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5 Surprising Marketing Lessons from My Simple Trip to Mexico

My wife and I went from never having visited Ciudad de Mexico to now being visitors that have spent a full month there. We turned my wife's month-long work assignment into a extended visit that enabled us to:

  • get to know the city,
  • meet the people and
  • see first hand what the city has to offer.

I’ll tell you upfront we had a great time and while there I made some unexpected discoveries.  And, of course, far be it from me to NOT write about them.  It’s what I do in my blog.  So here I'm sharing some surprising marketing discoveries I made during my time there.

Lesson #1 - A Great Product Poorly Promoted Doesn’t Get You Much

I’ve been to Cozumel twice.  They were stops on a cruise. I really didn’t care for it.  Cozumel is run down and the people aren’t very friendly. The second time I went, Cozumel was recovering from Hurricane Wilma. That made the visit even worse and it tainted my perception of Mexico.

When you talk about Mexico here in the States, the conversation usually centers are:

  • building a wall,
  • illegal immigration and
  • crime rates.

It gets negative really fast especially when compared to other destinations.

What we experienced in Ciudad de Mexico was the complete opposite. It's wonderful place.

Let's start with the food.  A big highlight for us was the great variety of eateries and the service. I didn’t have a bad meal while there.  Many were the top I've ever had.  They have great restaurants and did I already say they have great service?

The city’s architecture is unique. The European influence from Mexico’s Spanish roots mixed with the local indigenous people's history give the city it's own flavor. It’s a huge city with many different looks. Think of how different parts Los Angeles can be from each other. Well Ciudad de Mexico is more than twice as big as LA.  You are always seeing something new and different.

The Mexican people we met were friendly, festive, and hospitable. These people are bred to serve. From the Uber drivers (and that is the way you get around), to the hotel staff, restaurant workers, everyone we met was eager to please.  And my wife's co-workers and the friends she made were gems.

There is of course the haggling with vendors when visiting their markets. It seems like every thing is a negotiation where you’d better be looking out for what you want and what you want to spend. That adds to the flavor which is something I like.

Add on top of that the exchange rate with the US dollar and it makes for a very inexpensive visit.

My marketing lesson from this visit is very clear.  You may have a marvelous product or service.  It may be a huge benefit to your target audience. You may have raving fans that cannot get enough. Despite this, if you are like a Mexico City and you are the hemisphere’s best kept secret, you've got troubles.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into poor products with super marketing that thrive.  I've run into poor service providers that market themselves like pros.  The poor service will definitely slow them down, but with strong sales, everything else can be fixed.  At the same time, I don’t know many super products that are poorly marketing marketed and are doing all that well.

So as good as you are at doing what you do, spend the time and effort necessary to promote yourself.   That needs to be the priority.  Without good marketing giving you the sales you need, you’ll never get anywhere. It must be a top priority.

Click here for Part 2 of this article.