Some time has passed since about 40 Marketing, Advertising and Communication (MAC) Service Providers, representing 20 companies in Curacao got together for a happy hour. It was our first time and how fun it was.
Since I was the one to send the invitations, many people have asked what my expectations were and are. Really, I wanted to meet and chat informally with colleagues I already knew and meet those I did not know. My ultimate goal, however, is to find optimal ways to cooperate so we can offer our services internationally. It is more efficient and effective for us to do so together than alone, as I have been doing in the past 12 years.
I happen to believe that international service is cut out for us. We speak (or at the very least understand) all the languages of the Caribbean region (and the hemisphere): English, Spanish, Dutch, French, Papiamentu (and even Portuguese). Many of us can easily trace our ancestry (and customs) to one ore more of the 40-plus countries our parents or grandparents came and keep coming from. Most of us have studied abroad and adopted parts of the cultures of our host country. So, we also understand the "blends" that the world is increasingly made up off "naturally". Unfortunately, when something is so "natural" to you, you don't realize its value and you don't sell it.
Cooperation also enables us to provide a better product to the client, because every one can then market their true specialty and still get or keep the client (or at least a commission). The perils of selling something one cannot deliver are well-known: you risk losing all of it.
I believe in the efficiency of free markets (so I don't believe in setting prices), and in a Code of Ethics, similar general conditions and business improvement workshops for the sector. These strengthen our businesses and prepare us to meet greater challenges. A bit of publicity is not bad either. That's our business.
In addition, if we do all of the above, chances are local clients will realize our true potential and feel (even) more comfortable recommending us to their principals or brand owners for assignments that encompass the region. Because there is nothing better than word-of-mouth. So, since most readers of this blog are local clients, I may ask: "Will you be some one's parachute into another market?"