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Digital consumers create changes in marketing strategies

By ELISABETH ROMAN of Caribbean Business

August 11, 2005
Copyright © 2005 CARIBBEAN BUSINESS. All Rights Reserved.

Whether in print or through television, radio, or any other type of media, mass marketing is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. For years, specialized or niche publications and television channels featuring specific programming have allowed advertisers to reach targeted markets. Yet, with the advent of technology, the Internet, and wireless communications, the door now is wide open for consumers to control the information they receive, as well as when and how they choose to receive it. Digital technology is changing the relationship between advertisers and consumers in the 21st century.

Targeting mass markets is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Thirty years ago, about 70% of the island’s advertising budgets were targeted toward mass-market advertising. That is no longer true today with advertising budgets distributed toward targeting specific market segments for a better return on investment. Major brands such as McDonald’s, Coca Cola, Kraft, and Proctor & Gamble that have traditionally been associated with mass-marketing campaigns, now are carefully and skillfully targeting their consumers and using the Internet more.

Trying to appeal to everyone requires a huge investment and oftentimes isn’t very effective. Marketing strategies now require advertisers to become more efficient in dividing and aiming their budgets toward specific targeted markets, rather than investing a chunk of their budgets into a single mass-market message, which may or may not reach the consumers with purchasing power.

A mainland U.S. business publication recently reported that in the 1960s, an advertiser could reach 80% of the U.S. female population simply by advertising on the three main television stations CBS, NBC, and ABC. Today, an ad would have to air on 100 TV channels to have a prayer in duplicating such a feat.

Segmentation of the market is nothing new. In Puerto Rico, it began over 30 years ago in the form of specialized magazines and publications targeted toward women, business, health, or other specific topics. It really is a matter of sending the right message to the right market segment using the right targeted vehicle.

Virtually unheard of just 10 years ago, no one could have imagined the Internet and wireless communications would become one of the most important ways of communicating locally and globally. Now, cellphones and computers have become vital business and household tools with no signs of turning back. These digital devices are providing consumers of all ages with practically unlimited access and control over information.

As consumers become more sophisticated, they are seeking greater information on the products and services they acquire. Consumers also are more mobile, spending less time at home with wireless communications opening the door for them to access new alternative sources of media. While the disappearance of the mass market will never happen, advertisers have begun seeking and applying more creative ways, including the Internet, to reach specific markets.

While Internet advertising has just barely begun to take off in Puerto Rico, the potential of this medium already is recognized on the U.S. mainland with online ad spending reaching $7.4 billion in 2004. There already are over one million Internet users in Puerto Rico, with over 600,000 connected on a daily basis.

No medium has penetrated Puerto Rico households to the extent that the Internet has in a short period of time. Search engines, such as PuertoRicoWOW (, receive more than 14 million hits a day as visitors seek to stay informed of the latest information on the island. Although Puerto Rico hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface of the potential of this marketing and business tool, many companies on the island such as Banco Popular, Metro Island Mortgage, H&F, and Condado Travel have discovered the importance of the Internet as a tool to help reach their clients.

This Caribbean Business article appears courtesy of Casiano Communications.
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