Monday, March 21, 2011

SES NY: The Latino Market Goes Mainstream?

Amidst the bustle of the throngs down Avenue of the Americas in New York City, a conference in the Hilton hotel is adding a Latino touch. 
SES New York (Search Engine Strategies) is a search and social marketing conference that seeks to help companies and individuals stay ahead of the curve and understand what is happening in the ever-changing online space. 

But this year, the third day of the conference that runs from March 21-25 will have a track of programming called Focus Latino, which will be centered on the Latino online market and how and why companies should reach out to Hispanics. Is this a big deal? You bet it is.

"We're really just beginning to understand how to reach Latinos online," said Giovanni Rodriguez, the Chief Marketing Officer of Broadvision and board member of Latinos in Social Media (Latism). There are big numbers out there, he said. Like that Hispanics in the United States have 1.3 trillion in spending power but "competing studies say different things about how much Latinos are actually online," he said.

Rodriguez said that some organizations commission studies where its in their best interest for results to say that Latinos are online. But even when it comes to nonpartisan "fact tank," the Pew Research Center, there have been confusing reports. 

"Google is the number one player," Carlos Vassallo, CEO of Latinvision and creator of the Focus Latino track said. "If they say, 'We have a whole new organization that is going to be active in this market, nationally and internationally,' it makes everybody aware," he said. "When the number one moves everyone will follow. 

"Google validates that the market is there," he said.
And Vasallo says evidence of the Latino market growing in importance can be seen everywhere. One of the reasons he wanted to hold a Focus Latino day of panels at SES New York was because of the outreach and infrastructure already in place. Carlos Manzano heads the Latin Media and Entertainment Commission, started by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, which hopes to draw events like SES New York to the city.

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