Promotions executives have found experiential marketing and events-based campaigns to be a strong builder of brand awareness among Hispanic consumers, panelists said at the Hispanic Television Summit here on Sept. 24.
"Cox understands that we Hispanics are much more community-centered," said Renata Franco, marketing segmentation manager at Cox Communications. "Events do really well for us."
While community events may not immediately translate into customers for MSOs or their partnering sponsors, they allow brands to interact face-to-face with members of the community and serve as product showcases, Franco said. Cox employs bilingual brand ambassadors at their events to personally speak with those attending.
"Our number one objective is to connect with our audience emotionally," said Telemundo station group president Ronald J. Gordon. The broadcast group recently launched a tour that took the stars of popular telenovela Sin Senos No Hay Paraiso on two promotional runs to four different markets. "The results were fantastic," Gordon said, citing increased ratings in the markets the stars visited.
Matt Grim, director of marketing for Fox Sports en Espanol, said that bringing in high-cost talent to events often isn't worth the price that talent costs. He said events with lower-cost giveaways and gifts often drew crowds of the same size. Like Gordon and Franco, he spoke of leveraging his brand's assets to build community in the Hispanic market. Fox Sports en Espanol set up a scholarship for the male and female Latino Athlete Student of the Year in New York, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles. The network engaged distributors by getting local advertisers through the local cable system to sponsor the promotion and then co-branded it with Time Warner Cable.
"Sports itself is experiential," said Robyn Remick, vice president of affiliate marketing for ESPN. "[Viewers] are experiencing it in real time. It is part of their life experience."
Remick believes promotions targeting a large and diverse audience are a consistent game of trial and error. "You begin with a plan A, when you finally get to plan D, you get it right."
Remick, an industry veteran of more than 25 years, believes successful campaigns often hinge on an understanding of Hispanic culture in local markets. For example, a Caribbean baseball themed-promotional campaign might draw interest in New York, but perhaps not as much in Los Angeles, she said. By the same token, a Mexican soccer-themed campaign likely would play better in Los Angeles, than New York.
"It's about digging deeper to find where the cultural relevance is," Remick said.