Branded content and native advertising are similar but they are not the same.




Director of Business Development

During this pandemic and with audiences at home, traditional advertising and BTL reduced their budgets and in the uncertain environment of the first and second quarters, many brands decided to redirect a significant portion of their budgets to online advertising. Without a doubt, branded content and native advertising have once again taken a leading role in the digital marketing mix of brands. However, the saturation of content in recent months has brought back to the discussion table for digital marketing departments, the discussion on how to continue communicating brand messages in a relevant, attractive, and non-intrusive way to increasingly demanding audiences. In the following lines, I will present two cases that caught my attention during 2020 in Latin America for their adaptation to the current situation and outstanding results.


Before getting into the subject matter, it is essential to note that although branded content and native advertising have some similarities, as both seek to offer relevant and interesting information to consumers; it should be noted that branded content is produced directly by brands, while native advertising leverages a medium or channel, integrating into its editorial tone. Ultimately, both trends tell entertaining stories that captivate the user’s attention but tacitly involve the brand. Let’s see this differentiation with two successful cases during the pandemic.


Branded Content


The agency Wink TTD was the winner of the 2020 BCMA (Branded Content Marketing Association) award for its campaign “You have to see it” for Vodafone. This campaign is based on two fundamental pillars. The first is an insight that gained more and more prominence during the quarantine, which was “What to watch?” taking into account the overabundance of movies and series offered by various streaming platforms. The second pillar was the need to differentiate itself from other streaming platforms. To achieve this, Vodafone and the agency created “You have to see it,” a multi-channel platform with its own website where testimonials and reviews from renowned Spanish actors and directors about the series and movies available on the Vodafone streaming platform are published. Additionally, Vodafone also created a variety of content formats in which they constantly make suggested series lists, trailer summaries, short interviews, and trivia about the series and movies, in order to continue transmitting relevant information.

This is a great example of branded content, as Vodafone through relatable and suggestive content, not only managed to leverage the issue of confinement with a powerful insight about streaming services, but also captured the attention of an audience saturated with an overabundance of services, by showing different perspectives on their series and movies through the opinions of experts.



Native Advertising


During the month of September in Colombia, the day of love and friendship is celebrated. For Mars and INCA (Group M), the challenge arose of reactivating the purchase of their chocolate portfolio through Rappi for this important season. The agency and brand relied on Sabores, a recipe channel on Facebook with over 2.5 million followers in Colombia, and created the “Pizzokie,” a recipe with the channel’s editorial tone, but incorporating several chocolates from the portfolio. They published this piece on both Sabores’ fan page and the brand’s page, with a purchase button in the post, so that with just a few clicks, the user could buy all the products for the recipe from Rappi.

This is another successful example of how entertaining and relatable content can impact segmented audiences during a specific period, facilitating not only the brand awareness of the portfolio but also the immediate purchase of the product through a home delivery platform.


There were several examples like this throughout the last year, and the bet is that in 2021, brands will try to be less invasive with audiences and instead seek to reach them with attractive and entertaining stories, as users are becoming increasingly saturated with information. It is already proven that both branded content and native advertising not only generate more visibility and engagement than traditional digital advertising, but also improve the ways in which the brand impacts the user, as it is advertising aimed at entertaining and educating the user, not just focused on directly selling to them.


Ultimately, it is up to marketing departments and creative and media agencies to evaluate how to improve this relationship with audiences in order to continue building the brand at each stage of the funnel.

E-Commerce: The New Name of the Game




CEO & Partner

In recent months, those who had their digital economies up and running were singing victory, announcing sales increases of 5 to 20 times more than expected, with significant growth in these channels. Meanwhile, those who believed that this was part of a distant future rushed to set up their online business, only to realize that, as with everything else, starting a new business requires planning, time, resources, and, especially, agility to make decisions.


Thus, marketing, innovation, and sales teams that had invested in this topic years ago were applauded and carried on the shoulders of managers and shareholders, while those who had not were looking for ways to do it quickly, faced with the accelerated change in consumer behavior and the increase in online sales.


Today, we want to challenge the e-commerce of the present and think that e-commerce, as we know it, belongs to the recent past. Let us understand that the consumption habits of millions of internet users and people’s behaviors have changed forever, bringing with them an accelerated adoption of technology, trust in virtual payment platforms, convenience of buying from home, logistical advances, and improvements in times and costs, incremental consumption of content on digital platforms, and what used to be normal—going out to dinner, shopping in supermarkets, going to the bank to pay the electricity bill—will no longer be so normal for many.


We must quickly prepare to have an omnichannel brand or business that can provide solutions and purchasing possibilities to consumers at all touchpoints, and stop asking ourselves whether we should have an e-commerce or not. The message to everyone is “you better have one” (whether you are a B2C, B2B, or B2B2C company). Beyond e-commerce and the omnichannel nature of the business, we invite you to think more about what we are going to create today in terms of how the consumer is going to buy tomorrow: buying always and from anywhere, at any time.


Let’s prepare for what many call total commerce or commerce everywhere. We leave you some recommendations to create your e-commerce of the future, your total commerce:

  • Define the business plan including value proposition, financial projections, and scalability.
  • Define product strategies, margins, and channels: e-commerce, social, marketplaces, stores…
  • Choose technology that meets the needs of the new and current business: e-commerce platform, payment systems, and internal and external integrations.
  • Structure operations for logistics management, inventory management, shipping, delivery experience, and return policy.
  • Marketing, content, communication, and customer service strategy.

Let's get ready for what many call total commerce or commerce everywhere.

IPP Sales Methodology





One of the things that I am most passionate about in the business world is the science of selling, as persuading another individual to make a decision that benefits both of us is the most tangible way to grow.


We are all born with the ability to sell; in fact, it is completely innate, it is a survival instinct that we develop from childhood. We sell to our parents to get permission, a concession or simply an ice cream. The problem is that we grow up and we pigeonhole ourselves into what we believe we are good at, or rather, what we are told we are good at. The good news is that whether you believe it or not and even if you think sales are not your thing, you are still selling. You sell to be admitted to a university, to get a job, to hire someone, to get partners, to get capital for a business; you sell for everything.


If you dedicate time to studying sales, understanding it, and practicing it, that would be the difference between being a seller or being a great seller, it would be the difference between selling to survive or selling to live. In addition, having the ability to master sales is like having superpowers: you will use them every day being more conscious and having the ability to get what you want, literally anything you want.


I always say that the vast majority of people love to sell, and you are probably thinking, “I don’t like to sell”… but ask yourself the following: don’t you like to achieve a transaction from which you will benefit? Don’t you like to have that feeling of achievement generated by a simple sale? Don’t you like to get that emotional asset and feel so secure and confident that you can get anything you set your mind to? Of course, you like sales! I have no doubt that you do, but what you probably DON’T like is the sales process. Sales are rough, uncomfortable, exhausting, difficult, but those are not the reasons why you probably don’t like the sales process; the real reason is very simple: because you don’t understand the sales process. And I go back to what was written above: sales is a science, and as such, it is not so easy to understand. Sales are technical and complex, it is theoretical and has many facets. Sales are one of the great challenges of humanity, it is the ability to survive or fulfill our dreams, it is the cause of any money we make in our careers… for me, sales are almost everything.


I have been in the sales industry for 17 years. Throughout my career, I have managed sales teams at Decorcerámica, sold my agency’s services at Asylum Marketing, and created multidisciplinary teams to sell these services to more companies. At smartBeemo, I am currently creating a sales team focused on both end consumers and businesses. I love the sales process so much that I sometimes spend long hours making sales calls just for the sake of practicing and enjoying it.


As someone who is passionate about sales, I continue to study and teach the subject. That’s why I decided to create my own methodology to explain, based on my experience, the anatomy of a perfect sale in a simple and clear way.


I present to you the IPP Sales Methodology, which is based on the premise that all sales are the same. Whether you’re selling a car, a pair of jeans, an education service, technology, or any other product or service, the sales process is the same.


While it’s true that the sales process is not as linear as depicted in this chart, every sale consists of three fundamental parts: 1. Gathering Intelligence, 2. Presentation, and 3. Persuasion. That’s why this methodology is called IPP.


I strongly believe that one of the main reasons sales are not closed is because this methodology is not followed in all three parts. In fact, in most cases, salespeople only manage the Presentation part incompletely. Let me give you an example: a potential client arrives, and the typical thing a salesperson does is talk about the product or service, quote a price, and when faced with the first objection, such as “What time do you close?” or “Send me the information by email,” they give up on the sales process. If they just continued to handle objections and push the client towards the close, they would be increasing their chances of winning the business.

Next, I will briefly explain the three steps of this methodology:




Collecting intelligence should be the first thing we do when we encounter a potential client, and there are three basic things we need to achieve: 1. Qualify the potential client, 2. Identify their pain points, and 3. Identify their aspirations. This intelligence-gathering process is not linear. I propose it as the first step because it is the first thing that should be done. However, this is a process that should always be active during the next two steps.




The presentation is divided into two parts: 1. Managing the communication of the solution to the pain point or aspiration that you identified during the intelligence-gathering phase, and 2. Communicating the proposal.


The presentation is also not linear. Depending on the business model, we can present the proposal before communicating the solutions or continue to communicate in the third stage. But the reality is that the presentation, in the perfect anatomy of a sale, should be part two.




Persuasion is where the vast majority of salespeople give up, as it is the most uncomfortable and rough part. Not taking no for an answer is uncomfortable because many confuse it with weakness. It is only normal to feel vulnerable to rejection, but the reality is that it is simply part of the game. In fact, it is the game. If we are not handling rejection as salespeople, we are not being salespeople.


Persuading is insisting, but insisting in the right way, and all a salesperson is doing when handling objections is increasing the possibility of closing. Not the opposite, as many think.


Collecting intelligence, presenting, and persuading all have their technique. It is so robust that if I were to write it all in this article, it would not be an article, it would be a book or a course, but I am sure that I have opened your mind and left you with enough tools to implement this process in your business’s sales management from now on.


And I hope this does not end here, that you become interested in understanding this science and practice it every day. Then you will see how you will begin to achieve everything you propose.


Share this with your team and do not forget to comment.

Practical guide to working from home





The world changed in 15 days and it is our duty, as 2020 professionals, to quickly adapt to these changes and make the best of this situation.


Today, the competitiveness of companies will not only be measured by the quality, price, and differentiation of their services, but also by their level of performance and productivity.


That is why we decided to create these good practices to help improve everyone’s productivity at home:


Set up your workspace:


Make sure to set up a place in your home that will become your work area. Do not work on your bed, couch, or floor. Create a space that makes you feel immersed in a culture of work and productivity. The following are our recommendations for doing it in the best way:

  • This site should preferably be isolated from noise and distractions.
  • If you don’t have an isolated place, create isolation. You can separate your space using plants. This way, you will feel that this is your assigned workspace.
  • Make sure the space is comfortable and pleasant. Use a comfortable chair, and if you don’t have one, you can use cushions to condition it. Also, recreate your desk and turn it into a pleasant space. Decorate it, be creative.
  • Make sure you have easy access to an electrical connection. Having the possibility to charge your phone and computer is essential in a workspace.
  • Make sure to set up in a location close to the internet router. Good internet stability is key. Often, the poor connectivity of a computer is not due to an internet service provider issue, but to the location or quality of the router. (Keep this in mind).
  • Make sure to manage the ambient temperature to your liking. Working in heat can sometimes be quite uncomfortable and lower productivity levels.


Design your daily routine:


Having a routine and following it with discipline is key to being productive while working from home. Here are some recommendations:

  • Wake up at the same time you used to wake up to go to the office and follow the same routine. Shower, shave (for men), dress in comfortable work clothes, have breakfast and enter your workspace as if you were entering your office. I recommend you to be organized with this routine and feel like you are entering to work.
  • Respect your lunchtime and don’t eat at your work desk. Define a space for this and respect the time.
  • Respect your finishing time. Don’t turn your home into your workplace. Your home is your home, and it’s up to you to know how to differentiate the spaces and the hours. This is the only way to ensure your productivity in the medium and long term. Remember, you have to be well for your work to be well.
  • Exercise. Define an exercise schedule and follow it, whether in the morning, at noon or in the evening. It’s essential to keep your circulation and physical condition in shape.


Design a work plan:


One of the great challenges of working from home is managing distractions and prioritizing tasks. That’s why we advise you to let your calendar do the heavy lifting. Follow an organized work plan and optimize it along the way. Here are some recommendations:

  • Define when your operating time and creative time are. Many people are more creative in the morning, while others are in the afternoon or at night. This will help you define meetings, creative moments, and operational tasks.
  • Schedule appointments in your calendar with all your sporadic and recurring tasks and meetings with different members of your team. (For this, take into account the aforementioned point).
  • Every morning, before starting your workday, review the previous day’s calendar and also review the calendar for the upcoming day.



Open organized WhatsApp or Slack groups:


Office watercooler conversations are important, and technology allows us to maintain them remotely. Here are some recommendations to make the most of these tools:

  • Open an Excel sheet to plan the WhatsApp (or Slack) groups before opening them. In this Excel sheet, create a table with the following columns: Group Name, Members, and Objective.
  • When you open the groups, make sure to organize them with a profile picture that helps you better visualize the context of the group. You can use group photos, conceptual photos, or simply your company’s logo.
  • Share clear usage rules. For example, avoid sending memes or photos that are out of context, distract, and divert from the group’s main objective.
  • Always encourage a greeting at the start of the day and a goodbye at the end of the day. This will keep the group active and simulate the start and end of a workday.


Use a good teleconferencing tool:


The teleconferencing tool is the main means by which we will communicate and keep teamwork always active. Here are some recommendations:

  • Choose a single teleconferencing tool, and if you have to pay a membership fee, do it. This will be one of your main means of work.
  • When choosing the tool, make sure it is easy and especially agile to operate. The agility to open a meeting and invite a colleague is key.
  • Train your entire team in the use of the tool. Dedicate at least one hour as a group to teach all the features and put what has been learned into practice.
  • Encourage the use of the camera in all meeting participants, always. This will ensure that good practices and discipline are maintained when meeting.
  • Encourage the use of the mute button so that everyone uses it when they are not speaking. This way, the ambient sounds of the participants will not interrupt conversations and/or presentations. The best way to describe this is to use it like a walkie-talkie.
  • Make sure to have short meetings and respect the arrival and departure times for virtual meetings.
  • Some of the recommended tools are: Zoom, Google Hangouts, Google Meet, Skype, Blue Jeans, GotoMeeting.


Use a good headset with microphone:


A good headset will become one of your main work tools. And if you choose the right one, it will ensure that you can make calls in a noisy environment. Here are some recommendations:

  • Make sure the headset has a directional microphone with external noise cancellation. These headsets are very useful for environments with some external noise and will ensure an excellent experience for the receiver.
  • Make sure the headset is comfortable. You will use it for a large part of the day.
  • Make sure it has a connection to both your phone and computer, or you can also use a soft phone to make calls outside of the video conferencing tool, from your computer.
  • If you have the economic possibility of acquiring a headset that also has noise cancellation in the audio, we recommend it. In occasions where you have a lot of ambient noise, you can activate that option and see how it helps you.
  • We use and recommend Jabra brand headsets.


Good organization and planning on your workdays at home can not only help you maintain productivity, but can also create an even more productive culture than you had when you were 100% of your work time in an office environment. Every crisis brings opportunities, so learning from these teleworking techniques and getting the most out of them is one of the main opportunities that arise in these times of change. Always make the most of every situation and grow every day. Share!


In these times of uncertainty and working from home, are you prepared to face an economic crisis?


We are accustomed to creating A, B, and C scenarios, but normally we do not think about events that are beyond our control, such as a possible economic crisis. Considering that the main reason why a company goes bankrupt is due to lack of cash flow to pay employees, suppliers, and creditors, in the face of economic events that are beyond our control, clearly, the most affected companies are the small and medium-sized ones, since not many have adequate financial planning and/or a financial cushion available to support months of low income.

The importance of knowing what we are talking about: ROAS vs ROI




CEO & Partner

Every day we hear more about Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) and Return on Investment (ROI). These terms have become focal points for our brand managers, marketing managers, managers, and even business owners. Conversations such as… “I need to understand my ROI to decide how much to invest in advertising” or “As an agency, what ROAS do you guarantee me?” even “If you are such experts, charge me only if the campaigns you execute generate sales and return on investment.”


All valid comments, and open to answering those questions, as long as we know what we are talking about, and with understanding that successful businesses are more than their marketing and communication strategies. That’s why today I want to talk about the big difference between ROI and ROAS: They are definitely NOT THE SAME, and they are NOT USED FOR THE SAME PURPOSES.


ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) means Return on Investment in Advertising. ROAS formula = Sales Revenue / Advertising Investment. It is used as a key metric for E-Commerce management and to be able to give direct attribution of sales to advertising investments.


The way to measure it is by dividing the generated sale by the media investment. For example, if I achieve a sale of $10,000 with an investment of $2,800, it represents a ROAS of 3.57x.

Yes, ROAS is measured in times (“x”) or as a multiple of our investment. The question everyone asks is, what is a good ROAS? It all depends on your industry, the maturity and recognition of your brand, repeat purchases, and the lifetime value of your customer. We have seen ROAS ranging from 1.8x to 100x. Having a very high ROAS seems optimal, but if your ROI is negative, you’re in trouble. Similarly, if you have a lean cost structure and efficient logistics, you could generate very good ROI with low ROAS.


Now let’s understand ROI (Return on Investment): it means net return on investment and seeks to measure the net profitability, or the percentage of net return on an investment made. Formula ROI = (Revenue – Costs) / (Costs) x 100. Here we not only include the investment in advertising, but we also take into account the cost of the product or service, logistics costs, agency costs, and other costs or expenses related to the operation.


For example, if you achieve a sale of $10,000 which has a gross profit of 60% or $6,000, and you invest in advertising $2,800, shipping costs $100, customer service personnel $400, agency $500, and fixed costs $700. Your final profitability (net profit) was actually $1,500, which translates to an ROI of 17.6%. Yes, this is measured in percentage.


Thus, the ideal would be to obtain high ROAS and positive ROI attributed to each action or investment we make in advertising, taking advantage of the direct attribution that digital offers us. However, the reality is that some actions are difficult to measure, so we must strive for a good balance between ROAS, ROI, and other metrics that will help us build long-term brands that have brand recognition, recommendation, interaction, purchase intent, and conversation. This is something I have learned over the years in the advertising world and it has been challenging for me to understand as a financial professional at heart and in reason.