Latin America: B2B Marketing’s Biggest Opportunity

Industrial marketing has grown leaps and bounds since the explosion of the internet, with businesses looking to grow and connect to complementary partners across the globe.

This online business to business marketing initially limited itself to highly visible emerging or dominant economies, reaching concentration in the U.S. and Europe as well as China. With Latin America booming and international business eyeing the region for development, more and more companies are seeking straightforward, immediately profitable B2B connections with Latin suppliers and buyers.

The trend of international commerce highlights Latin America as a huge hotspot for investors, as businesses begin leaping to invest in the region.

LatAm Online

The accelerating use of the internet in Latin America is spurring this huge leap in investment, with over 48% of the population online as of mid-2012. Huge markets such as Brazil are wide open for investment, with rapid growth propping the country above such established markets as the United Kingdom in terms of number of users. At over 40 million users, Brazil has a swiftly expanding user base who are taking more of their personal and business interactions online.

While Brazil has attracted the lion’s share of attention, the remainder of Latin America is also beginning to stir.

Even faster growth than experienced in Brazil is now driving businesses to invest their time in online marketing efforts, seeking out complementary web partners or new business contacts in Latin America. Business to business interactions are being driven by the easing of regional tariffs and an understanding that companies must seek likeminded partners (preferably partners who are available online and internationally visible). These businesses are now easier to find than ever before, with a projected online advertising spend of nearly $4.5 billion dollars across the region in 2012. This total is projected to almost double in the next four years.

Online advertising is currently approaching 15% of all marketing budgets in Latin America. Having made a steep climb from 10.4% just a few years ago, the proportion of spending for business to business is relatively high. Even when compared with this rapid expansion, B2B spending is leading the way in terms of influence – shaping the direction of investment in the region.

Social Media, Mobile Shifts

Social networks are helping lead the push, with 74% of internet users in Latin America regularly using social media sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn. LinkedIn itself has become a fertile area for corporate communications in the area and, though the platform lacks the functionality for trading directly, is a fountain of leads for those willing to put in the time commitment.  

The success of social media and other individual approaches is reassuring for investors but, for B2B to be considered a success from Chile to Paraguay, businesses need a single venue through which they can seamlessly communicate with multiple leads. Having the functionality to manage their clients and view products is a rare thing, even with the burgeoning success of free trade across the southern Americas.

With more business being done on the move, 390 million mobile phone users in Latin America, developed Latin American countries such as Argentina increasingly switching to mobile phone or tablet, and over 100 million smartphone users in South America, the stage is set for a switch to a single unifying platform for B2B development.

The first provider of high quality, well-researched B2B resources on a multi-functional, business-friendly platform is certain to become a key focal point for all future Latin trade. Whether a Chinese businessman investigating new opportunities or an American provider of foodstuffs, the rich variety of opportunities available in Latin America will soon be going mobile.

Regional Solutions

With this in mind, many companies are looking for a high volume of easily manageable suppliers and buyers in one place. Gathering products, businesses, and news about B2B dealings, a new wave of websites have sprung up to cater to this growing international demand.

One example is mercatrade.com, a B2B startup that is bringing together businesses from across the globe and focusing them on opportunities available in Latin America. This startup serves as a hub for businessmen to get straight to the heart of their investments, helping them make the deals they want without obstruction or needless delay. Complementing the individual and social models, platforms such as Mercatrade will continue to be one of the region’s most important trade resources.

What’s Ahead

B2B marketing may still be in its relative infancy in Latin America, but it is growing swiftly.

The growth of Latin America is tied into the powerful B2B solutions provided by the 21st century, meaning that interlinked sourcing solutions on powerful search platforms are the future for B2B marketing. Helping businesses identify needs, niches, and the products to place there is a tremendous asset to the region.

Whether based in Panama’s Zona Libre or Buenos Aires, huge changes will be coming to business marketing online in this part of the world.