Marco Gomes is the founder of social media advertising company Boo-box, which reaches 60 million people in Brazil monthly with ads from clients like Google, Unilever, Volkswagen and Microsoft. He’ll be speaking at our upcoming TNW Conference Latin America, which takes place on 28 and 29 August in São Paulo, Brazil.
In the run-up to the conference, we caught up with Gomes to find out about what it’s like to do business in Brazil, how foreign companies should approach the market, and what we can expect from his talk.
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TNW: Through Boo-box, you have access to vast audience is Brazil. What characterizes the Brazilian online advertising market compared to other markets such as the US? What works best there?
MG: Our online advertising market differs from US on one major point: portals. In Brazil, until some years ago, all the Internet content consumption was in big portals. They are like newspapers: you choose one that you like best, pay for it monthly and get all your information from them, from politics news to stock quotes and even email messages. This was how Generation X consumed media: from one preferred source, as they did with newspapers in the 1980s.
Since the rise of Generation Y (or millennials), we changed the online behavior: we consume content and services from multiple sources, like blogs, social networks and online searches. The advertiser must adapt to this new online media environment, where people get content from multiple sources and displaying your ads on three or four portals don’t work as it used to.
Here in Brazil the portals are still with a big share of the online advertising budget, and only on the last few years the traditional advertisers are looking for new ways to reach the target-audience, since they need to keep improving the ROI of their online advertising campaigns.
TNW: Beyond Brazil you expanded into Argentina in 2011. How has your expansion strategy developed?
MG: In 2011 we merged with an artificial intelligence company from Buenos Aires, they are the innovation core of our group and work in experimental products to clients like Unilever mostly with data mining and social media analysis.
TNW: Any plans to expand beyond Latin America? Can you compete on a global scale?
MG: I prefer not to discuss future plans, sorry :/
TNW: What advice would you give to tech companies moving into the the Brazilian market?
MG: Don’t think it is easy, it isn’t. Business in Brazil is much less objective than in markets like US. In Brazil, the best product/offer not aways is the winner, lots of other points are also decisive, like the relationship with the decision makers and your reputation on the market. So, improve your networking, meet the decision makers and prepare to have long meetings.
TNW: We live in uncertain economic times. Are you upbeat about Brazil’s tech sector?
MG: I’m very optimistic about Brazil’s tech market. We do have lots of challenges like improving the country’s infrastructure, online content quality and business processes but for an entrepreneur, every problem is also an opportunity, right? Someone will solve our problems, I hope it will be a good entrepreneur doing that.
Boo-box is working on the online content quality problem and the guys at Easytaxi are working on the infrastructure and transportation problem. Every day there’s an entrepreneur trying to solve an important problem in Brazil and that generates value and wealth.
TNW: You’re taking part in the The Next Web Conference Latin America 2013. Can you give us a brief hint about what you’ll be speaking about there?
MG: Most of the early-stage tech companies face a very common problem: growing the user base. I’ll share some key learnings from my 6 years experience on how to grow your user base with online advertising. I’ll present some cases of Brazilian companies that are attracting more users with advertising campaigns on niche websites and social networks.