How Mexico’s Merca2.0 experiments into the future

The market

As the the second-largest in entertainment and media market in Latin America, “with spending of US$24.1bn in 2013,” according to PwC’s Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2014-2018, Mexico’s media market is a dynamic and robust market. 

Media ranges from streaming companies like Blim, a streaming service owned by Mexican media giant Televisa, to books, newspapers, magazines, events, websites and other digital platforms. 

Alvaro is optimistic that there is more to come. “It’s because we’re drawn to innovation. It’s common for people to refer to Mexico as a very creative market, but I think we’re maturing from ‘creativity’ to ‘innovation’, where we’re trying to transform and measure that creativity in actual business success.”

About Merca 2.0

Merca 2.0 is a flagship brand of Grupo de Comunicación Katedra. In total, Grupo de Comunicación Katedra has 98 product lines, Alvaro tells us. “We have two flagship printed magazines, we have around 18 buyers guides, and we have four or five main websites, Merca2.0 being the largest one.”

Alvaro Rattinger ()

Merca2.0 also has a monthly print publication that focuses on marketing, advertising and media. According to Alvaro it is the largest Spanish marketing magazine worldwide. “We are the most read, and we’re proud to be Mexican.”

Innovation-friendly culture

“We try to keep an asymmetrical mindset, which means we are constantly creating these experiments, where we launch brands and see how they do,” he said. “And, if they’re well-received in the market, we iterate on them.”

Their innovation-friendly organisational corporate culture encourages constant experimenting, from VR and 360º video to experiential marketing and events. “We try to keep experimenting along all of these different avenues, and if they work, we iterate and repeat,” he explained.

The company sees itself not just as a publisher, but also as a marketing services company, with an in-house digital brand studio, an in-house content strategy agency and an in-house experiential marketing agency. “We try to solve the issues of our clients. From simple requests like advertising to what we call complex problems where they want to communicate a message and we would create all of the communication strategy around that.”

Internally at Grupo de Comunicación Katedra, “we do not have a success-at-all-costs culture. We strive to accept that failure is more common than success and that people fail often. We make a safe place of it, evaluate quickly and stop doing what does not work. 

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“When we succeed, we succeed gradually and it is very interesting. If we don’t succeed we don’t sweat it, we try to keep working at it and eventually hit a product that works and builds upon itself.”

Alvaro says the strategy does not mean they are not ambitious in terms of the bottom line. In fact, they strive for double-digit growth year upon year. “We’ve had three years where we’re hitting between 20 and 34 per cent growth per year,” he said. “We’re happy, we’re very read in Latin America and Spain. It works well for us.”

Into the future

Merca2.0 and Grupo de Comunicación Katedra will continue iterating and innovating into the future. “Our main challenge is how do we continue to have this asymmetrical mindset, where we look for managed risk with exponential returns if we’re successful, but without betting the farm,” he explains. “We try to do very small experiments, and if they work, great, if they don’t, it’s not going to break the company.”

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