The Digital “El Niño”

The digital world has changed rapidly over these few years, though the facts remain the same: Through all of the digital innovations and start-up development in the United States, Latin America continues to grow, offering amazing potential as a resource for businesses.

Eight years ago, I wrote a piece for Adweek discussing the rise of Latin America as a potential market for companies looking to expand or outsource their digital production. We have had seven years to turn our theory into practice. The Zemoga model of working with Latin American countries has proven itself again and again to be a wise decision. In fact, the more we work with Latin American vendors, employees, and contractors, the more we find additional value in our partnerships. Here are just a few reasons why Latin America should be on the top of your list of countries to work with — and why you can’t afford to ignore this region if you hope to grow your business

Latin American Time Zones Match the US.

One of the biggest challenges facing employers who start outsourcing is the time difference. European countries are minimum six hours ahead of states in the Eastern Time Zone, while Asian countries are at least 12 hours ahead. This means that a 2 p.m. conference call on a Thursday is an 8 p.m. call for Poland and a 3 a.m. call Friday for Seoul. The IAOP states that this alone is the number one challenge for successful outsourcing delivery.

However, Latin American time zones line up almost exactly with the United States. Your contractors are only an hour or two different from your current time zone, so if you can handle a call from Chicago or Seattle from your New York office, you can handle the time zone difference of Costa Rica or Ecuador.

North and South American Cultures Are Similar

Along with time zone differences, cultural challenges tend to frustrate companies that work with contractors in Eastern Europe or Asia. While it doesn’t hurt to have the cultural acumen to feel comfortable working with people around the world, it’s often easier to work with residents of Latin American countries. Many people have this belief that Central and South Americans have different ways of working when they’re actually closer to our communication and reporting style than workers across the ocean.

Latin American Workers Offer Loyalty and Dedication

Some North American companies might be surprised by the dedication of their Latin American counterparts. In our experience, talent is loyal with low turnover rates compared to India and other locations. At Zemoga, our tenure is just north of 6 (six) years per employee. That translates to team cohesiveness and stability. These are almost impossible stats to achieve in labor markets where employees will abandon projects and leave for a .50¢ raise.

In Universum’s Annual Happiness Index, which surveys more than 200,000 workers in 57 markets, several Latin American companies top the list. Costa Rica, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Panama, and Chile all rank highly for professional satisfaction. This makes Latin American workers eager to work and loyal to their employers.

South and Central American Countries Are Investing in Tech

When Americans think about their counterparts in Latin America, they tend to think about coffee instead of Java. For the most part, Latin America still has a reputation for being full of underdeveloped or agricultural-dependent countries. However, this is simply not true.

Buenos Aires, Argentina, has made waves over the past few years for its booming tech sector, while Santiago, Chile, has become the go-to city for Latin American startups. Medellin, Colombia, was even named the Innovative City Of The Year by Citibank. Ignoring Latin America’s tech bubble could mean ignoring the next great company, inventor, or product.

In fact, it’s astounding how much North American residents get wrong about Latin America. Zemoga even created the social campaign “It’s Colombia, not Columbia,” to prove how much people get wrong when discussing Latin culture. Even news publications spell the country Columbia when discussing the World Cup instead of its proper Colombia. It would be unacceptable to add the letter U to Japan, so why do Americans not care so much bout getting it right for their friends south of the equator?

Agencies and brands that want to remain competitive would be wise to look not just at Asia or Europe, but to our Latin American neighbors, as well. A digital El Nino is rising up in Latin America and will continue to sweep across the United States as it has for the past eight years. Your company will either be ready for it or will feel overwhelmed by its force. At Zemoga, we’ve embraced this tidal wave of tech and will continue to support Latin American innovators the same way they have supported us. Contact our team today to talk about how your digital initiative can ride this digital El Nino.

About the author

DJ is CEO & Founder of Zemoga. He has worked in the digital design and production space for over 30 years specializing in developing customer engagement strategies & building teams and technologies that provide groundbreaking solutions for F500 Co's.