DMA Announces Study at First Latin American Conference

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MIAMI -- The Direct Marketing Association, working with the Argentine and Brazilian associations, has sponsored a study by The WEFA Group of direct marketing in Latin America's two most advanced economies.

Speaking at the DMA's first Latin American conference here last week, CEO H. Robert Wientzen said he expects "the results of research measuring industry sales, jobs and advertising expenditures" very soon.

Picking those two markets to study first makes sense, said keynote speaker Peter Rosenwald, vice president of direct marketing at Abril, Brazil's largest publishing company, because both "are the largest and most dynamic markets" in the region.

As a "rough guesstimate," Rosenwald said, the two countries account for "more than 75 percent of the total direct marketing activity" in the region.

Latin American economies, Rosenwald noted, are in better shape than they were, though Argentina is only now beginning to pull out of recession.

The political situation has calmed, although "doing business in the region is still fraught with economic and political uncertainties," he said. "Things do not always happen as or when expected."

Still, inflation has been tamed from the 40 percent rate per month of only a few years ago. Direct marketing infrastructure varies throughout the region, and its sophistication ranges from growing in Brazil and Argentina to much less in other countries.

Lists are a problem except in Brazil, where Abril's Datalistas has 26 million names.

Some 20 speakers addressed the 200 delegates from 11 countries, including the United States, Canada and Spain. Mexico sent the largest group -- more than 40 delegates.

Speakers addressed a broad range of subjects, from how U.S. direct marketers can best enter Latin America, to case studies of doing business there, and from database marketing to call center development.

Speakers included Michael Saray of International Masters Publishing; Roberto Rodrigues, database vice president at Citibank Brazil; Gerardo Vaquez, vice president at Grey Direct Mexico; and Freddy Rosales, partner at di Paola y Asociados.

Rosales' shop also won two Amanta awards handed out here for the first time by Almadi, the newly formed association of Latin American DMAs. Other winners included Leo Burnett, Brazil; Power Marketing Venezuela, which won three awards; and the Clienting Group, which won for a UNICEF campaign.

Wientzen said a second Latin American DMA conference would be held next year. No venue has been selected.
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