Over the last two years, I have spent a lot of time in the Baja region of Mexico. A quick hop and a skip from San Diego and you are at the busiest border crossing in the world. Cross over “la frontera” and you are in Tijuana. This border town is one of the fastest growing in Mexico and is reinventing itself after a prolonged period of violence triggered by rival cartels. What is emerging is an entrepreneurial culture that is just starting to boil. Micro breweries, concept restaurants, coworking and coliving spaces and a fine array of coffee shops are just a few examples.
Learning Spanish is definitely helping me in TJ and my network is now strong south of the border. After a couple of trips down to the wine region (Valle de Guadalupe), I noticed how the wineries (vinícolas) were struggling to market themselves in particular to the US market. The obvious desire to reach Americans is because of the exchange rate being about 20 pesos to $1, Americans will spend more down there than most Mexicans. But Valle is quickly becoming a hot place to launch a restaurant or winery so standing out is tough. The area is very spread out with few signposts telling you which wineries are where. I began to use my own Instagram channel as a way to talk about restaurants and wineries in Valle and help them gain exposure. I then started to work more closely with a few.
Back in the US, I saw how influencer marketing was really trending and saw how Instagram and IG Stories were the dominant channels that influencers were embracing. IGTV has only just kicked off but will be even hotter. So I started to research the influencer marketing networks.
First, I joined all the key influencer networks in the US as an influencer. I completed profiles, I learned about different campaigns that were on offer. I saw how frustrating the experience was. I also noticed that most campaigns were geared towards women so felt a little left out. My overall feeling with all of the networks was that I was just a number. The company bragged about how many influencers they had in their network (roughly translated: “We own them as digital marketing slaves”). No me gusta!
Secondly, I talked to a marketing company in my coworking space and suddenly realized that US brands faced the same challenge trying to reach the Mexican market across the border. There was the language barrier, cultural differences and no dominant influencer network in Mexico.
Thirdly, I learned how a lot of influencers buy followers. You can tell because they will have 1 million followers but very little engagement (few likes and comments). This taught me how to spot a good influencer.
Fronterizo was born to do the following:
1). Be the first cross border influencer network
There is no dominant influencer network in Mexico and this type of marketing is behind the US. Mexican and US brands do not know how to reach their respective cross border target markets. Advertising agencies are trying to being creative but they just don’t get influencers. Marketing companies are still pushing Twitter [CUE CRICKETS!). Fronterizo plans to do it the right way. Influencers are people not numbers.
2). Help influencers become entrepreneurs
Many influencers we have talked to do not know how to market themselves for campaigns. They might have a strong following but they don’t know what type of photos and videos resonate well with their followers. They do not know how to make money from their channel and content. We wanted to help them because there is nothing more liberating in the world than working for yourself and being on your own clock. We want to create master classes that help influencers own what they’ve created!
3). Improve Relations between the USA and Mexico
We want to build bridges not walls. The word fronterizo means “on the border” and can also be applied to the people who travel through the border frequently. Fronterizos live a rich, binational existence. Despite all the nonsense with the border wall and some horrendously bad moves by the US regarding immigration, we believe that the the two countries can improve by collaborating. It is less “dog eat dog” and more “a rising tide lifts all boats”.
4). Focus on one social media channel and nail it!
We don’t want to be average at everything. We want to totally dominate one channel so you know you are getting the best. We also know the facts: Twitter is dead. Your parents are on Facebook. YouTube has no community. Snapchat has no depth. Instagram is the only channel of relevance.
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