Cast your mind back to the economic events of 2008, it seems like only yesterday. Lehman Brothers collapsed, AIG was rescued and Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch for pennies. Then, just a year later, things got worse. The real estate bubble exploded in the States. Trillions of dollars were injected to prop up a damaged financial system. We had entered an economic crisis only comparable with the early 1930s. But unlike in the 1930s, markets were integrated – a national problem was an international one. In 2010, a financially-crippled Greece forced the European Union leaders to sign an agreement to use funds from both Europe and the International Monetary Fund. At that time, the Greek national debt was bigger than its economy: 300 billion Euros.
Now, cast your mind further back – to 1994 and the ‘Tequila Effect’. The Mexican peso was devalued in the early days of the Presidency of Ernesto Zedillo. South American countries quickly suffered rapid currency depreciation too. The falling peso was propped up by a credit line of $50 billion dollars from then US President, Bill Clinton – a difficult debt to pay back.
With all this backdrop, it has been a real challenge to drive business in our domestic economies. In South America, 50% of startups fail in their first year, and this ratio grows to 80% in the first five years. We started our business in Argentina in 1996. we know the business landscape intimately, and viewed it as an interesting market to do excellent business. However, one must be ready to accept the instability of the political system and approach long-term investment. Utility companies are a good example of this strategy – we started the company in Buenos Aires in the early 1990s, and remained there, even through the worst crisis of 2001/2002. And, even now, transnational corporations also continue working and investing in Argentina, enduring the bad times and enjoying growth in the good times.
Let me share our strategy for success – approach LATAM as one “big country”. It is true that we started to operate in Buenos Aires, but we rapidly spread. We created a regional business model, not new for big companies, but rare for PR agencies. We created a service delivery model with key operations in different countries of LATAM.
The best example of how MARKETCROSS' business model is succesful, can be appreciated on the structure and needs our clients also have: today, we deliver PR for CANON in Colombia and Peru, for TERADATA in Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru, for F-SECURE in Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Argentina, for UNISYS in Argentina and Chile, for ATOS in Argentina and Chile, for WORLDLINE in Argentina and Chile, for TATA in Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Argentina, for GARTNER in Mexico, for MATCH in Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Argentina, and the list goes on... Having our own office in each country, with our own local employees, allow us to maintain quality and also to offer better prices.
For every business in every economy in the world, there is always a way forward. In our company’s lifetime there have been many crises. Now, international media are describing a new one in Argentina. But we can say, without doubt, that our 18 years of professional and financial strength will help us continue to succeed across Latin America. Our “big country”.