Jesus Hoyos (Latin America) - The Impact of Social Media in Latin America

The IT sector in Latin America is flourishing. Jesus Hoyos, an independent CRM consultant, covers the ways in which social media provides the Latin American market the opportunities to fulfil its potential.

It is not hard to overlook the social media explosion in Latin America. Do a quick search in Google and you will find all kinds of reports and analysis of the current growth of Social Media in Latin America. Bearing this in mind, it is also hard to miss the high use of SMS in the region. As we know, there are great opportunities for companies to use social media and SMS for marketing, especially in the business to consumer market. Many of these marketing initiatives are run by agencies creating all kind of data silos that eventually need to be integrated with CRM systems. The question is how ready are the IT departments of Latin America companies for managing social data and integrating it with the companies' systems.

Keep in mind that:

1. Latin America is a B2C market, in contrastto the CRM market in United States, which is a B2B driven market.
2. Campaign Management or Marketing Automation are also important aspects of the CRM ecosystem in Latin America.
3. Many agencies are using BTL marketing integrated with CRM systems to increase the average ticket (especially in retail).
4. Call Center outsourcing is big business in the region.

And now that we have the social media explosion, IT departments in Latin America need to start embracing social media. For example;

1. Adding social data to marketing databases owned by the agencies.
2. Bring the marketing database process to the IT organization.
3. Connect Facebook apps to the CRM systems.
4. Add Social Media monitoring to the call center.
5. Add social analytics to the current customer datamart.

IT and marketing departments need to start working together to establish guidelines and bring social data into the organization, avoiding any data silos. The problem is that nowadays nobody is in control of an entire social media budget (from planning to privacy and from technology to guidelines). And this is something IT departments need to start addressing now if they want to be competitive.

However, IT organizations also need to start using wikis and collaboration tools internally, and need to move fast in making decisions. They must show marketing, sales and service departments that they are as effective as the agencies. New methodologies such as Agile/Scrum are options to quickly deploy projects. IT department staff need to be able to understand the Internet and Social Media (from how to develop a Facebook app, to how to create sites with HTML 5.0). Training and change management should be used to close this gap.

What should IT do? Be ready for the change that is already here. Establish a change management plan to listen, engage and act with your other departments in your organization to understand what all these changes are about - from Cloud Computing to SaaS to Mobile apps to Social Analytics.

By Jesus Hoyos. Jesus is a CRM consultant, speaker, influencer and Independent Analyst for the CRM industry in Latin America. Jesus is also a partner at Solvis Consulting, check his website here.