Marketers Slow To Embrace Hispanic Digital Media

Jose-GarrigaAre marketers bad at math?

The question arose in the context of an ID Media-sponsored panel session Thursday that explored Hispanic media issues and the growing Latino population in the United States.

A pair of startling statistics was presented at the opening of the session: 16% of the U.S. population is currently Latino, while only 1% of U.S. marketing dollars are targeted toward reaching that population.

Why the disconnect?  Participating panelists agree that marketers aren’t mathematically challenged so much as they are risk-averse. But that fear of risk taking will hurt them in the future, as the Hispanic population is predicted to grow to one-third of the U.S. population by 2050, they said.

“The future of your brands depends on it,” asserted Jose Garriga, vice president sales, Univision Sports. “Otherwise, you’re going to fail. It’s as simple as that.”

Agencies share some of the blame for marketers’ dropping the ball in the Hispanic marketing arena, said Lance Rios, founder of Hispanic social media platform Being Latino. He said that agencies frequently ignore requests for meetings to simply introduce his platform and explain how marketers might benefit from its use.



“Let us in the door -- we’re knocking,” he said. At the very least, Rios added, a quarterly update from Hispanic new media vendors would enable agencies to speak intelligently to their clients about the growing array of Spanish-language, and importantly, bilingual platforms that are available to reach the Latino consumer.

Panel moderator Diana Bald, director of marketing at ID Media, the Interpublic Group direct marketing specialist, asked if the panelists believed Hispanic media would ever achieve parity in marketing dollar allocation with mainstream media.

“It can only go up,” replied Sophie Dabuzhsky, an account manager at Terra, the Latino-focused digital information and entertainment content platform. Whether there will ever be a one-to-one correlation in the share of marketing spend she couldn’t say. But if one well-known and deep-pocketed brand were to “take the plunge” and make an adjustment, it could serve as a catalyst for others to follow suit, she said.

“We’ll reach parity -- it’s inevitable,” insisted Ashley Moak, head of Hispanic consumer insights, Google. “Look at the diversity on this panel,” she said. But to get there, it will take “evangelism from the inside, including [companies like] Google. You need to find internal champions at agencies or marketers that can get the message to the top.”

Felix Sencion, CEO of the digital sports content platform Mundial Global, agreed. “Yes, it has to grow,” he said. He recalled a conversation with a major advertiser a few years back who asked the company’s digital team to spend $100 million on various platforms, if they could. They could only spend $27 million.

“If only we had that challenge,” he said. Hispanic media would not have a problem efficiently placing that kind of spend from a single advertiser. He noted that Toyota made a huge push in multicultural marketing a decade ago that marked the beginning of the company’s ascent to the No. 1 carmaker in the world.

8 comments about "Marketers Slow To Embrace Hispanic Digital Media".
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  1. Zeph Snapp from Not Just SEO, October 15, 2012 at 11:12 a.m.

    Hi Steve,

    This is an interesting perspective, thanks for writing the article. While I agree in principle, there is data that is less anecdotal saying that advertisers are catching up.
    The ANA did a survey of marketers to see if their multicultural spend was decreasing, staying the same or increasing. 60% are increasing.
    This is good news for shops like mine who cater only to clients interested in Spanish language projects for Hispanics and Latin Americans.
    As for the Being Latino platform, well, as soon as I'm done with this comment, I'll be heading over to their site to check it out...thanks for the tip!

  2. Dr. Jake Beniflah from Analytica Plus, October 15, 2012 at 12:11 p.m.

    I am not so sure that marketers are "likely to fail" if they do not embrace digital today, as suggested in the article. Marketers are missing an opportunity -- that's something we can all agree on.

    After working with leading organizations for almost two decades, organizations are risk averse because they have not been able to determine or measure the Hispanic ROI in digital. It's not difficult. But digital must be a revenue-driving medium and that is where the rubber meets the road, for all organizations.

    Secondly, organizations have figured out their ROI for television, which continues to drive media spend among organizations who invest in Hispanic. Clients will invest in what they know how to do well, and with proper measures.

    Who will help break the paradigm remains to be seen. At this point, I do not expect digital to surpass Hispanic television spending for some time. I would like to see more companies challenge themselves to invest and commit to digital as digital and -- particularly mobile -- will be the fastest growing medium in targeting Hispanics in this decade.

  3. Zeph Snapp from Not Just SEO, October 15, 2012 at 12:22 p.m.

    Jake, you hit the nail right on the head. Mobile is going to be next up. But digital has to be part of any integrated strategy.

  4. Valeria Rosa from The Brand Connection, October 15, 2012 at 5:13 p.m.

    Just asking brands to open up their doors "because we're knocking" is ludicrous.

    Agencies and platforms have to be able to quantify their efforts in order to be a considered a viable choice.

    Which by the way, Being Latino is neither. Their "platform" is a heavily trafficked Facebook page that blandly promotes Latino platitudes and trite conversation. It's not that brands are not opening their doors, I think they prefer not to hire those who can't deliver.

  5. Tim O'Connor from Accordant Media, October 16, 2012 at 4:24 p.m.

    On the Being Latino point, agreed with Valeria. Buyers on both the agency and brand side unfortunately don't have an obligation to dedicate media dollars to reaching a demographic simply because there is opportunity there. Its a vendor's job to provide a compelling reason to a buyer to open that door.

  6. Lance Rios from Being Latino, November 12, 2012 at 12:01 a.m.

    My comments are to Valeria & Tim. As far as your comments as to what Being Latino represents, they were made with extremely limited information. We are not a highly trafficked Facebook page, in fact when it comes to heavily trafficked facebook pages, we have quite a few. Here are a couple for you to check out to give you a feeler.

    Being Puerto Rican:


    To reiterate, we offer a plethora of services where we tap into our networks through our sister companies, Hispanicize and Latina Mom Bloggers for campaigns from an activation perspective, events and blogger outreach for starters.

    I wish I would have seen these comments earlier to defend that when they were both made they were done so with little to no real information about our company and services. We work with several major agencies and brands and have been opening doors since our inception and have offered compelling reasons and results, time and time again.

  7. Carla Briceno from Bixal , November 28, 2012 at 5:53 p.m.

    Wow, Valeria, those are some seriously harsh and probably very unfounded conclusions to make about Being Latino. As Lance points out, you may want to do a bit more research and gather a bit more information about his overall business offering, platform and results before you render judgement in a public space. And, Tim, you may want to clarify your support for Valeria's assertions, because she's not only saying that it's a vendor's obligation to prove their worth, but she's also very rudely throwing a company under the bus.

  8. Lance Rios from Being Latino, November 29, 2012 at 7:15 p.m.

    I just tried finding out about Valeria Rosa from The Brand Connection and there is no record of a person who exists.

    I believe this to be a fluke entirely. Sheesh, the measures people go to over the internet to be malicious.

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