Marketer Interview: Ramson, SABMiller “Digital Marketing is Key, but with Precise Strategies”

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Today in our Marketer Interview feature, Portada talks with Randy Ranson (photo), SVP for Latin America of SABMiller. Ranson explains SABMiller?s plans in the region and what their challenges and expectations are.

Portada: In which Latin American countries do you have a presence?

Randy Ransom: “SABmiller has presence in 25 countries of the region. We own seven brewing companies in Peru, Ecuador, Panama, San Salvador, Honduras and Argentina; and in 18 countries SABmiller brands are operated by licensed distributors. Also, the company bottles soft drinks for The Coca-Cola Company in El Salvador and Honduras, and for Pepsico International in Panama.”

Portada: How do you structure your marketing unit over the region?

Randy Ransom: “We keep all marketing at a local level. Each country has a marketing director and each office works with an ad agency. We do not cross markets between them. Actually, our beers are globally 97% local brands.”

Portada: What is the share of Latin American revenues?

Randy Ransom: “Latin America brings 22% of the total revenues. It is the same share for South Africa, while Europe and North America bring 19 and 18% respectively.”

Portada: What are your expectations for the following years?

Randy Ransom: “For the last 2, 3 years the region has been growing above the average, I see the same growth rate for the next 3 years. The beer industry is a very hands-on business where growth takes time and effort, so while growth will continue. It will take smart and calculated planning and execution”.

Portada: Do you plan to expand your operations to other markets?

Randy Ransom: “We want to buy distributors in Mexico and Brazil, but only at the right price. We bought a small brewery Issenbeck in Argentina at a low of only 3% of market share and we will try to rebuild it to the 10% that it used to be”

Portada: Which is the importance of the digital marketing?

Randy Ramson: “I think digital marketing is key, but moving with very precise strategies. We work with Facebook on a brand level. Ideas matter and executing that idea is essential”.

Portada: What are your challenges for next year?

Randy Ransom: “The challenge is the market evolution. As the middle class grows household income, it tends to move to acquire other higher cost social drinks.”