Publishers and Advertisers Fight for the Lone Star State
Any marketer seriously attempting to reach Hispanic audiences nationwide knows that an important
part of his target market resides in the Southwestern USA, particularly in the states of Texas,
Arizona and New Mexico. John Paton, CEO of industry consolidator Impremedia, who does not own
any properties in the Southwest, recently told Portada that he is interested in acquiring publications
in this area. In fact, in many parts of Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, Hispanics constitute the vast
majority of the population. Texas, Arizona and New Mexico make up for approximately a third of the
$4 billion Hispanic advertising market. Portada calculates the size of these three states’ print and
digital media markets at $300 million with national advertising accounting for 25% of it.
Targeting the Southwest is even more important when marketing specifically to Mexican Americans,
as they are more numerous than any other Hispanic ethnicity, and in many cases constitute the
majority of the regional population. It is no coincidence that perhaps the most ambitious Hispanic
newspaper publishing venture, Meximerica Media’s Rumbo Newspapers attempts to reach this
demographic in San Antonio, Houston and Mc Allen.
Take Mission Foods’ Tortillas Guerrero marketing plan, for example: “What is important for the
Guerrero brand is reaching our customers, primarily the Mexican American customer,” says
Jim Lucero, Managing Director and Head of Multicultural Hispanic at Camelot Communications,
Mission Foods’ advertising agency, which conducts a multimillion dollar effort advertising Tortillas
Guerrero. The majority of Tortillas Guerrero’s sales are in the West and Southwest.
Compass Bank, another Camelot account, has a footprint that covers the Southeast, Texas,
New Mexico and Arizona. Compass Bank had had good results by investing in radio, out of home
and newspapers. It has bought advertising in Hispanic newspapers in San Antonio and Albuquerque.
Due to the strong connection between the U.S. and Mexico, several print and digital media properties celebrate Mexican Americans. San Antonio-based website MATT.org – MATT being an acronym for “Mexicans and Americans Thinking Together - is a website covering issues including immigration, Mexican politics immigration laws and Mexico-U.S trade. Lionel Sosa is MATT.org's CEO, and oversees operations, including its website, content and marketing, with an eye toward business returns. MATT.org employs 40 to 60 employees in various cities.
Another program targeting Texas as a whole is La Canasta de la Familia, which combines direct to
door delivery with direct mail components and an editorial product. La Canasta is a poly-bag that
includes inserts, product samples and a publication called La Buena Vida. The program for 2007
calls for distribution of 2,000,000 total perdrop, including delivery of 1,000,000 in California and
1,000,000 in Texas. “The program drops 4 times per year and may have special editions upon
request,” notes Dob Duyal, CEO of San Antonio-based ADS Media Group. The La Canasta
program will transition to local and regional advertising in 2008.
“The La Buena Vida publication will have a California edition, as well as a Texas edition.
It will have some very good human interest topics that are not dated such as cooking, finance,
sports, entertainment, health, etc. It will have universal appeal to young and old and is bilingual
to accommodate its target audience’s varying degrees of acculturation. It can contain coupons,
or if someone prefers, they can be inserted independently into the bag,” Doyal notes. Advertisers
will have the opportunity to insert FSIs into the poly-bag and also to buy on-page advertising in
La Buena Vida. Doyal adds that the product sampling and cooking section of La Buena Vida has
drawn the most interest from advertisers.
Last fall, Todo Texas magazine was launched. It is delivered to 55,000 upscale households in Mexico City, Monterrey and Merida, and inserted into La Reforma in Mexico City and in El Norte in Monterrey. The monthly magazine is targeted at affluent Mexican nationals visiting Texas. The main ad-categories represented in its pages are Luxury fashion apparel & accessories; fine dining; healthcare; real estate (many buying second homes in Texas); and education: “Of these, we would say that luxury fashion & accessories and healthcare will grow the fastest,” says Cynthia Hughes, TODO Texas’ publisher. Open rate CPMs (cost per thousand readers) for the publication are relatively high, around $136. Its advertisers include Saks Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton, and Cartier.
The magazine offers readers TODO Card, an affinity card that provides members with discounts and special offers from participating retailers. This allows advertisers to extend specials through the magazine's Web site and lure Mexican nationals to their businesses. “Our goal is to have 2500 members by end of 2007,” Hughes adds.
Houston, the fifth Hispanic Market
With a population of about 2 million, Houston’s DMA is one of the country’s top five Hispanic markets, and is the largest Hispanic market in Texas. Several publications have a presence in the Houston market. Rumbo Houston is published Monday, Wednesday and Fridays and has a combined circulation of 230,000. It is published in tabloid format and distributed for free.
Semana News is a weekly Spanish-language paper with a circulation of about 125,000. Over the past few years, the paper has witnessed a steady increase in the number of national advertisers targeting Hispanics in the Houston market. These have included print advertising by Cingular, Verizon Wireless, and AT&T and inserts by Sears, Best Buy and Target. Some advertisers, such as Verizon Wireless, Target, and Amazon have opted to go after the paper’s readership on the web.
According to Hernan Duenias, _______________, automotive, consumer packaged goods, and medical ad categories are poised to grow the most in 2007. Duenias says that while national advertisers have shown increased interest in the Houston market, advertising from Mexican companies has been “negligible.”
Speaking on the shopping mentality of Houston’s Hispanic consumers, Duenias says, “Hispanic consumers in Houston have become more and more educated in their buying practices. Overall, they are more likely to make purchases based the quality of the product and type of service they receive. Price is a tertiary. Similarly, newsprint readership is firmly based on quality content and editorial that directly impacts their lives.”
The Houston Chronicle publishes two Spanish-language products, La Voz (100,000, Spanish, Weekly) and La Vibra( National 225,000, Spanish, Weekly). La Vibra is licensed to the Houston Chronicle by Impremedia, and is distributed as an insert. Among the national advertisers who run extended ROP schedules in La Voz are: AT&T, Bank of America, Citibank, and Target. Loida Ruiz____________, sees the financial sector as playing a big role in the paper’s 2007 advertising schedule.
According to Ruiz, Mexican advertisers are important to both La Voz and La Vibra: “We would
love to see more business in this category. We are a great city to reach Mexicans. The majority
of Houston's Hispanics are of Mexican origin (81%) and we are the largest city closest to Mexico.
Mexican nationals also travel to Houston for shopping and health reasons throughout the year.”
Speaking to why Houston needs to be in the minds of all advertisers looking to establish a national
Hispanic footprint, Ruiz notes, “We have the largest Hispanic population in Texas and the fifth
largest market in the U.S. We are also fourth in buying power at $25.1 Billion.”
San Antonio, more acculturated Hispanics Lying between Houston and El Paso is San Antonio, a more acculturated town with a high proportion of English-dominant Hispanics. As is the case in many cities, broadcast networks gobble-up the majority of advertiser dollars, with print publications fighting over the rest. Conexion (50,000, Bilingual, weekly), published by the San Antonio Express News, is a publication aimed at the area’s English-dominant Hispanics, while it’s recently launched counterpart, Cancha (25,000, 2xweekly, Spanish) goes after the Spanish-dominant market. Cancha is published in conjunction with Monterrey, MX-based Grupo Reforma. The two papers are meant to complement one another, according to ad sales director Myrna Cortes: “Cancha offers another segment, the first generation Hispanic market, to complement Conexion's 3rd generation audience, for total market penetration.”
Cortes says that she’s seen some innovative approaches being employed by advertisers to reach the paper’s Hispanic readership: A successful campaign by Cingular was one in which the shell of their full page ad promoted their brand, but the content was editorial in nature. The concept was to benefit and endear the Hispanic community by sponsoring news of cultural interest. The result was that our readers came to see this page as Cingular's service to our Hispanic community.”
Cortes sees the home improvement, financial, pharmaceutical, telecom and insurance ad
categories being big in 2007. While Mexican advertisers are not yet lining up to place ads,
Cortes foresees growth in this area. She points to San Antonio’s highly acculturated Hispanic
community as being one of the defining characteristics of their market. There are plans in the
works to offer advertisers email and online delivery options, as those capabilities evolve.
Cancha and Conexion’s FSI growth has tripled year over year, attesting to that vehicle’s strength,
according to Cortes, and has included national advertisers like Home Depot, Sears, Target, GM,
and others. In addition, they offer an innovative doorhanger program called “Mexico Express,”
which grants U.S. advertisers the ability to deliver their FSIs to 60,000 affluent households in
Monterrey, Mexico: “It is a solution for those who want to appeal to Mexican buyers who travel to
San Antonio frequently. Our direct mail program, executed by the San Antonio Express News, is
a viable and inexpensive way to target specific households in San Antonio or across the country,
for which we also provide extensive research,” says Cortes.
Heavily Hispanic McAllen, located at the very bottom of the state, is another area with a large Hispanic population density, over 80% by some estimates. The area’s main Hispanic papers are El Periodico USA (60,000, Spanish, Weekly) and La Frontera (20,000, Spanish, Mon-Sat), published by Freedom Communications’ The Monitor).
El Periodico’s advertisers include cell phone providers, big-box retailers and auto dealers.
Ad sales director Jose Luis Garza predicts that cell phone and automotive advertisers will be
big advertisers in 2007. Among the defining characteristics of the McAllen market is the
overwhelmingly Hispanic population and the thousands of Mexican customers streaming in
from over the border every week.
Garza says that most Mexican advertising focuses on border services such as health and food
services. They do not currently offer advertisers digital delivery options, but are currently working
on that capability. “For our newspaper, FSI advertising is very important, because we have a
largely home-delivered distribution system. Every time that a new FSI customer starts distributing
with us, they stay as a customer, since we have an audited newspaper and an effective distribution
system,” says Garza.
El Paso: On the Borderline
Located right on the border of West Texas and Mexico’s Ciudad Juarez lies the fabled El Paso, one of the most famous crossing points between Mexico and the U.S. The city is approximately 81% Hispanic, and more than 40% of the population is Hispanic dominant. Given its geographical location, cross-border sales are brisk. The residents in Juarez and Chihuahua City account for 40 to 60% of the retail sales in El Paso, and tens of thousands of Mexican residents cross into El Paso every week. They spend an average of $58.5 million dollars in El Paso each and every week, or approximately $3 billion per year in El Paso, according to local estimates.
There are a number of Hispanic-focused publications in El Paso. El Diario (20,000, Spanish, Daily, Editora El Paso del Norte) is a daily newspaper that receives steady advertising from big box electronics stores such as Best Buy and ComUSA. Much of these stores’ traffic comes from Mexican shoppers looking to get bargains on their electronics purchases. The paper also receives advertising from restaurants and department stores encouraging people to shop in Juarez. El Diario also recently launched an English-language weekly called the Border Observer, meant to be a lifestyle and entertainment newspaper distributed free every Friday in bars, restaurants and in more than 300 single copy boxes throughout El Paso.
El Paso y Mas (50,000, Spanish, 2x/week, El Paso Times) is a Spanish-language publication that increased its frequency to twice a week this past October. It is now published on Thursdays and Saturdays. El Paso y Mas is currently trying to increase its exposure to national advertisers. Many retailers, including Home Depot and Dillard’s already advertise in its pages. The publication, now published twice a week, is free. Approximately 40,000 copies are home delivered and 10,000 are distributed in racks.
The paper has also experienced good results utilizing a segmentation tool known as Claritas. Since implementing the tool, the publication has seen a 21 percent advertising revenue increase month-over-month, as well as an upswing in advertiser retention.
Texas National ROP 8,910,778.68
Texas: 22.5 million total pop; 34.6% Hispanic; 15.6% other minority; 49.8% non-minority
Source U.S. Census Bureau Press relaease Aug. 2005.
Arizona National ROP 4,195,863.52 N 232,339.77 +1.4 FSI = 5.9 Total: 39 millon ;10X14: 54.6
New Mexico ROP: 39,541.00 N 26,680.00
Texas: National 9 +FSI 3 = 12 = 80 million total 112
Phoenix, Arizona, is certainly a major center of the Southwest, with a Hispanic buying power of $25 billion. Phoenix is the 8th largest Hispanic market in the country and continues to grow. Between 2000 and 2005, Phoenix ranked #1 among major cities in Hispanic population growth (33.5%). Phoenix Hispanics also have a very strong ties to Mexico, since 75% of Hispanics in Phoenix who were not born in this country came from Mexico. As such, there is a great demand for Hispanic publications.
The Arizona Republic publishes La Voz (50,000, 2x weekly, Spanish) and TV y Mas (90,000, Weekly, Spanish). Both publications run advertising for national retailers like Sears, Target and Best Buy, all of whom run FSIs. According to Brooke Christofferson, Home improvement stores Lowe’s and Home Depot have both increased their Hispanic print investments since 2005. Christofferson expects entertainment, financial and pharmaceutical ad categories to be strong in the coming year.
The Arizona Republic also launched a weekend product, La Voz Fin de Semana, which goes out to 60,000 homes in the Phoenix metro area with a combined 85% Hispanic household penetration.
“The continued growth of La Voz with this complete weekend issue, positions us as the indisputable leader in the Phoenix market,” said Frank Escobedo, General Manager of Ashland Publishing, LLC. According to Elvira Espinoza, Publisher of La Voz, “the Hispanic community was ready for a weekend product and La Voz Fin de Semana will more than fill that need.”
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