Baja California – Update Fall 2009

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This has been a tough year economically for Mexico and nations around the world. However Mexico, with 50% of its population below the poverty line, is facing more dire consequences than its NAFTA neighbors. And, like governments everywhere, efforts to improve the economy have proven futile.

The three major sectors of the Mexican economy are: petroleum, tourism and Mexican nationals in other countries (especially the U.S.) sending money back to their families. Oil prices are down, the swine flue and drug wars have decimated tourism. And the decreased demand for labor in the U.S. spell triple trouble for Mexico’s economic recovery. Add to the “perfect economic storm”, the closing of foreign owned factories plus employment cuts and the crisis deepens.

As a foreign investment consultant, I depended solely on clients from other nations. My revenue from these investors dropped 80% in 2008. I could not sustain my family and meet debt obligations without liquidating asset. I decided in 08 that I needed another source of income. And the most obvious alternative was selling my services to my Mexican friends as a marketing consultant.

Fortunately, my friends in Baja California are mostly small businessmen or professionals who need my marketing skills. Marketing is still in its infancy in Mexico, especially internet marketing. The internet is used mostly by younger folks (high school and college) and is primarily a social networking tool not a marketing tool. This will change when these younger folks enter the workplace and apply their internet skills to trade.

My websites: www.mexicomatters.net and www.ensenadarealtos.com together appreciate 5000 visitors a week. Listing my clients as a provider of services (medical, dental, financial, legal, real estate and hosting of tourists) on my sites
directs prospects to my new Mexican clients. In addition we are building websites and “search engine optimizing” websites that already exist.

Because most professionals and merchants in Mexico do not understand how the internet works to sell products and services, the benefits of the internet go unrealized. The majority of Mexican businesses do not have websites and if they do, search engine optimization is not exploited.

Mexican universities are also lagging in providing students search engine optimization skills. Education, like the rest of the culture, does not fully understand or appreciate marketing as a science to the degree that we do as U.S. citizens. We are, without a doubt, the greatest sales people in the world. While Mexico, did not enter the free market until 1989.

Prior to 89, Mexico’s autocratic government owned all: banking, communication, transportation, natural resources, and major manufacturing. As a result, Mexico is still playing catch up as an entrepreneurial nation, including sales and marketing skills.

This is an .advantage to me as an internet service provider. I can guarantee placing my Mexican clients on the first pages of google, msn and yahoo search engines. The competitors to my clients have not become internet savvy, leaving a vacuum for us to fill. In the U.S., I could not accomplish the same for clients because internet competition like all media competition is brutal.

Like most businessmen in these times of crisis, I have had to rethink what I charge clients for services. We are a peso economy and pesos are what I must charge. Mexicans do not appreciate marketing and sales as we do. Therefore it has less perceived value. I am now charging about 30% of what I formerly billed to foreign clients. But, I am having more fun.

Building a successful website is primarily a writing process. If your text attracts the search engines you provide a successful result to clients. I love to write and I love sales. This “vato loco” (crazy street kid) from Oakland is one lucky homey to be in Ensenada Mexico in these difficult times.

I have made lifestyle cuts like most folks. But the future looks good. I have a beautiful and caring Mexican wife and my adopted 16 year old son is not jaded like most U.S. adolescents. He thinks I’m cool. He’s a musician and I have been able to nurture his love for Jazz with the extra time I have not attending as many foreign clients. I also have time to support my love for Jazz and Blues with my own radio program over XS 92.9 fm in Ensenada.

“Viva Mexico y especialmente Baja California”

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