.

Latcom takes a partnership approach with its clients in the region to build data and systems than can guide its customers’ business decisions and planning, according to Bueno.


Technology and Data Insights

(L to R) Ana Cristina Rivadeneyra, Ana Hoyos, Valentin Bueno, and Alejandro Clabiorne.

When helping Microsoft launch out-of-home advertising, Latcom relied on technology to understand consumers’ behavior, Bueno said. After reaching a full understanding of the complex ecosystem of devices used by consumers in Latin America, content was tailored to fit those devices—which is often the mobile phone.

“Technology challenges everyone. We chose a complex task: how to use data to reach audiences that are difficult to reach,” Bueno explained.

Meltwater helps its customer Santander, the international banking brand, monitor its reputation in Latin America, said Hoyos.

“We create analytics that give them trends and insight. There is so much data. You really need some sort of tool, and you need to use technology to help you leverage all of the data that is out there,” Hoyos said.

Using the right technology and not being afraid to partner with the people that can give you actionable insight is very important.

“The most important thing for Santander is to understand the perception of its brand using data from traditional news and social channels,” Hoyos explained.

Meltwater uses AI and data science to track three million documents daily and organize the information to make sense out of it.

“What we have done is focus a lot on AI and companies that can help us integrate data science into our operations,” she said.

What: Major media and brand executives gathered at Portada Miami to share their experience and vision of the rapidly evolving landscape of marketing technology in Latin America.
Why it matters: The twelfth annual edition of #PortadaMIA focused on how technological innovation is reshaping the Latin America and US marketing space, and provided key takeaways on topics including ROPO, how data drives content, e-commerce, pan-regional marketing, and Miami’s growing importance as a marketing hub.

An impressive roster of marketing and media professionals gathered at the twelfth edition of Portada Miami to share their experience, vision, and insights into the rapidly advancing landscape of marketing technology in Latin markets, as well as the U.S.

Key takeaways included:

  • The right data can be hard to find, and even more difficult to build when understanding the consumer in Latin America.
  • Brands shouldn’t shy away from partnering with third-party providers when gathering and analyzing the data needed to provide actionable insights.
  • Back to basics still count: clearly established objectives should always drive the use of data and marketing technology.
  • Know your data sample: be sure it accurately represent the market you’re targeting.
  • Carefully monitor how your target audience consumes content so you know what relevant content is before you build a content strategy.
  • Research online is going to continue to grow and trigger sales.
  • Visiting websites is one of the most common activities on mobile phones in LATAM.
  • The online consumer today is not determined by demographics but rather by their interaction with digital.
  • Miami’s diverse workforce reflects what the U.S. will look like in years to come.
People engage with content that they believe in. That is one of the strengths of CNN.

Cynthia Hudson, SVP and General Manager of CNN en Español and Hispanic Strategy for CNN/US, kicked off Portada Miami with remarks highlighting the importance of making content relevant to consumers. “People engage with content that they believe in. That is one of the strengths of CNN,” she said. The day’s Thought Leadership Breakfast sponsored by CNN also emphasized the importance of the mobile phone for communicating with markets, as well as the growing role of voice-activated speakers like Alexa in consumers’ daily lives. It was also noted that there are more than 5 million hours of content uploaded to video platforms every day.



To Partner or Not to Partner

The debate over when, how and whether to partner when building data and content strategies was extensively debated by participants at #PortadaMIA, reflecting the lasting importance of this key question for brands. “There is a lot of data, so using the right technology and not being afraid to partner with the people that can give you the actionable insight,” is very important, Ana Hoyos, Director of Meltwater Latin America, advised during the day’s second panel Marketing Tech in Latin America: The Opportunities Ahead.

Speakers at the day’s first panel had a back-to-basics message for their audience, emphasizing the need to take care that your data sample accurately reflects the markets. Establishing clear objectives at the start of any initiative also won resounding agreement from the panel participants.

“I always ask: what is your objective when you start a project?” panelist Andrew W. Russo, VP of Data Science at Starmark, advised listeners.

Build Connections with Relevant Content

Portada Miami participants repeatedly emphasized the importance of making content relevant to the target market. Watch what your target audience is consuming content for, and how that relates to commerce. Understand what is relevant content before creating your content strategy, Andres Amezquita, VP Digital and Commercial Excellence at StanleyBlack & Decker told attendees.

That point was endorsed again by Carlos Leal, Marketing Director at Rappi, when he was interviewed by Kate Canel, Director of Performance Media at The Shipyard during the panel ROPO: A Deep Dive held in the afternoon.

It’s not demographics that determines the online consumer, but instead, watch their interaction with digital, Leal said. “The ROPO effect consolidates the strength of digital as an information channel.”

But Leal warned his audience that the ROPO (Research Online, Purchase Offline) consumer, because he or she tends  to always be informed before buying, tends to be more unfaithful at the point of sale. “The ROPO consumer feels like researching in digital, but his purchase is still conditioned by the need to see product advice from a seller,” Leal said.


Miami: Gateway to Latin America

Golin’s Scott Farrell and Pepsi’s Carlo Espinoza

Portada Miami attendees applauded remarks by Carlo Espinoza, Senior Marketing Manager, Latin America Beverages, Pepsico highlighting Pepsi’s phenomenally successful campaigns reaching out to new generations of consumers in Colombia and Jamaica.
And the backdrop of Miami’s spectacular waterfront and the towering Brickell City Centre served as perfect reminders of the importance of Miami in pan-regional marketing and as a gateway of diversity to Latin America.
An influx of new immigrants to the city, and the excellence of Miami’s colleges and universities contribute to creating a vibrant and diverse workforce that is a harbinger of what the U.S. will look like in the years to come, said Joseph Roisman, EVP, Perry Ellis International during the day’s final panel Miami’s Evolving Role As A Marketing Hub: A Brand Marketer’s View.

What: Anyone who has shopped Amazon has almost certainly received the highly personalized and targeted emails that land in their in-boxes based on products they’ve viewed or purchased on Amazon.
Why it matters: Brands have taken notice, and are following in Amazon’s footsteps using sophisticated automated email tools that track customers’ online behavior and then send personalized messaging. The impact of these automated emails is proving to be impressive.

Two years ago, the large-format retail store chain Curacao, headquartered in Los Angeles, began to send out automated emails based on customers’ interactions on Curacao’s website. The results have proven impressive, and Curacao plans to roll out new features offered by its automated emailing tool in the coming months.

“Any email that is deployed  automatically based on the customer’s behavior results in a much higher open (OR) and click through rates (CTR),” Curacao’s Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Ariela Nerubay tells Portada.

What results has Curacao seen using this new technology? “The average promotional email has an OR of 13-percent and a CTR of 1.1-percent  vs. automated behavioral emails that result in 32-percent  OR and 10-percent CTR,” according to Nerubay.

Just like on Amazon, Curacao’s automated emailing is based on a customer’s behavior on the Curacao retail website.  A range of customer’s actions on the website trigger specific email outreach by Curacao, from cart abandonment to special birthday promotions, specific browsing behavior, and the acquisition of new customers.

Relevant personalized email allows you to compete with Amazon.

 Curacao uses the tool Emarsys and sends email based on customers’ behaviors rather than preferences, according to Nerubay, who is a member of Portada’s Brand Star Committee, one of the six units of Portada’s Council System.  With opt-in email capturing, Curacao can then create customer segments for email targeting based on a customer’s purchasing history.

The Emarsys tool includes multiple features such as “Web Recommendations” that Curacao is preparing to roll out in the coming months.

Competing with Amazon

“Relevant personalized email allows you to compete with Amazon,” a recent online webinar sponsored by Drip said. Drip offers its own email automation tool and claims it delivered more than one billion emails for its customers in 2017.

Any email that is deployed automatically based on the customer’s behavior results in a much higher open (OR) and click through rates (CTR).

Using an email automation tool tied to customers’ behavior on your website helped one client grow its annual revenue by 22-percent, according to the Drip webinar host Tim Paige.

By inserting Java script on a website, a brand can track customers’ flow through the website and then build highly customized email campaigns. Drip’s automated email tool can also be integrated with Facebook advertising to capture the email addresses of customers that respond to opt-in campaigns Facebook.

“Automation and personalization in your marketing create a better experience for your customer and drive more sales. That’s how you are going to compete with Amazon,” according to Drip.

Customers using automated email based on customer behavioral tracking are “fighting the Amazon tide,” says Paige.

Online behavior tracking

What kind of customer interactions are brands tracking to then create specific, more personalized email campaigns?

Some examples include:

  • Visits to specific product pages (An email is sent out specific to the product a customer was viewing.)
  • New customer signups (A welcome email is sent to the new customer.)
  • Site or page abandonment (An email promoting the product or services offered on the abandoned page is sent to the customer who left the page.)
  • Unopened emails (Follow up emails are sent out multiple times.)

Lots of room for growth

It appears that automated emails based on customers’ online behavior has a lot of room to grow. According to one survey, only 27-percent of all email marketers are using automated email tools while nearly half of marketers using those tools want to find ways to improve upon them.

What: We looked at the results of the e-commerce marketing strategy of the top 15 online retail sites visited by shoppers in the U.S. in February of 2019 and how the sites scored in numbers of visitors.
Why it matters: Amazon’s relentless e-commerce marketing strategy and its increase of visits to its retail website continued in the second month of this year, topping 23-percent of all visits to the top 15 retail sites in the U.S.—nearly double that of its closest e-commerce rival Walmart at 12.2-percent of visits.

Number of visitors to the Top 15 e-commerce sites in the U.S., February 2019
Total Audience, Home and Work, PC/Laptop869,590
SiteTotal Unique Visitors*
Amazon Sites204146
eBay96790 Worldwide Sites61629
Target Corporation50061
Samsung Group46969
The Home Depot, Inc.34677
Kohl’s Corporation30904
Best Buy Sites30268
Macy’s Inc.26913

Source: Comscore
*Numbers reported as shown

Amazon Expansion Continues

Amazon continued to expand its online e-commerce dominance in the U.S. in February, gaining more than 2-percentage points compared to January, to reach 23.4-percent of all visits to the top 15 retail sites in the U.S. as measured by Comscore. The behemoth internet retailer expanded its online market share at the same time that brick-and-mortar retailers have closed 4,800 stores this year alone, according to the Financial Times. Analyst Deborah Weinswig told the newspaper she expects approximately 12,000 retail stores to be shuttered in the U.S. this year.

Brick-and-mortar retailer Best Buy saw its share of visits to the top 15 retail site in the U.S. slip from 4-percent in January to 3.4-percent in February. Macy’s, too, lost ground going from 4.3-percent in January to just 3-percent in February. Walmart continues to be the most successful brick-and-mortar retailer online, holding at second place in February with 12.2-percent of all visits to the top 15 ranked retail sites in the U.S.—but still well behind Amazon in online visits.

Best Buy, Home Depot slip

  • Best Buy slipped from 11th to 13th place from January to February in Comscore ranking.
  • The Home Depot, too, lost ground, going from 9th place in January to 10th place in February.
  • Apple held steady in 4th place with 7 percent of all site visits in February.
  • eBay, too, held its ground in third place with 11.1-percent of all visits, matching its share in January.
  • Macy’s saw a decline in its site visits from 4.3-percent of all visits in January to 3-percent in February.
  • The top eight most-visited sites in the Comscore ranking held their positions from January to February, with Target ranking 5th.
  • Retailer Kohl’s continued to see a downward trend in its share of visits to the top 15 sites, from 5.5-percent in December to 3.8-percent in January to 5-percent in February.

What: CNN’s SVP of Research and Scheduling Robin Garfield tells Portada how the ubiquitous news broadcaster is navigating the complex landscape of digital, mobile, OOH and OTT television viewing habits along with the greatly expanded opportunities they present for brands to communicate with their markets.
Why it matters: In spite of predictions that the small screen would go the way of the dinosaur, quite the opposite is occurring as multiple platforms and viewing opportunities inside and outside the home bring viewers closer to CNN in their living rooms, including millennials, making it an even stronger medium for advertising.

Like the famous newspaper headline proclaiming “Dewey Beats Truman,” predictions of the demise of the traditional home television haven’t proven to be true. In fact, in a recent interview with Portada, CNN’s Senior Vice President of Research and Scheduling Robin Garfield describes a much different landscape where brand marketers have new and expanding opportunities to communicate with their markets via advertising on CNN.

Some of Garfield’s top insights include:

  • While viewers are using more and more platforms to view CNN, “traditional TV viewing has never been stronger.”
  • CNN is the “youngest” news brand on TV and mobile phones are a gateway for Millennials to both discover and become loyal CNN viewers.
  • More viewers prefer to watch CNN live when viewing CNN on over-the-top (OTT) media
  • CNN’s online shopping guide CNN Underscored has proven very popular with consumers.

Measuring Out-of-Home Viewing

CNN was an early adopter of OOH (out-of-home) metrics to understand how CNN content is consumed in airports, bars, doctors’ offices and other public venues. “It’s been our mission to be able to just holistically tell a story about where people are encountering CNN and how they are consuming us in those places.” Garfield told Portada.

Traditional TV viewing has never been stronger.
Each viewing experience of CNN away from home is “unique,” and the broadcaster, using its measurement data and understanding of each, works to help advertisers to tailor their messaging for maximum impact. “What is important to us when working with advertisers is to understand what the advertiser is trying to accomplish and then help them understand what the different platforms are.”

CNN’s Robin Garfield will participate at #PortadaNY on April 3 where she will be a speaker on the panel “How data and content continue to fuel the evolving world of advertising.

CNN doesn’t let so-called “analysis paralysis” get in the way. “It is easy to get the data wrong.  We still need to rely on our expertise. But it’s vital that researchers focus on the research goals and the best tools for the job rather than chasing available data.”

Live TV Most Popular OTT Choice

Over the top (OTT) viewing opportunities, including services like Apple TV, are another very important venue for CNN consumers, and the single most popular CNN OTT content is Live TV. “We’re on all of the platforms and on each of the OTT media we have our live TV feed, on-demand content, (original series, big events) video on demand, and clips. But live TV is really important,” Garfield told Portada.

It’s vital that researchers focus on the research goals and the best tools for the job rather than chasing available data.
“I don’t want to overstate the difference between the OTT opportunities because they are all different, but I think more than anything else they are all growing and evolving and creating new capabilities for advertisers with targeting that makes them very exciting.”

Mobile a CNN Gateway for Millennials

Millennials “skew” to watching CNN on mobile platforms like smart phones, and the mobile phone has proven to be a gateway for acquiring their loyalty which includes, watching CNN at home on a traditional television.

Garfield said she recently spoke with a young 19-year-old woman who started watching CNN on her mobile phone, and has become a big fan of CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront. “The gateway platform was the phone but she catches up at the end of the day,” on her television at home, Garfield said explaining the woman’s CNN consumption pattern.

Importance of CNN’s Multi-cultural Audience

 A proposal to put a citizenship question on the US census is being watched closely by CNN, according to Garfield. “From a research perspective, it is very important that the US Census methodology does not change in a way that discourages participation. A variety of research sources and methods rely on it to establish the total, available universe.

What: inQmatic’s CEO Marcelo Rodriguez tells Portada how his fintech startup is using sophisticated data- and consumer-knowledge content strategies to disrupt the lending market to under-capitalized Hispanic businesses.
Why it matters: inQmatic’s successful knowledge-driven digital marketing content strategy has won it a place at the table connecting under-capitalized Hispanic businesses with lenders. Rodriguez will share the details of how inQmatic is capturing this specific cultural market segment at #PortadaNYData on April 3.

Technology is on the tip of the tongue of every brand marketer struggling to decide which tools to use in the rapidly evolving world of digital marketing. Video, AI, VR, social media, Google search…the list of options grows endless. But at the end of the day, you have to understand your customer’s needs first before deploying digital technology so as to deliver exactly the right content to your specific market segment, according to fintech startup inQmatic CEO Marcelo Rodriquez.

Portada recently caught up with Rodriquez to ask him to provide a preview of his participation at #PortadaNYData on April 3 when he will discuss of how inQmatic has successfully captured the attention and trust of Hispanic businesses often overlooked by financial institutions in the US and under-capitalized as a result.

Our business ecosystem, which encompasses a lending platform, education program and networking opportunities, allows responsible lenders, educational institutions and business services companies to access the Spanish-speaking market in an efficient manner.”

inQmatic’s Marcelo Rodriguez, CEO, will be a featured speaker at #PortadaNYData on April 3 where he will provide insights into how inQmatic takes deep knowledge of the Hispanic small business market to guide digital marketing and communications to capture the market for lenders.

Portada: What does inQmatic do to identify this under-banked, Spanish-speaking target market?

MR: When it comes to the Hispanic market, we have 15 years’ worth of research. This deep knowledge of the Spanish-speaking small business market allows us to structure not only the content for them but also loans focused on their needs. It’s an under-served market with an opportunity gap of $1.67 trillion dollars per year.

Portada: How did inQmatic come to its deep understanding of the needs of this market?

MR: We developed a complete study on the financial behavior and business educational needs of the Hispanic market, which allows us to structure specialized content for our potential clients. In a digital marketing world, the first thing to plan a successful market campaign is to understand the customer and to learn what exactly it is that they need. So, we start from the understanding their business needs then we deploy a full-blown education campaign to get their trust. That is the most difficult part, to get people to trust you in an environment where they have been taken advantage of.

Our business ecosystem, which encompasses a lending platform, education program and networking opportunities, allows responsible lenders, educational institutions and business services companies to access the Spanish-speaking market in an efficient manner.

Portada: What makes inQmatic’s way of identifying customers different from say the lenders that also want to identify those targets?

MR: The constant communication and becoming their business influencer is our main goal. We want to become the go-to advisor for all their business needs. So, we need partners that understand the consumers. We have Ecuadorian, Dominicans, Colombian, Mexican accountants, lawyers, bankers, associations that understand not only the US laws and regulations but the cultural aspects so we can have an honest conversation with our customers and help them better.

Portada: What technologies and tools does inQmatic use to successfully reach this market segment?

MR: Our main process is very simple: We use Google trends and Google keyword tools to find out general business loans terms. Then, we cross-reference these terms with Facebook Audience and Google PPC to decide what type of content will have the best return. Our business model is very simple: the cost to acquire a customer is ten-times lower than in the general market. We can then invest those savings on conversion.

Portada: Can you share some of the more technical aspects of your marketing, like the specific tools you use?

MR: Our tech stack is made up of: Google Suite for Productivity, WordPress as a CMS, Copper for CRM, MailChimp for email marketing, SpyFu for competitive research, Smartsheets for Project Management, Google Ads for SEM, Facebook, Instagram Ads Platform, Google Analytics for analytics, Google Optimize for Optimization, and Google Data Studio for BI.

The Portada Data and Content Marketing Forum  next Wednesday April 3 in New York City is a great opportunity  for brand, agency and media executives  to learn directly from the experts how data and content are being leveraged for increasing ROI. A star-studded list of speakers, which includes CNN’s Robin Garfield, Heineken’s Belen Pamukoff, Sotheby’s International Realty’s John Passerini, Leonor Palao, AVP, Brand and Advertising at Oppenheimer Funds  and the Washington Post’s Annie Granatstein will dive deep into how data analytics drive content strategies and ultimately content influences commerce.

If you are looking for fresh insights into how data and content are driving  advertising and e-commerce, get your tickets now  for the Portada Data and Content Marketing Forum which will take place in New York City at the Cachet Boutique Hotel on April 3.

The event includes a special breakfast panel courtesy of CNN en Español as well as time set aside for valuable networking.

Here’s what you can’t miss:


John Passerini, Global VP Interactive Marketing, Sotheby’s International Realty
John Passerini is on a roll, and Sotheby’s International Realty is reaping the benefits of his “digital first” approach
to the venerable firm’s marketing, raising the bar in the industry and connecting with  consumers in new
and highly personalized ways. How is he leveraging AR and video to create content that builds market loyalty even before a customer makes a purchase? How can a company’s own AR application be used to drive sales? What approaches and decisions are driving Sotheby’s digital success?



Join a highly informative and insightful discussion of how data and content are joined to produce a higher return on investment for brand marketers. Hear valuable experiences from both sides of the marketing coin: media and brand strategists. as well as agency

Moderator, Guillermo Arduino, CNN Anchor and Correspondent for Encuentro, CNN en Español




Robin Garfield, SVP, Research & Scheduling, CNN




LaToya Christian, Managing Partner Marketing Strategy and Analytics, GroupM




Belem Pamukoff, Heineken Brand Director, Tecate & Tecate Light




AI is sweeping the marketing and customer communications landscape by storm. Leonor Palao, AVP, Brand and Advertising at Oppenheimer Funds and Annie Granatstein, Head of WP BrandStudio, The Washington Post will reveal how Oppenheimer Funds and the Washington Post partner to leverage data and ensure that native content is served within contextually relevant content served up by WAPO.. Hear how these brand and tech innovators answer questions about the role of AI, how brands who do not use first party data or a DMP can profit from a partnership with a publisher and more….

Leonor Palao, AVP, Brand and Advertising at Oppenheimer Funds




Annie Granatstein, Head of WP BrandStudio






What are the best-in-class content passion points being used to reach the more than 8 million Puerto Rican, Dominican and Cuban consumers on the US mainland? How are brands successfully marketing to this important part of the Hispanic population? Hear all the answers from Augusto Romano, CEO of
DIGO Hispanic Media who will be interviewed by Edwina Morales, Group Media Director Multicultural at Horizon Media.



Juan Carlos Samper, CEO, We Are Content

Get ready to hear insights and leading-edge tips onSpanish-language content marketing in the United States from Juan Carlos Samper, the CEO of We Are Content. We Are Content is a site where agencies and brands can connect with thousands of providers of content strategy marketing including video and animation, photograpy, audio, music, design, translation and copy.


INQMC is a rapidly growing e-commerce business leveraging content to build market share in the fintech sector. CEO Marcelo Rodriguez will explain how INQMC, a digital financial advisor and digital financial platform, is using content strategy and technology to connect under capitalized Hispanic businesses with small-business lenders. Rodriguez will pull the curtain back on the techniques and insights INQMC’s is deploying to grow its brand and customers’ loyalty. “As Hispanic entrepreneurs in the US, we saw thriving businesses unable to grow because of their lack of financial knowledge and access to capital.”


Enjoy the sights and sophistication of the Big Apple and hone your data and content marketing skills at the same time. Click on the banner below now!

What: Paula’s Choice Skincare’s Rajaa Grar, Senior Director, Global Brand Marketing, reveals to Portada the keys to keeping content coherent across channels and why authenticity is critical to successful influencer marketing.
Why it matters: Paula’s Choice Skincare has built a cult following of consumers worldwide. At Portada Los Angeles, Grar will provide insights into how she uses influencers and informative content to generate brand awareness with new consumers, while deepening bonds with existing ones.

Paula’s Choice Skincare has built a cult following of enthusiastic consumers across the globe with “real talk about real facts,” and a singular focus on helping women with the truth about skincare. Founded by Paula Begoun in 1994, the highly successful cosmetic brand “helps women see real results,” according to its website. “We create skincare that’s shockingly straightforward.”

Senior Director of Global Brand Marketing Rajaa Grar is building upon and expanding the brand’s success with highly strategic influencer marketing and insightful awareness of the best approach for keeping content coherent across all marketing channels. Portada caught up with Grar for a preview of her participation at #PortadaLA on March 15th and where she will speak on “Influencer marketing: why passion and shared values are key.”

Portada: Content needs to be coherent across channels. What are the best practices for that? How do you get to that result?

 RG: For us, it all starts with a robust content and social strategy that is rooted in science-backed research and truly addresses our consumers and brand needs. We strive to empower our audience with the most educational and informative content on skin’s health and skincare while being relevant and engaging. Of course, the content may need to be customized depending on the platform but, it always needs to be aligned with our brand strategy and DNA.

Paula’s Choice Skincare’s Rajaa Grar, Senior Director, Global Brand Marketing, will be a featured speaker at #PortadaLA on March 15 when she will provide insights into how she uses influencers and informative content to generate brand awareness with new consumers.

Portada: Driving passion points through brand loyalty is key for you. How do you accomplish this and what role does influencer marketing play in that?

RG: At Paula’s Choice, we are passionate and absolutely love all aspects of skincare. Our consumers know it and it is one of the main reasons that the brand has a loyal following for the past 24 years and many of our products are cult favorites across the globe. Our influencer marketing strategy is centered around generating brand awareness among new consumers and deepening our bond with existing ones. Hence, many of the content creators that we collaborate with are skincare enthusiasts and share our skincare passion. They also have followers who are Paula’s choice fans as well. They also truly respect our brand and skincare philosophy, rooted in truth and advocacy and are themselves fans of the brand.

Portada: What do you see as being the three top tips/lessons to follow when using influencers in marketing efforts?

RG:  Stay authentic to your brand’s essence when aligning with ambassadors. Don’t be driven solely by the number of followers an influencer has. Deploy your marketing resources carefully.

Getting to know our influencers on a deeper level is essential as they are an extended part of our brand family.

Portada: How does Paula’s Choice protect its brand ethos/image when using influencer marketers?

RG: We go through a careful vetting process ahead of any collaboration and of course getting to know our influencers on a deeper level is essential as they are an extended part of our brand family. When doing so, the results are not only most authentic, but our brand efforts are reaping the benefits for a longer period of time after the content goes live.

Portada: What is the profile of the typical influencer Paula’s Choice prefers to use?

RG: We do not have really a typical profile of one influencer as we want to appeal to a diverse pool of consumers. We want to empower a wider audience to discover the power of our products as our brand truly transforms skin for the better and has changed people’s lives time and time again. We aim to collaborate with influencers that authentically love our brand and have experienced the transformative nature of our products. We found that those people are the most loyal and effective brand ambassadors.

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