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Postcard from Barcelona

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Sunrise from the La Salle BES campus

I have spent the last week  in Barcelona teaching a course in interactive marketing, part of the executive training programme ran by La Salle Business & Engineering School. It was an interesting and hectic few days:

  • The Spanish media landscape is huge and complex with over 500 local radio stations throughout Spain
  • Twenty is the Spain’s answer to Facebook: it has three million subscribers and had a high degree of engagement
  • There is a great amount of interest in blogging and ghost-writing of posts is not unknown. Blog sponsorship was cited as a way of being involved in blogging without placing demands on an organisation’s internal resources
  • Being transparent was a huge area of discussion as marketers juggle with the demands often put on them
  • I got a general sense that Spanish marketers were more willing to embrace brand marketing than British marketers
  • There was a sense that Google was too powerful, one agency-side person admitted that they payed more attention to Google’s guidelines than their client’s requirements for a website
  • Like the UK, measurement is a challenge, what’s more many measurement and monitoring services like Radian6 don’t cater for the Spanish-speaking market yet
  • Social and digital media techniques were very much being driving by advertising and marketing agencies, PR agencies generally were seen to ‘not get it’ and were very tactical in their outlook
  • London was perceived as being a creative hotspot, working in London carried a lot of kudos
  • I got asked ‘how long did I think Spain was behind London?’ I don’t think its behind, its just different; it has adopted the web and interactive marketing techniques in a way that makes sense for itself. I look forward to going back in the future and seeing how things change

4 replies on “Postcard from Barcelona”

Thanks for the insights into the Spanish media landscape. Curious if you heard much about micro-blogging there (twitter, friendfeed, etc.).

Thanks for mentioning Radian6. We do actually support the Spanish language and geo-filtering for local content and support customers through some of our global agency partners but you are right, we don’t have any local/physical presence in Spain.

I appreciate these insights.

Sounds really interesting! One thing I noticed from the UGC world back when I was knee deep in the stuff, is that from an audience perspective, the Spanish consumer is actually “ahead” in terms of usage, penetration and user growth in the realm of Web 2.0 properties such as youtube, (at the time MSN Spaces, then MySpace), and even with Y! Answers where Spain (and SPanish language) was one of our fastest growing segments. So what you have is a super receptive home audience, who also happen to have high broadband penetration, so those two factors should be great instigators for the business side of things. And yes, Google has something between 95-98% market share in Search…and I am sure Google is being a typical monopolist and wringing as much out of businesses as they can (I have seen first hand that they very loosely follow the “Do no Evil” motto).

I agree with you with you Salim, there were some differences in approaches in terms of marketing using social media, but that was more about adaptation to local culture and customs rather than being more ‘advanced’.

There is also a factor that Spain is not a universally homogenous user group, user patterns change by urban environment and by the different cultures within provinces.

Marcel, many of the participants were using Twitter so there seemed to be a good understanding of it. This isn’t surprising given the Spanish consumer’s adoption of UGC services in general.

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