Editorial: The Hispanic Hype

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Marketers were hyping the Hispanic potential long before the group became the nation's largest minority -- a milestone announced by the Census Bureau last week. Much of the hype is old news, though. A few agencies already specifically target the Hispanic market, while list companies have compiled databases with millions of Hispanic names. Expect this bit of Census news, however, to push marketing machines into overdrive. Especially when you consider that the purchasing power of Hispanics reached nearly $450 billion last year.

Many companies are already aware of the potential. The National Football League started offering Spanish-language broadcasts on television and radio. It also has a Spanish-language Web site. Office Depot launched a Spanish-language site earlier this month to reach the 2 million Hispanic business owners in the United States. Avon recently debuted a new line of cosmetics for Hispanic women. Hallmark produces birthday cards in Spanish. The AARP started a Spanish-language magazine last year and is conducting a major campaign this year to add more Hispanic seniors to its ranks.

Though Hispanics are increasingly being assimilated into the American culture, they still stand out in several ways. The family unit, education and religion are all very important to them. People also tend to lump the Latino and Hispanic groups into one category, thinking that the Spanish language is enough of a commonality. Not true. The cultures of Mexico, Puerto Rico and Cuba are vastly different. Learn the nuances and you'll do well because this market is just going to keep growing.

Conference Hot Spot

If you're part of the trade show circuit, you'll get your fill of the Sunshine State soon enough. Call it a scheduling quirk or negotiating the best prices, but Florida is the conference hot spot this year: ERA Spring Conference, Key Biscayne, Feb. 23-25; DMB, Orlando, March 19-21; NCOF, Orlando, April 14-16; net.Marketing, Miami, May 5-7; Teleservices Marketing, Miami, June 18-20; DMA fall annual, Orlando, Oct. 12-15; and NCDM, Orlando, Dec. 7-9. This is the first time the DMA's fall show will be in Orlando, but the city hasn't officially been added to the four-city rotation (along with Chicago, San Francisco and New Orleans). If it's a hit, though, it will be.


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