The digital media specialist and CEO of Screen Media Group, Neron Meiler, shares with us the importance of pivoting the business model in order to thrive in the new normal economy that we are all in.
Screen Media Group specializes in Hispanic marketing, so the answers include his know-how in the Latin American market and brands.
Q1. How do you help Latin American companies entering into the USA Market? How different is it from supporting a USA-based company entering into Latin American market?
We have offices in Latin America and the USA, we know both markets and speak both languages. This allows us to offer a full service to our clients that need to have a presence and understanding of both markets.
Latin America works somewhat like a mirror compared to the USA. In Latin America, labor is not that expensive, but the cost of importing hardware and paying for software in US Dollars is expensive. On the contrary, in the USA the payroll is a big burden and companies try to do things more efficiently, and are more willing to pay for technology that can automate things, at the cost of getting a closer relationship with a client.
The US market is huge compared to most Latin American countries, so scalability and the need to cut costs in order to grow are very different. Both markets respond very differently. Latin America is generally at least 6 months behind adopting new social media platforms and a couple of years behind in terms of e-commerce solutions. This off-course changes with time, the gap used to be much bigger a few years ago.
Many American marketing executives assume that all Latin America behaves the same way, but in reality, every country is unique and has different customs, consume services in different ways and adopt technologies very differently. In reality, you cannot implement the same strategy in all countries in the same way.
Q2. Digital transformation for companies and brands has become almost mandatory in a very short time. As a digital agency, can you share why digital transformation is so important now?
The way people buy and interact with brands has changed and is changing in 2020 faster than we expected. When a company keeps doing the same and does not evolve at the same pace as the market, they become invisible to their audience.
Q3. Upon your experience, how do you think COVID-19 has impacted the businesses?
The main factor here is that nobody knows what to expect now. The worst thing for a business is to have uncertainty about their consumers, the market, and the rules. This usually generates paralysis, and that kills a business.
The changes in consumer behavior and the adoption of technology for everyday life aspects have pulverized traditional businesses that for years enjoyed a comfortable situation of doing business as usual. Leading companies are losing their first position and their brand loyalty against new companies.
This situation has been happening for a few years now, COVID-19 is simply accelerating the transformation that was already underway.
Q4. Based on your know-how in digital marketing, what steps do you suggest companies take now?
It is impossible to stay in business doing the same that you were doing 6 months ago. If your business has been benefiting from the current situation, you still need to approach your consumers in a different way. Companies now need to have a purpose, be honest and have a conversation with their customers. They should also need to be fast and responsive. This can only be achieved through the implementation of digital transformation.
If your business is struggling, there is no receipt that will fit all companies, but as a general rule, you need to think about ways to reopen your business fast and be able to pivot. This simply means the ability to experiment with different options to find real opportunities and be able to implement and measure your actions.
Q5. How do we find these new business opportunities?
The keyword here is Innovation. Innovation is not a technology, nor is it trying to make more money with fewer resources. It is not creativity nor implementing what is “trendy”. Sadly, this is what most of the companies try to do when they don’t have a strategy and just want to change in order to think that they are at least doing something.
Innovation is a capability, even more than that is having the vision and being able to implement it. Pivoting fast so that you maintain your basic source of income and your essential operation and then try new alternatives to connect with potential customers and offer them an experience. Trying alternative ways of reaching clients is an innovative way to improve your product and to solve the current problems that people have.
We are in times to think outside of the box, to do the unimaginable. The opportunities are truly endless. But you also have to have your feet in the ground while you look for the stars. Humans have proven to be very intelligent, but also very lazy. That is why we constantly seek to make our lives easier. Leverage is the knowledge you can get from the experience that your product or service can generate.
Q6. Does this imply that we need to change our products or services?
Not necessarily, the Milk industry for years was trying to convince people that Milk was important if you wanted to have good health, (not that it was true), but that is what they were doing. Then, they changed and implemented a very successful campaign center in the experience, with the slogan, Got Milk? and sold way more milk connecting with their audience emotionally than explaining the benefits of milk. The product did not change, but the connection of the product with the audience did.
Sometimes it is about improving the product, and sometimes it is about connecting your product with an audience. Today it is not that important how much memory ram your phone has or what is the technology inside your refrigerator. It’s about what they can do for you and how the relationship is between the company and the consumer.
It is important to go to your core, by that I mean that you need to meet with your current clients, create surveys, ask people, team up with your employees, and be open and flexible. Once you have a clear vision, you need to know that you don’t need to do this alone. There are companies like us, we can help. We are doing it daily with our clients.
The product can improve, the communication can be better, the service can be polished, but the core values of the company need to be the same.
Q7. What recommendations would you give to a company that does not want to join the digital transformation?
The logic is simple; If you continue with the old ideas of your business and you fail to innovate, you will begin to disappear, this is if you have not already done so. Many companies have disappeared, but have not yet realized it. When they do, it will be too late.
Disappearing is a consequence … a consequence of losing the vision of the business model, facing an evolving world, where current customers would be willing to continue consuming. That explains how Kodak, the world’s leading photography company, went bankrupt the year the most photos were taken in the world. Ironic isn’t it?
Q8. What is an example of how to attract a specific niche or group of target people?
We live in a digital age where almost everything is immediately available and millennials love this. We don’t even need to leave the house to go shopping, watch a movie, buy food, or talk to friends and loved ones. Getting on this car is absolutely vital to marketing success.
In previous years, we may have had little or no direct interaction with our consumers, but with emails, private messages, and feedback, we have to correspond with consumers to build rapport and trust.
Business can have a major impact on implementing technologies that will allow them to reach more people, faster, more efficiently using for example Marketing Automation or Growth Marketing Tactics. This will give them an advantage over companies that keep business as usual.
We understand disruption as the provision of a new offer of value by a new player in the market, which presents a significantly better offer for the final consumer, optimizing and improving on current offers. We must move from Strategic Planning to Innovation Planning.
Q9. After the COVID-19 crisis, it is expected that the need for digital agencies will increase. Companies will invest in digital more than ever. In this case, why do you think they should partner with your digital agency?
As we explain to our clients to whom we offer Digital Innovation Consulting services and digital marketing strategies, there are many tools that can ignite the necessary spark in companies, this in conjunction with the necessary change of mindset. It is gratifying to be able to achieve this day by day with the companies we work with.
We audit all the marketing efforts and assets and work together to find the best possible option to enter the market with the winning strategy.
We will help you understand the market better and offer solutions and show you the options so that you can make informed decisions.
This is a complex situation that companies are facing right now, but you are not alone, you don’t have to have all the burden. We can help.
Q10. What industries are your clients mainly focused on? How has COVID-19 affected these industries?
COVID-19 has impacted all industries, some clients are doing better, all the food products that have e-commerce are doing better, but had to adapt in communicating better with clients, improve service and optimize their process. The travel industry has been impacted the most, but are serving now local clients and working on new possibilities empowering people in need with work from home possibilities and creating a bigger network than the one that they had before.
Q11. How does being a DAN member contribute to your agency’s success?
In terms of exposure and credibility, DAN network has been positive to our brand recognition. This is our third year participating and the benefits are many. Apart from articles that we have written and this interview, been part and have recognition from your industry is of great value.
About Screen Media Group
Screen Media Group is a Top Digital Marketing Agency that helps Latin and Hispanic companies enter the US market as well as US companies that want to conquer the Latin and Hispanic audiences.