In Circulation: marketing to underserved communities
Ruth Gaviria, executive director of Meredith Hispanic Ventures, speaks with DMNews about the relaunch of Espera and 12 Meses parenting magazines, marketing to Hispanic mothers and serving under-served communities.
Q: Can you talk about your vision for Meredith Hispanic Ventures?
A: When I joined Meredith Hispanic Ventures, we had three publications: Healthy Kids en Español, 12 Meses and Espera, and it was a very ancillary business. My first assignment coming in was to relaunch Healthy Kids en Español to compete with Ser Padres. Eighteen months later, Meredith bought Ser Padres, so we didn't have to compete any more, but it was still helpful because we had done exercises to see where the market needed to be.
Two years ago, all these publications became the Hispanic Ventures Group. The first change we made was to relaunch Ser Padres with Healthy Kids folded into it. Healthy Kids en Español and Ser Padres are the same magazine with a similar audience, and Ser Padres had been in the marketplace for 15-16 years, so it had huge equity in America, Latin America and Spain — so we put our impetus and money behind Ser Padres. Readers love the magazine, and its controlled circulation is perfect in this economy because they go to the doctor and it's there for them.
Now you're relaunching Espera and 12 Meses – what does that entail?
The market is changing. One in every four births [in America] is to a Hispanic mother, and it's going to be one in three soon. We had to make sure the magazines delivered what these mothers needed. Ser Padres is the flagship brand, so we brought them in to the Ser Padres brand franchise.
We are increasing the frequency of Espera to three times a year from two, and 12 Meses is becoming Ser Padres Bebé. From a content perspective, it means we have looked at what pregnant women want, particularly with Espera, and added sections like pregnancy fashions. The Hispanic pregnant woman is often younger than the usual market, wants to talk about relationships and fashion and is not as conservative as the Ser Padres reader would be. It's a change in direction, a change in look and feel, and we have young editors that can relate to this.
Who is your target audience for Ser Padres Espera and Ser Padres Bebé?
We know that the underserved market of Hispanic women is 18-49, and the sweet spot for us is 25-30, which is where Hispanic women are having babies. The audience is more of an acculturated target. For the most part, our publications are targeted towards the immigrant population of the US, and growth is coming from those born in the US.
This woman is doing things that her mother and grandmother never did. She really is negotiating American values and values from her country of origin and adopting American practices — 10 years ago, you would never have seen a young Hispanic mom having a baby shower.
How are you getting the magazines to these key readers?
They are controlled circulation, with Ser Padres Espera in pediatrician offices and OB-GYN offices, and Ser Padres Bebé in Ser Padres sampler bags. The sampler bags are very strategic, and we have been offering them with 12 Meses for years. Espera was ready to be its own magazine.
Will we see any launch campaigns or promotional marketing for the re-launched titles?
We are part of conferences, and we will use other Meredith vehicles to cross-promote. We will also announce the relaunches through Ser Padres and Siempre Mujer. We do have a small trade plan that we will be executing.
What other media are being used to promote the Ser Padres titles?
We are in the process of launching a parenthood blog: mimosblog.com. In the next 18 months we'll launch a Web site and the reason behind that timing is we have not seen Hispanic women, our specific target, online. The Pew Hispanic Center says Hispanics with a lower level of education and English proficiency remain largely disconnected from the Internet. We have a pretty educated target audience — high school and college-educated — but they're not necessarily English-proficient, and there's a very real correlation between English proficiency and connection to the Internet. We would have acquired a portal or launched a site a long time ago, but when you look at where we're serving — the underserved, Hispanic population that wasn't getting information, that was hungry to be integrated and engaged in Spanish —that commitment online will make sense pretty soon, but it's us pushing them to get there.
What are your goals with the relaunches?
The immediate goal is to make sure the publications are connecting with our readers, so we will test to make sure we are out there with the original content that we need. We'll do reader studies in the field, and we have done in-book reader studies and focus groups. With those, we get quantitative data on how important a section is to readers, what else they would like, and how they would like information served to them.
Our second priority is to let advertisers know the importance of this consumer, so we're in the field right now with an ethnography report with data on health, food habits, beauty habits and technology in Hispanic homes. Our aim is to educate ourselves and our advertisers on what is going on in Hispanic homes right now.