Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Diversity Is a Matter of Business Survival

If you've read any of my previous blogs, you know that I feel strongly, passionately about the financial benefits companies can have from cultural diversity. I also feel that for most U.S. companies doing business in Mexico, they simply do not understand how cultural diversity is hurting their sales and revenues in Mexico. And I'm not the only one telling this story.

Ruben Navarrette Jr., a Harvard graduate, is a syndicated columnist whose editorials can be found in the Sunday "opinion" section of the San Diego Union Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and other leading U.S. papers. An author, radio talk show host and guest on CNN and CNBC, Ruben was recently acknowledged by Hispanic Magazine for his accomplishments. I have to share his most recent article from August 19, 2007 entitled "
Embracing diversity will reap big rewards".

Ruben tells of how a few years ago when addressing a group of business managers he didn't launch into a talk about diversity. He felt that it was long past the time when diversity needs to be defended as being a vital part of a company's business strategy. He wrote, "We need to make the case that we shouldn't have to make the case - not in an era of globalization and expanding international markets."

I agree entirely with his comments that with the changing global markets, cultural diversity should not be an afterthought for businesses but rather part of their company strategy. Every company should have a diversity strategy just as they have one for marketing, advertising, sales, etc.

The idea of diversity shouldn’t be a stand alone item either. Diversity should be integrated into every area of a business especially for any firm doing international business. A company can have the best service or product, but that won’t matter if the receptionist is rude to a potential client just because they speak with an accent.

Unfortunately, many U.S. businesses still see diversity as something to look at only after every other area of business is working smoothly. This means never taking action toward diversity. My opinion is that diversity is still something that most U.S. businesses feel is only for the largest multi-national companies such as Microsoft and AT&T. And unlike Microsoft and AT&T, these businesses are not only getting their lunch eaten but sadly, they still don’t seem to notice or care.

The question I got from Ruben's article is “What’s taking so long?!” Many companies need a reality check into what’s happening with business both in and outside the U.S. I applaud my readers that either have established diversity as an important piece of their business strategy or that are working toward making it so.

To those companies whether in the U.S., China or elsewhere that still feel that diversity is optional, I can only say, "Hold on tight." It's going to get a lot hotter in the international kitchen, and many companies may find themselves getting burned.

Richard Villasana
The Mexico Guru

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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Addressing Multi-Cultural Training in CRM Magazine

I've been away from blogging for a few weeks while I have been writing articles for U.S. publications. The June issue of CRM Magazine (Customer Relationship Management) carries my latest article entitled "Lo Conseguimos".

Jessica Sebor, former Editorial Assistant, wrote the article "Hispanic Marketing Goes to Universidad" in the magazine's February issue. Hispanics in the U.S. are poised to cross the $1 trillion mark for consumer purchasing power. Jessica highlighted the limited educational resources available within the U.S. on marketing to these consumers.

"Marketing means understanding your customer. For multicultural marketers, this is often a difficult and complex learning process." Jessica wrote. Steven Kelly, codirector for Kellstadt Marketing Center at Dekalb, was quoted as saying, "Essentially, the main thing was business people saying, 'We can't get enough people who understand the Hispanic culture and know marketing.'"

I could not have agreed more with Jessica's article so I wrote a follow up piece. You can read my article here.

It doesn't matter whether a company is trying to market to
U.S. Hispanic consumers or consumers in Mexico, Europe or Asia. What does matter is that companies must invest in cultural training to compete and continue to succeed in business at home and abroad.

I wish you continued success.

Richard Villasana
The Mexico Guru

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Blogging - a marketing tool

I am always looking for ways to better communicate with my audience and hopefully have them communicate back. Blogging is one form of marketing that should not be overlooked. Jay Conrad Levinson of Guerrilla Marketing says there are over 100 ways to market but that most companies are using less than five methods. Some companies use only one or two methods to market their company and then wonder why their response rate is so low.

For those thinking to start their own blog, I would recommend the following site. is a blog that helps you start your own Internet home business. If you review his blog, he’ll link back to you and send you a ton of traffic. He is also a prolific writer so you will not be wanting for information.

A blog can be set up in minutes. However, to see results will take time and some dedication. It does allow for more informal communication and can be one of many ways to attract attention and interest in your company's products and services.

Whether you decide to blog or not, do review how many marketing methods you are using presently. Strive to implement at least one new method each month and watch your inquiries and sales grow.

Richard Villasana
The Mexico Guru

PS. I also invite you to leave your comments. If there is a topic you would like covered, please let me know.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

An experiment: Exchanging Technorati favorites

I'm trying something new so unless you are devoted to blogging, this particular blog will not help you increase your sales and profits in Mexico. Check back for future blogs.

In an effort to increase visibility of this blog, I am exchanging Technorati favorites. To do this, I am setting up an exchange with DoshDosh.

Those who visit this blog over the course of this exchange will have their blogs faved by me.

Thank you to all who are participating. Thank you to my readers. I will probably have future blogs delving more into this experiment and its outcome and how it may benefit your company.

Richard Villasana
The Mexico Guru

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Wrong Way to Use a Web Site

Companies need to review the reason they have a web site. Some companies use a web site to brand their product. Others use their site to act as an online brochure of services and benefits. What you do not want to do is simply have a web site with no purpose or one that is simply a one page flyer.

I was looking online for information on products from Dolly Madison. A friend in Mexico had asked about Zingers, a sugary sweet product that has no nutritional value whatsoever but tastes great. Dolly Madison has been around for decades so I would guess they have several products.

So what does Dolly Madison do with their site? Do they list their products with pictures? No. Is there any way for the customer to learn more about the products? No. Is there anything about the site that looks interesting? No.

For Dolly Madison products, it's just one page with shots of two products and a drop down box so you can check out the other affiliates companies. And a contact button. Nothing else. My friend from Mexico commented, "They don't care." That's not the sentiment companies want to foster with potential customers.

I'm certain those of you reading this have put much more energy and thought into your web site than Dolly Madison. If not, now is a good time to look at your site and see if it's being utilized to bring your company maximum benefits and help your business grow.

Richard Villasana
The Mexico Guru

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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Technorati - blogging profile

If you are blogging, you should look into registering your blog with Technorati. This is the leading advice from Robert Scoble, author of Naked Conversations: How Blogs Are Changing the Way Businesses Talk With Customers.

To your success.

Richard Villasana
The Mexico Guru

Add to Technorati Favorites

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Marketing - Get the Whole Story

I was reading an article by Dean Calbreath, U.S. to impose some tariffs on Chinese goods.1 The article mentioned figures provided by the local California office of the Department of Commerce (D.O.C.) saying exports from California to China had increased 14% to US$14.6 billion in the last year.

One paragraph really stood out for me where Dean mused over how much imports to California had increased. He commented that state-by-state figures were not included by the D.O.C.

His query touched on an important concern for international companies, the possible bias of the market information they receive. Businesses may rely heavily on government data to determine where to invest their marketing dollars, euro, pound or yen.

Dean's article gives a brief and interesting look at exporting abroad and the subsequent returning imports. I would recommend the article (except it's not online). But more importantly, I would recommend businesses question the market research they receive from their government.

Ask if there may be an agenda or bias to the information that may not serve your company's best interests. Look for contrasting information, and you will have a more complete picture of a country's market for your products and services. Then it won't matter if exports are increasing or decreasing because you'll be working from the powerful position of knowledge.

Richard Villasana
The Mexico Guru

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1. Dean Calbreath, U.S. to impose some tariffs on Chinese goods, San Diego Union Tribune, April 1, 2007.