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An Interview with Lucio Grimaldi

Vice President, Latin America & US Hispanic at Publicitas

Lucio Grimaldi leads the Latin American and US Hispanic operations, new business/digital development, and Latin American market expansion strategies for Publicitas. Based in Miami, he oversees all sales, marketing, agency relations and media strategies (digital, offline and integrated) for Brazil, Spanish-speaking Latin America and the US Hispanic markets.

Prior to Publicitas, Grimaldi was the senior director of international sales and marketing at Rodale International in New York, where he led global integrated advertising sales and brand marketing strategies for Men’s Health, Runner’s World, Women’s Health, Prevention and Bicycling magazines and their websites. While at Rodale, he created new revenue streams in more than 40 countries from 2006 to 2012.

Can you tell me about Publicitas and describe your role?

Lucio Grimaldi: Publicitas is a global media sales and marketing company with more than 20 offices around the world. We are a Swiss-based company, part of PubliGroupe, and work with clients—marketers and media owners—to provide solutions across the whole spectrum of media. We strategize, recommend and help provide access for marketers to all types of media. We also work very closely with the largest media companies in the world. To give you an example, our Publicitas Latin America office is the exclusive sales force for Editora Abril, which is one of the largest media owners and publishers in Brazil.

In media sales, you can’t stay quiet—you always have to be looking for new business. My role is to super-service our key clients, find new ways to help brands and marketers connect with consumers, and look for new partners to work with. To achieve this goal, we work closely with both media companies and marketers. In my role, I am also focused on expanding Publicitas’ operations and footprint in Latin America and US Hispanic markets, including the expansion and development of our programmatic buying platforms—our supply-side and demand-side platforms—regionally.

Who are some of your clients?

Grimaldi: We work with all the leading media agencies in Latin America and globally. Publicitas has an extensive global client list, including HBO, Procter & Gamble, Shell, International Watch Company (IWC), Panerai, Acer, Chopard, Lockheed Martin and several global airlines.

How have you used eMarketer to win new business?

Grimaldi: This year, we were invited by an agency in the Middle East to help it provide media strategies for a leading global airline that was launching a new route to São Paulo, Brazil. We relied a lot on eMarketer for the latest digital trends in Brazil and used this information and research to provide support for our digital strategies.

I also remember a fantastic report about Brazilian travel trends—“BRIC Travel Markets in Transition: Trends Influence Overall Ecommerce”—that talked about Brazil’s mobile and digital future. There was a section in it called “Brazil: A Tale of Two Markets,” which offered a clear summary on how digital and the travel market are evolving in Brazil. On the airline account, we knew what was going on in the market, but we don’t always have the latest facts and details. I used the eMarketer iPad app, which is amazing, in preparing for the last details of the presentation during the 16-hour flight to the Middle East. I would say eMarketer was critical to winning that account—it’s as simple as that.

Another very useful thing about eMarketer is that it gives you the digital perspective but also compares that with other media. It shows you the growth. It compares by segments. For me, that’s key, so when our team has to offer a digital recommendation to a client, we have the latest information on what’s going on in the market.

What have you learned from our content on Brazil?

Grimaldi: For the airline business, that travel report from eMarketer gave me a snapshot of a changing market like Brazil. It gives me the confidence to go into a meeting knowing that I have the latest research that can help us provide direction to a prospective client or agency. It was fantastic.

eMarketer’s “Brazil Mobile” report opened my eyes to understanding that Brazil is a growing mobile market, as well as how mobile marketing in Brazil is poised to evolve in the next two years with the preparation for the Olympics. It showed me how the different social segments use mobile devices and consume media through those devices. For us, it was extremely interesting and useful.

What are your three biggest business priorities?

Grimaldi: One is media integration and providing media integration solutions. Next is expansion. And another important one is automation—programmatic ad buying and everything having to do with digital media automation.

What is your vision for media integration?

Grimaldi: I am focused on “un-siloing” digital, print, outdoor, radio and all other media. We consume media and content through many screens and different formats every day. The big change we’re focusing on is bringing 360-degree solutions to clients based on their specific strategic needs.

If we have a client in the US Hispanic market looking at the travel sector, we would work more on a performance-based media strategy. The US Hispanic market is heavily focused on mobile. By the same token, if we’re looking to work with a luxury brand in a specific Latin American market, we would use print and digital but wouldn’t rely so much on a performance-based strategy. And for the digital piece of the campaign, we would do more of a traditional display buy. Overall, we don’t want to offer one-dimensional strategies, but comprehensive solutions that use all media including digital.

But it all depends on the client’s objectives, the market and the industry segment. For example, eMarketer helps guide our thinking about the travel and retail industries. In the luxury market, those industries behave differently in the US than in Latin America. The intelligence I’m getting from eMarketer is very helpful. We want to recommend the right mix of media across platforms and channels to our clients. We are a multiscreen world right now, so eMarketer helps us understand how that works as well.

Can you elaborate on Publicitas’ expansion and entering new markets?

Grimaldi: We’re beginning to focus more on business coming out of Latin America and into the region—either to other Latin American markets or globally. With economic growth in Brazil and Mexico, many multinational brands want to expand regionally in those countries.

We’re also focusing on big brands in Mexico, Brazil and other Latin American countries doing business outside their own markets.

What’s the greatest challenge facing your business?

Grimaldi: We’re in constant change—everything’s constantly evolving. It’s hard to stay relevant. I would say it’s a mandate to remain relevant, but how can media owners remain relevant with the abundance of information we have on the web? What is relevant? By the same token, consumers’ appetite for good content is bigger than ever. For our business, we have to find new ways for our clients to connect with consumers and help them navigate the opportunities and intricacies of Latin America.

Why is eMarketer so compelling for you and your team?

Grimaldi: If you’re not up-to-date with the digital information, you cannot make strategy recommendations or measure results. Quality research and information are essential. We use eMarketer for up-to-date intelligence on specific markets or regions so we can recommend the right digital and media strategies for our clients. Our team is also becoming more expert on specific markets thanks to the myriad information that eMarketer provides. We also use the “Global Media Intelligence” report all the time.

What do you like the best about eMarketer?

Grimaldi: For me, eMarketer represents up-to-date research and marketing intelligence. It stands for trust, reliability and ease of use, which is great. I think it’s fantastic. With the app, for example, I search by industry, and it gives me whatever I want. The information is already digested—it’s not information for information’s sake. It’s information that’s already been analyzed.

What keeps you up at night from a business standpoint?

Grimaldi: It’s the constant change in media. In the past two years, the media landscape has changed faster than in the previous 50 years. I always like to stay ahead of the game, and I’m always thinking about what’s next. I know today is not going to be like tomorrow. Every day is a new day, and the media lines are very blurred.

What keeps you excited about the business?

Grimaldi: What keeps me excited about the business is the ability to integrate different platforms and present integrated solutions to a client because of the convergence of media.

You can now target a reader or a consumer in any market by habits—data is a new currency. And digital plays a key role in that. You can easily target any consumer anywhere in the world. Technology enables us to reach consumers in ways that it was impossible to do a year or two ago. To me, this is extremely exciting because it opens up new ways of marketing and doing business. It’s a really exciting time, industry and region to be in.

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Lucio Grimaldi

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