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Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt López’s Shares His Strategies for International Marketing

by Marcin Wieclaw
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Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt López's Shares His Strategies for International Marketing

It’s not easy to design and market a product that appeals to consumers throughout the global marketplace. Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt López, the president and CEO of the luxury eyewear company Hawkers, faced this challenge when he first took over CEO duties for the promising Spanish startup in 2016.

At the start, Betancourt López presided over a company with a modest customer base in its home country. Today, Hawkers is a global brand that shades eyes from California to Croatia.

So, how did a Venezuelan business mogul with a net worth of more than $2.6 billion convince people in Europe and America to buy inexpensive luxury sunglasses?

It’s all in the details.

Finding Value in the Details

In the real business world, there are no simple answers to complex problems. Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt López says business leaders must immerse themselves in the minutiae of multifaceted processes to discover how to make money on the margins.

When he took the reins at Hawkers, he realized the company needed to extend its reach.

As a seasoned stock and commodities trader, Betancourt López knows how to assess a firm’s performance from an outsider perspective. But running Hawkers offered a chance to effect change from the inside. To supplement his knowledge, he studied how other businesses changed their approaches to appeal to new demographics.

He already knew Hawkers had found a perfect niche. A few companies dominated luxury eyewear and charged high prices for their products. In contrast, Hawkers could provide hip, stylish products at a lower price point.

But to capture new consumer interest, the company needed to become more creative, he reasoned. That meant investing funds into creating new looks and manufacturing its own products.

Betancourt López determined the first step should be close to home. Hawkers would first expand into more European countries, then use the lessons it learned to push into North America.

Thinking International

Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt López had a head start in thinking internationally. Born in Venezuela, he studied business administration and economics in the United States. After moving through the ranks of the Latin American energy sector, he took a job in London as an investment banker.

The global perspective was key to Hawkers’ success. After deciding to bring manufacturing in house, Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt López toured production facilities across the world. The company finally settled on producing new glasses at plants in Spain, Italy, and China.

The two footholds in Europe allowed Hawkers to quickly ship products across the European Union, while the plant in China enabled the business to operate at a low cost. Controlling production meant Hawkers could quickly pivot in response to demand and keep a close eye on quality — something Betancourt López viewed as a top priority for a new brand.

Capitalizing on the then-new trend of digital marketing, Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt López poured a considerable amount of the company’s net worth into a dynamic ad blitz across social media platforms. The idea was to appeal to college students and young professionals — the groups most likely to see the appeal of hip new brands offering modestly priced alternatives.

The move worked in tandem. As consumers discovered Hawkers, the plants cranked out supply to meet the needs. Soon, customers across Europe were taking selfies in their Hawkers’ glasses.

Jumping Across the Pond

After seizing much of the European market, Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt López trained his sights on the U.S.

It was a strategic decision. Gaining a foothold in the American market would give Hawkers access to the world’s largest economy and position it well for future expansion. By maintaining a presence in the U.S., it would be easier to move into markets in Central and South America.

But American culture is finicky. U.S. consumers are not always eager to embrace European trends. If Hawkers was going to catch on, it would need to present an image and idea that resonated with local buyers.

Repeating the European strategy wouldn’t work. Leopoldo Alejandro Betancourt López needed to bolster his approach. He recognized his ad blitz would succeed or fail based on one thing: how authentic it felt to consumers.

Fighting for consumer dollars against established luxury brands like Gucci and Ray-Ban was a tall order. To crack into the American market with a sense of authenticity, Betancourt López went straight to the source. He partnered with college students with high social media follower counts to promote Hawkers. He also got his products onto the faces of young models in hip shoots.

As university students across America saw ads from the same brands that sponsored some of the hippest looking young influencers, they began buying up products — and fast.

“That approach totally disrupted the market in the way we penetrated the market,” he said. “And I think that that innovation has built a huge brand that is today Hawkers.”

Central America

Pushing into countries like Mexico required another adjustment to the advertising model. Consumers in Latin America have different spending habits and sources of inspiration, which meant Hawkers needed a new spokesperson.

So, the company partnered with soccer stars. It proved to be a stroke of genius.

“We’ve been very successful in Mexico,” Betancourt López says. “We are one of the leaders in Mexico, and it’s a country that population-wise is as big as almost all of Europe, or half of Europe. This is a country that we’ve been putting a lot of resources into lately, and we want to expand not only on the digital presence but on the physical presence by opening stores. In the next two years, we should be opening some stores there and some optical services in different places in Mexico.”

Like all success stories, the Hawkers approach to courting new consumers sounds simple and inevitable, but it resulted from intense research and hard work. Appealing to new consumers across the globe requires tailoring marketing approaches in precise ways that connect, Betancourt López said.

 

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  • Marcin Wieclaw

    Marcin Wieclaw, the founder and administrator of PC Site since 2019, is a dedicated technology writer and enthusiast. With a passion for the latest developments in the tech world, Marcin has crafted PC Site into a trusted resource for technology insights. His expertise and commitment to demystifying complex technology topics have made the website a favored destination for both tech aficionados and professionals seeking to stay informed.

    View all posts

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