For this edition of App Marketers in Quarantine Answering Questions, Facundo Mugica from Jampp’s Business Operations team interviewed Despegar’s Alejandro Falco.
Q&A with Alejandro Falco
Despegar is a leading travel company in Latin America, and one of the region’s unicorns. With over two decades of business experience and operating in 20 countries in the region, Despegar accompanies Latin American travelers along the entire trip planning to ensure they have memorable trips. Thanks to the strong commitment to technological development and customer service, Despegar offers a customized experience to over 18 million customers.
Alejandro is an expert in digital marketing, user acquisition strategies, segmentation, and scaling revenue for e-commerce companies. He’s been working at Despegar for 6 years, racking up vast experience in performance marketing to generate sales and prospecting strategies to drive traffic and user acquisition across different channels such as PPC, Paid Social, and Programmatic Video and Display Advertising.
Given his passion for marketing technology and constantly improving campaign execution and measurement, we were excited to chat with Alejandro.
Facundo: How did you get started in mobile marketing?
Alejandro: We have been working with mobile advertising since the beginning of mobile advertising, first with Google Search Ads to get app installs and later with Acquisition using Facebook Ads. Despegar’s app has been live since the year 2012, but my own first steps into mobile marketing were in 2015, with Facebook Mobile Ads. The objective was to drive more sales on mobile by testing different journeys to the website, app or store. We run different experiments to understand which combination of variables performed better for our KPIs (basically a lot of A/B testing). Since then, we have been testing and learning constantly in order to get the right attribution for mobile, and we are still doing it today.
Facundo: You’ve been in the mobile space for several years now, what’s one piece of advice about app marketing that you can share?
Alejandro: To invest time and resources on developing cross-device strategies, because this is key to get the right attribution and it’s also very important to create user-based communication through paid media, like programmatic or Facebook ads, and non-paid media like push notifications or emails.
Facundo: Despegar has developed a lot of in-house technology for attribution, can you tell us a bit more about that? What encouraged you to do so?
Alejandro: Years ago Despegar adopted a growth strategy based on paid-traffic acquisition. We understood early on that attribution was essential in order to be successful and gain a competitive advantage in the travel industry. Now, to maintain our position over more and more sophisticated competitors, Despegar needs to keep on moving and learning about attribution. We will keep our forward-thinking culture alive: investing in technology for data tracking, the best people to process this data, and simplicity for testing really fast to build efficiency.
Facundo: What data do you consider when planning strategies?
Alejandro: As I said before, cross-device and user-centricity are the keys to everything related to our marketing efforts. For this, we need to work towards a better understanding of user behavior, which for cross-device businesses like us, ultimately means developing better attribution models.
Facundo: How are you adapting to WFH? What cadence or advice would you have for staying connected to your team?
I think that for tech companies WFH is totally possible. In terms of advice, I would say: always use your camera, get a routine, and look for ways to stay connected with people to make up for the lack of interactions that come from sharing the same physical space.
Facundo: Other industries that have had to put their businesses on hold expect that post quarantine there will be a market reset, in the sense that brands will be competing on a more leveled field in terms of market share, do you foresee the same occurring for travel?
Alejandro: There will definitely be a new way of travel consumption. In terms of market share, it’s hard to tell right now. At Despegar we are working for our customers in order to give them the best response related to their previously scheduled trips and making sure we are ready to quickly activate having the best product and service, and an efficient communication strategy.
Facundo: What do you like to do in your free time? Have you picked up any new hobbies? Do you have any podcasts/ series/ books to recommend?
I read a lot about marketing, attribution, technology, news… mostly from the internet (Medium, industry blogs, newspapers). I’m cooking way more often than before and regarding TV recommendations... I'm a big basketball fan, so every night I like to see previous games.
Facundo: Thank you for finding the time to talk to us and share your insights!
The pandemic and subsequent quarantine measures have impacted different verticals and markets in diverse ways. In our latest Q&A series, we talk with experienced marketers like Alejandro to hear their take on the current challenges, how they think their markets will develop, as well as, lessons learned. Do you have any tips, recommendations or insights to share? Let us know!