Portada’s 5th annual Hispanic Digital and Print Media devoted some quality time to the subject of content, with a panel moderated by Georgia Galanoudis, Group Director, Meredith Parenthood Group, addressing the importance of reaching Hispanic audiences through innovative branded content techniques.

Hailing from both the marketing side and the custom publishing side of the equation, panelists agreed that content, as we know it now, has evolved tremendously, from what used to be known simply as “custom publishing,” into a discipline that now involves online publishing, data base marketing, CRM and SEO.

A good example of the changes undergone this business is Kraft Foods’ Comida y Familia, a Spanish-language program that launched in 2001 simply as a web site and grew to become a multi-platform initiative, encompassing several media platforms including television, radio, online and, more recently, social media.

“We launched in 2001 with a website, and that has evolved into a 360 marketing program,” explained Tania Cameron, senior manager, CMR, Kraft Foods.

But, as panelists stressed, marketers should go beyond the pure sales pitch and find a way to engage consumers by addressing their needs and wants, whether through financial education, cooking tips or even hurricane preparedness.

“Its not only about sell, sell, sell,” says Rubén Rivera, marketing analyst at State Farm, whose Spanish-language Buen vecino provides Hispanics with information that goes beyond just selling insurance.

Mariela Dabbah, speaker and creator of creator of Latinosincollege.com, warned marketers about staying focused and knowing exactly what to do when they attempt to “educate” the Hispanic consumer.

“What does it really mean to educate the Hispanic consumer?” asked Dabbah, who is also a counselor for Ford-sponsored TuVozenTuVida.com Website. “I constantly hear parents saying they don’t understand half of what is being said about schools, tests, and things they kids will need to go to college.

“Let’s make sure that when you market to this community, you must address things that the community needs to know,” she concluded.

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