Feb. 29, 2012
After a successful six month beta during which thousands of Hispanic consumers registered to participate in online surveys, discussion forums and sampling campaigns, Tu Cuentas is opening its platform to new clients and seeking aggressive membership growth.
Tu Cuentas, which translates as "you count" and "you tell," was founded by Larissa Acosta and Olga Bueno, two Latina entrepreneurs with deep roots in Hispanic marketing. After many years working at leading Hispanic advertising agencies, they saw an opportunity to launch a Latino targeted community that integrates Latinos' adoption of social media with the value they place in word of mouth recommendations when making purchase decisions.
According to a 2010 comScore study, 33% of Hispanics are influenced by reviews and ratings compared to 25% of the general population. Moreover, a study published by Pew Internet & American Life reported that two-thirds of online Hispanic adults in the U.S. both English and Spanish-speaking, used a social network in May 2011. Forrester's 2010 report Social Media is Mainstream for Online Hispanics, further states that 47% of Latinos online are "Creators" (persons who make the social content consumed by others) vs. 18% of non-Latinos.
Tu Cuentas takes advantage of these trends by combining user generated product reviews, moderated discussion forums and community polls of registered members. Participation in these activities earns members not only points redeemable for cash, but also additional opportunities to participate in high engagement sampling campaigns through which they receive free products to try and share with their online and offline networks.
"As marketing shifts from push to engagement principles, marketers are making consumers active participants in their promotional conversations," said Ms. Acosta. "Finding and engaging influencers who can advocate and recommend brands to others has become the new holy grail of marketing. Now that Hispanics have bridged the digital gap, brands have new opportunities to use social media in such a way that they and consumers both win. Tu Cuentas was created to capitalize on these opportunities."
"Brands seek fresh consumer insights in a fast and cost effective manner," said Ms. Bueno. "Our platform enables them to listen in on conversations and participate in a way that is more organic than traditional research methodologies. We manage our community in a way that rewards members for posts that provide the deepest understanding of their consumer behavior. In addition, we have established CRM benchmarks that allow us to assure clients that their questions can be answered in as short a time frame as 48 hours, in the case of a discussion forum, or 5 days or less, using an online survey."
Tu Cuentas offers different types of business applications:
Consumer and Shopper Insights: using polls, discussion forums, online surveys and webcam interviews to ask target consumers questions about shopping behavior, brand preference, advertising likeability and product attributes
Product Trial and Store Traffic: via high-impact sampling campaigns and house parties with early adopters
Peer to Peer Advocacy: utilizing product reviews, member recommendations and embedded social tools to export content directly from the site
Ms. Acosta and Ms. Bueno also innovated in their approach to pricing Tu Cuentas's services. To drive ease of use and measurability, the site's revenue structure is modeled on the principles of pay per click online ads. Clients decide the type of action they want the community to engage in and pay only for the number of users they want to engage. The founders believe that this approach minimizes risk and guarantees results and accountability.