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Antonio Lucio

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Title: Global CMO
Company: Visa Inc. Years in current job: 3
Quote: “As we move into 2011, we'll have a more systematic approach to the social media world, as opposed to a sporadic and initiativecentric approach.”

Visa Inc.'s “More People Go With Visa” global campaign got a heavy workout this year. Visa ran the ads in heavy rotation in connection with its sponsorship of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics in February, followed by its exclusive card sponsorship of the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament in June and July.

“2010 was an amazing year,” said Antonio Lucio, global CMO of Visa. During the World Cup alone, he said, Visa promotional activities went on in nearly 100 countries, involving 500 financial institutions and merchants. The campaign included TV, print, outdoor, usage promotions, digital and event marketing.

Social media was also strong, as Visa tapped Facebook to promote athletes during the Olympics and for World Cup promotions. Its World Cup “Go Fans YouTube Channel” invited fans to upload videos of goal calls for a chance to win a trip to Brazil for the next World Cup. in Brazil. It garnered 7.6 million views. Lucio said the various events helped Visa increase transaction volume, expand acceptance and boost preference for its products and services.

“Go With Visa” is meant to motivate consumers and businesses to migrate their cash and checks usage to Visa's electronic payment system. Lucio said to expect a deeper focus next year on leveraging Visa's product platforms, including mobile, debit and affluent credit cards, e-commerce and money transfer.

This year marked a fundamental shift at Visa, Lucio said, as the company adopted a media-first approach to advertising. “We have a standardized approach globally to measure the effectiveness of our marketing mix,” he said, noting that this analysis led it to shift more U.S. advertising to digital.

Lucio said Visa uses Accenture, Chicago, to assess regional media consumption. Its media agency, OMD Worldwide, New York, then sets the media plan, and TBWA Worldwide, Los Angeles, and digital shop AKQA, San Francisco, develop the creative plan.

The media-first approach has “been a major cultural shift” for Visa, Lucio said. With so many media platforms, “You have to do the heavy lifting first,” he said.

Visa reinforced its business outreach efforts in August when it updated its online Visa Business Network. New features include Business Goal Toolkits, a Small Business Mentor Program and content ranking. So far, it has 110,000 small-business owners registered, and since the relaunch has seen an increase in the number of unique visitors and repeat visitors, as well as time spent on the site.

The company also continues to eye overseas markets for growth. “We've shifted important dollars outside the U.S.,” Lucio said, noting that Visa has boosted its media spend in markets such as Asia, Brazil and Russia. “There's a very wide world out there that's growing very fast.”

—P.R.

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