It's not surprising that Mr. Taggart was able to round up speakers to lecture on Latin American marketing. He spends much of his time traveling the globe, first pitching the merits of doing business in Latin America, then touting his business publication. At AmericaÁ Economia's 10th anniversary dinner in November in London, advertisers like Philips and Volvo rubbed elbows with the Mexican ambassador to Great Britain and the British undersecretary of trade for Latin America, all there for essentially the same reason as Mr. Taggart: to develop business.
His dual role comes with publishing a title in an emerging region often overlooked by the rest of the business world. At Dow Jones & Co., 50% owner of the publication, magazine group VP Bob Paradise calls Mr. Taggart an executive "coach" for the region-a man who knows the business and is eager to share his knowledge.
"As really the first business regional magazine in Latin America, that kind of feel for what we were trying to do was very important," said Mr. Paradise, who has worked with Mr. Taggart since the latter was hired in 1988 as AmericaEconomia's director of advertising, based in Santiago, Chile. "When you're new and you don't have any competition to identify yourselves with, you have to be able to know completely what the region is all about. David had a particularly good grasp of that information."
In fact, Mr. Taggart, named publisher in June 1995, sees his role as persuading upper management at marketers in Europe, Asia and the U.S. to invest and do business in Latin America. The ad buys, he figures, will follow.
Many already have. The monthly magazine racked up $14 million from ad sales and circulation in 1996. Circulation has grown to more than 88,000 today (65,000 paid circulation) from 17,000 in 1987 and includes a Portuguese-language edition for Brazil that launched-in part on Mr. Taggart's recommendation-in March 1996. He realized from frequent trips to SÌo Paulo and meetings with Brazilian business executives that their economy's rapid privatization would create an important market for his magazine.
One AmericaEconomia advertiser since the magazine's 1986 launch is DHL Worldwide Express Latin America & Caribbean. The ability to reach the business audience throughout the region as AmericaEconomia grows in prominence has been attractive, said Susan Lyon, the company's regional communications manager based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Equally important are the value-added programs Mr. Taggart has created, she said. For example, DHL sponsors AmericaEconomia's Excelencia award for Latin American businessman of the year, including hosting events related to this distinction in seven Latin countries. When DHL moved its advertising account to Young & Rubicam last year, Ms. Lyon specified that AmericaEconomia be on the media schedule.
But many companies advertising in Latin America still lack a regional approach. "Latin America, to say the least, was a difficult sell," Mr. Taggart said. "I spent an inordinate amount of time selling the region."
He's trying to make that job easier with pan-Latin American research, still a scarce commodity. He is working with some of his print competitors to jointly fund a readership survey later this year. The hope is that the survey will provide reliable numbers to help persuade advertisers to use regional print titles.
The competition for panregional advertisers is indeed heating up. One print rival, Newsweek, has both English and Spanish-language editions for Latin America, and another, Latin Trade, starts a Spanish-language edition this month.
Besides his print competitors, Mr. Taggart is facing dozens of U.S.-based international cable and satellite operators who are spending heavily to conquer the Latin American market.
"We grew by 35% in ad revenues [in 1996], but it would have been more if it weren't for attrition to cable," he noted.
Regardless, AmericaEconomia itself is becoming an important source for detailed research on executives and businesses in the region, including an annual report on the 500 leading private and state-owned corporations in Latin America.
In 1996, an annual survey of 1,000 Latin American managers was introduced, gauging the managers' feelings on key management issues. The "Managing in Latin America" series appeared in three successive issues of the monthly AmericaEconomia. Drawing on his list of contacts, Mr. Taggart was able to underwrite the research through sponsors like Mexican soft drink bottler Femsa, Digital Equipment Corp., communications company Nortel, FedEx, United Bank of Switzerland, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, Audi and European power-generation company ABB.
Mr. Taggart's readership-and advertisers-are appreciative. DHL's Ms. Lyon said she has used the publication's 500 list to generate leads for sales and marketing staff throughout the region. And as younger, aspiring and agile executives-especially those who have been educated abroad-become the leaders of Latin American corporations, they desire more information than their predecessors required.
In January 1995 Mr. Taggart moved his office from Santiago to Coral Gables, Fla., as the Miami area emerged as a center of the Latin American business community.
"I was kind of doing it by remote control from Santiago," Mr. Taggart said. "I was keeping New York open as an option, but by the time I got here, I realized that Miami was where it was happening."
Born: Feb. 1964 in Wichita, Kan.
Education: Studied history at Wichita State University.
Career highlights: Parlayed an internship in 1984 into a full-time job as assistant to the president of Leaders Magazine in New York. In 1987 he joined Compania de Acero del Pacifico in Santiago, Chile, as a consultant conducting market and advertising feasibility reports on Latin American media. AmericaEconomia hired him away in 1988 to be its director of advertising; a promotion to associate publisher followed quickly, and in June 1995 was named publisher.