Mariate Arnal

Digital Thought Leaders

MSN Mexico

September 2008

Mariate ArnalEight years ago Mariate left the world of management consultancy and joined the team of just over a dozen people at MSN in Mexico City. She has played an instrumental role in helping to expand the role of commercial media on the internet in Mexico, growing the scope of online marketing in the country and raising advertiser confidence. Today the team at MSN is over 50 people and the scope of the website is a hundred times greater than back in 2000. Along the way Mariate co-founded the industry trade association and has helped accelerate the migration of marketers’ focus to online. In this interview she talks about the role of reach in media planning, why high-end demographic audiences have switched to the web, and why many brand managers still don’t understand what online is about.

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Bringing MSN to Mexico

Eight years ago Mariate left the world of management consultancy and joined the team of just over a dozen people at MSN in Mexico City. She has played an instrumental role in helping to expand the role of commercial media on the internet in Mexico, growing the scope of online marketing in the country and raising advertiser confidence.

Today the team at MSN is over 50 people and the scope of the website is a hundred times greater than back in 2000. Along the way Mariate co-founded the industry trade association and has helped accelerate the migration of marketers’ focus to online. In this interview she talks about the role of reach in media planning, why high-end demographic audiences have switched to the web, and why many brand managers still don’t understand what online is about.

Audiences have migrated to the web


The internet audience has grown dramatically in Mexico within a short period. The time people spend online has leapt in the last couple of years and as the price of broadband continues to fall, more consumers have access at home which is creating a new dynamic. By 2008 there were more than 25m internet users, but with the demographics concentrated among the high end ‘AB+’ group, that represents the main concentration of disposable income.

Just as in North America, as consumers take greater control of their media consumption in classic channels, advertising effectiveness in television and print has fallen. This creates a massive opportunity for marketers who are ready to embrace the web properly.

MSN was one of the earliest players in the digital media market in Mexico so their team saw the ups and downs. "In the early days nobody ‘got it’", explains Mariate. "Advertisers, agencies and even many of the media owners didn’t have the tools and the people to really get web marketing right."

Today part of the challenge is still in the raw numbers. "If you look at the audience reach of the internet it doesn’t look that special, but when you look at the engagement, or the reach combined with other media - that’s where you start to understand the real story."

In a country where advertising is synonymous with television and TV enjoys a 95% reach, the ‘reach’ issue can be the biggest of barriers. One of the challenges that the internet has had in Central America until now has been that it does not touch the majority of consumers. With the lower demographics excluded, it’s clearly not the right media channel for every brand, but for the consumers that are here, the scope for engagement is far greater than in classic media.

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Digital Insight Report
Mariate Arnal, MSN Mexico

Mariate is the General Manager for Prodigymsn.com, the leading internet network in Mexico. She has been responsible for growing the MSN business in Mexico, with over 600% growth in revenues and with establishing ProdigyMSN as the leader across category in communication services and the portal business. She was President of IAB Mexico for its first two terms. As a recognised industry leader, Mariate has spoken at numerous conferences and was named "one of the 50 most powerful women in Mexico" in 2008 by Expansion magazine. She lives in Mexico City with her two children.

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Comments (1)

Strategist - Danny Meadows-Klue:

When we interviewed Mariate, what really stood out was the cultural challenges in persuading marketers that this is the media channel where their customers are. Even though the audience data for high value consumers speaks for itself, most firms remain nervous about trying something radically new.

So the challenge of helping brands navigate this landscape of change has become a personal goal for Mariate. As a result, what emerges is a two tier model with some brands moving fast, but others in the same sector making no progress. That means massive commercial advantages for the firms who get into digital channels with the right approach and model.

If you're interested in more examples, try the case studies library at www.DigitalTrainingAcademy.com

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