Investing in smart marketing


by Ilia I. Leon

¡El tiempo! It seems like just the other day that Hispanic marketing stalled in this country by the mere preconceived notion that it was a myth. 

For the marketing/media pioneers that invested sleepless nights crunching numbers, cranking out consumer research initiatives and passionately conceptualizing what we knew was already becoming the Latino explosion, all I have to say is "truth conquers all."  Oh, and let's not forget the 2000 U.S. Census that helped to confirm the Hispanic demographics' boom. 


Hispanic marketing and media practices are alive and poised for continued growth in this country.  You only need to analyze your demographic universe estimates against media research to observe the logistics of sequential progression.  

In other words, you still need to crunch your numbers and produce all the other important and insightful diagnostics.  The good news is we now have the likes of Hewlett Packard and its competitors to help facilitate this process, providing us more time to clearly communicate and practice our craft. 

It's almost inconceivable that 25 years ago we in the media world had the cumbersome task of analyzing audience numbers that came from unwieldy soft covered research books on huge 24"x18" tabular pads, before we submitted hand-drafted media plans and documents to a typing pool who worked their magic to make them look pretty for client presentation.  Let me not neglect to say that it wasn't over yet.  We had to wait 1-2 weeks to get the document back from the typing pool, then assign two people to proof read it, before sending it back to the typing pool again…-splattered with red ink (as though we had bled over it…which was often not far from the truth) to call attention to typos, before proofreading it again! Whew! Thank goodness for Microsoft Excel.


We can now count on our extended familia of GM researchers to help engineer the evolution of strategic media practices.  I love our research team!  And this is an insight of how we Latinas think even in business – from the corazón. 

The art of weaving demographics, media intelligence, consumer insights, thorough understanding of the category/brand and good common sense is what strategic planning is all about.  And of course let's not forget the drive and passion for smart marketing. 

We've come a long way in multicultural marketing.  But it's now time to nurture and mentor our new generation of multicultural marketing/media professionals who will continue the progress and evolution of our business.     
¡Gracias! To ZenithOptimedia and my jefe Tim Jones, CEO I say "thank you for investing in smart marketing." 
Ilia Leon is VP, Director ZO Multicultural ZenithOptimedia. She can be reached at [email protected] or 212-859-5263.

[Editor's note: Be sure to catch our August SmartMedia magazine, focusing on Hispanic media. Inside are articles from and interviews with Joe Uva, Univision CEO; Larissa Acosta and Sarah Oitzinger at Dieste Harmel & Partners/AHAA; Halim Trujillo, Mindshare Partner/Director of Multicultural Planning; Amador Bustos, Bustos Media CEO; McGavren Guild President Lisa Sirotka; Lino Garcia, GM of ESPN; Oscar Ramos, GM of ESPN Deportes Radio and more.]