As we recently wrote, not all is bad news in the Hispanic print media sector. El Clasificado, the Los Angeles based Spanish weekly newspaper (free distribution), is expanding with a new Bakersfield edition, approximately 100 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. The new edition (circ. 10,000) brings the total number of zoned El Clasficado editions to 28 and a combined circulation of 385,000. Portada talked to Martha de la Torre, CEO and Founder of El Clasificado, about the new edition, the organization of the sales force and the role of national.
Portada: Are these editions purely classified editorial products?
Martha de la Torre: “El Clasificado print is a blend of classified ads, display ads and approximately 8% of editorial content. In addition to the print product, El Clasificado has also diversified itself through distinctive brands —Quinceanera.com, SuSociodeNegocios.com, AlBorde.com, SaludYNinos.com, HogarMiDulceHogar.com — allowing us to capture various niche demographics through a multi-platform campaign that includes print, web, mobile and events.”
Please describe the zones El Clasificado is published in?
M.D.T: “We currently have 27 zones in the LA Metro area, San Diego, Ventura and the High Desert and a zone soon in Bakersfield. Some zones cover geographic areas as small as 11 sq miles and some zones cover areas as large as 1,553 sq miles. It’s all about the profile of the community, where they shop, where they walk; the dispersion of businesses, ethnic demographics and the geographic comfort zone of each particular neighborhood.”
How have you been able to build a sales team for all editions. How are they structured?
M.D.T: “We have organized our sales teams into distinct, clearly defined categories. We have a team of 21 outside sales representatives, who are responsible for selling the display ads in the publication. Each of these reps is assigned one or more “zones”, for which he is exclusively responsible. This type of systemization allows El Clasificado’s sales department to be as effective as possible. In addition to the outside sales reps, we also have a team of display telemarketers who are assigned to a different outside sales representative, and are responsible for setting their appointments and providing support. Finally, we have a team of classified sales representatives who are responsible for classified ads. The reps receive all incoming phone calls, and walk-in clients. They are assigned to specific regions only when they are going to make an outgoing sales call. For incoming sales calls, they are not restricted.”
What roles does national advertising play in these editions?
M.D.T: “National advertising plays a significant role in the editions, not in terms of volume, but insofar as it provides national advertisers with alternatives where there are few. El Clasificado is a reputable advertising option that has built a solid reader base throughout our 21 years serving the Hispanic market. Moreover, the fact that we are zoned allows national advertisers to target specific markets within the Hispanic market in Southern California. El Clasificado’s unique model and the quality of our products is a rare, refreshing alternative for national advertisers. “
How big is the California Spanish-language classified market (both online and in print)?
M.D.T: “I don’t have statistics about the Spanish-language classified market, (Note: in a 2005 interview de la Torre estimated the Los Angeles classified market overall (print and online) to be at $1 billion), but I do know that many of our colleagues in the print and online classifieds arena have taken a heavy blow due to services such as craigslist, kajiji, gumtree and other pureplay free classified ad sites.
El Clasificado has withstood such competition: our growth in classified ad revenues for 2008 was over 19.8%. This is due to our flexibility: Not only do we constantly upgrade and perfect our unique distribution model so that El Clasificado print reaches as many homes as possible, but we have also invested heavily in securing a strong online presence through building online social platforms, SEO optimization and, of course, offering free Spanish language classifieds online. Currently, El Clasificado.com is the largest Spanish classifieds online platform, with close to 2.8 million page views and more than 208,000 unique visitors/month.”
What role does online play in classified ad sales (e.g. local search)?
M.D.T: El Clasificado has grown in sales of print classifieds that come directly from users who placed a free classified online, thanks to the relative ease with which users can do this on our website. Since January 2009, sales of print classifieds that come directly from online have almost doubled.”
Note: In a recent Los Angeles Business Journal article, El Clasificado advertiser Elena Cano, manager of Perfect Smile, a dental clinic in South Gate, says that the All Latino clientele she targets "is a demographic where not a lot of people have Internet access”. According to Cano, this makes Spanish-language print classified vehicles like Elo u Clasificado a good choice for advertisers. You can read more about whether Spanish-dominant Hispanics have Internet access in the following article: Hispanic Digital Media Debate: Does it Make Sense to target Spanish-dominant Hispanics via Digital Media?