According to the U.S. Census Bureau , Hispanics are the largest minority group in the country with an estimated population of 40 million. Their buying power will reach $1 trillion by 2007 and will account for 11 percent of the country’s total purchasing power in 2010, according to research firm HispanTelligence. It’s a huge opportunity for magazine publishers, and has been for some time now.
Manufacturers have certainly taken notice. Through August, they’ve pumped $120 million into national Hispanic consumer titles;a 14 percent increase over the same period in 2004, according to Media Economics group president Carlos Pelay.
There are some 60 Hispanic consumer magazines published in the U.S. today, not counting locally distributed titles, which would push the total into the hundreds, according to Pelay. Business-to-business titles are harder to get a bead on, current estimates are unknown.
There’s still plenty of room for more. Rick Strachan, group publisher for Hanley Wood’s El Nuevo Constructor , says his construction magazine is alone in the market. “I don’t know if it’s because we staked out the space early or if overall Hanley Wood has such a lock on the construction market.” Meredith Corporation, which just launched women’s lifestyle and shelter title Siempre Mujer, counts, in mass market terms, only six magazines in the celebrity and entertainment category, three in beauty and fashion, and only one in general interest. “Publishing in the Hispanic market is by and large underdeveloped,” says Siempre Mujer executive director and publisher Ruth Gaviria.
What�s the hold-up? Most publishers will tell you that despite the obvious size and potential of the Hispanic market, little else is known within the variety of niche opportunities. Of course, some publishers have made tremendous progress in this area. Time Inc.�s People En Espa�ol commissioned the HOT Study (Hispanic Opinion Tracking), which is the largest research study in the marketplace to date, says publisher Jackie Hernandez-Fallous. And teams at Meredith have spent the last three years conducting their own research, confident enough to launch Siempre Mujer to 350,000 Hispanic women, not far behind People En Espa�ol, a brand behemoth at 462,000 weekly newsstand copies sold.
Knowing the market, however, is just the beginning, and achieving success is far trickier than translating an existing magazine into Spanish. In the race to gain traction in this increasingly influential population, magazines that rush to market will not get far without being prepared with the right content mix, an ongoing commitment to studying their niche;including sub-culture preferences;and the ability to offer more than cover four to advertisers.
Defining Your Market
�When you look at the marketplace, you see 40 million Hispanics,� says Gaviria, who begins to break down her target market. �You take away the men and the babies and look at women 18-49 who have a median income of $25,000 and above and at least a seventh-grade education, you�re left with 9-10 million.� Gaviria says that Meredith further parsed that number to 5 million women for whom Spanish is the preferred or dominant language. Finding the launch target of 350,000 from that was not easy. Focus groups and a partnership with Home Interiors & Gifts, a home d�cor company that works with Better Homes and Gardens and whose 30,000-strong sales force is 40 percent Hispanic, enabled easy access into the homes of Siempre Mujer�s target Hispanic woman. �Through them we were able to offer subscriptions to a very targeted group of people,� says Gaviria.
Reaching the Hispanic construction professional was more trial and error for Hanley Wood’s El Nuevo Constructor. Event and direct mail partnerships yielded so-so results, according to Strachan, who fell back on what traditionally worked;targeted direct mail, old-fashioned list scrounging and association partnerships. Particularly successful, however, has been distribution partnerships with building material dealers and home centers such as Home Depot and Loews. Strachan distributes about 500 self-contained display cartons, each containing 35 copies. “That’s been the most effective so far;going to the locations where they’re buying product,” says Strachan who adds that it’s been a good source for the 14,000 individual requested copies of the magazine’s 35,000 circulation.
For People En Espa�ol, Hernandez-Fallous says that research is an on-going commitment, not just a launch-related task. �We do a lot of issue studies. We are constantly in touch with our consumers. This wasn�t just at launch, this is throughout our entire existence,� she says. The magazine�s most telling example is the HOT Study. Its sample size is about 8,000 individuals and profiles the market�s acculturation, demographics, psychographics, and purchase behavior. Hernandez-Fallous uses the research for branding, editorial guidance and as an advertising lure.
Randall Publishing�s 50,000-circ Truckers News En Espa�ol, which has 100 percent distribution through truck stops with a 70 percent pick-up rate, is a Spanish-language version of Truckers News�but it�s not a straight editorial pick-up. Neither, for that matter, is People En Espa�ol. Original content is key, and it should be. As with any new market, some repurposed content may keep edit costs down, but a copycat publication with a new cover will be quickly dismissed. �We still use some translated copy. If it�s an article on a new government regulation it doesn�t really matter that it�s written in English and translated into Spanish,� says Linda Longton, Randall�s VP, editorial. �But we�ve learned that the Hispanic community, as any community, wants to feel like the publication is theirs and understands their lifestyle and business issues.�
�For Meredith, the idea of having home d�cor in a magazine like this was a no-brainer,� says Siempre Mujer�s editor-in-chief Johanna Buchholtz-Torres. �For repurposing, a lot of that home content is not a reflection of our culture.�
Buchholtz-Torres� reference to culture is an important one. While the variety of sub-cultures that make up the Hispanic community�Cuban, Puerto Rican, Mexican, Colombian, to name a few�certainly offer vibrancy, content must still be carefully scrutinized to make sure it appeals to the mix within the market. �That color is what makes us unique,� says Buchholtz-Torres. �But I have to make sure I have it in mind as I�m coming up with ideas because I don�t want to alienate anybody.� That universal appeal picks up from research findings indicating that Siempre Mujer�s audience wants stories covering relationships, incorporating cultural d�cor into their American homes and grappling with adapting to a fast-paced, multitasking culture.
To balance mass appeal with targeted cultural flavor, Buchholtz-Torres purposefully went after editorial talent with a varied background. “We could have had contributing editors that would write for us in every issue, but I wanted to make sure we had the opportunity to try different writers and let our reader listen to different voices that resonated with the experience they have here.”
Likewise, even as Longton published the first issue of Truckers News En Espa�ol as a straight translation of its English counterpart, she was searching for a bilingual editor who could get out into the field uncover record issues unique to the Hispanic market (she eventually chose Jorge Arboleda). �There are certain segments of trucking that draw more drivers and Jorge has been able to focus on the issues that relate to them and that don�t have as broad appeal to all truckers. So it�s helped us target the audience.�
Longton describes the magazine as a “news and lifestyle” publication, noting that truckers spend so much time on the road that their lifestyle is inherently merged with their work. So while work-related topics tend to overlap with the magazine’s English version, lifestyle interests are decidedly different. “They are far more interested in reading, TV, music, art and soccer. Our English speaking readers are more interested in NASCAR, hunting and fishing,” says Longton.
�When publishers say �Wonderful, let�s go after the Hispanic market� they have to realize how they are going to find their readers�not just for themselves but for their advertisers,� says Gaviria, whose magazine debuted with 40 ad pages. Indeed, publishers are going through a process of shared discovery with their advertisers, who are still researching the market themselves. This represents an opportunity for publishers who can claim the role of market expert. The team on Truckers News En Espa�ol, for example, assists in translating 70 percent of the ads that come into the magazine, according to VP and group publisher Robert Lake.
Some advertisers, however, know exactly where they want their message to go, which may short circuit-plans for integrated sales. �When I�m looking for an event that�s specifically Hispanic I only want to speak with People En Espa�ol, for example,� says Stephanie Rinaldi, VP, ethnic marketing and promotions, Maybelline. �I really, no offense, don�t care what package deals we get on People or Teen People because it�s not talking to the woman I want to talk to.�
That may not be an issue after all. People En Espa�ol �s Hernandez-Fallous says that, despite its membership in Time Inc.�s women and entertainment group, the magazine is entirely separate from the general market titles. �It�s a completely separate operation. It�s dedicated sales, dedicated consumer marketing�across the board.� People En Espa�ol through August is up 12.8 percent in revenue, per PIB numbers, and still tops the list as the highest grossing Hispanic magazine at $21.8 million according to Hispanic Magazine Monitor.
Randall�s Lake, who says the company currently has an integrated sales team, has begun backing away from that tactic in favor of dedicated sales. Time has become factor as the team�s responsibilities grow from closing the English and Spanish versions each month to gathering ad materials that need translating to selling booth space at shows. �By having an integrated sales force we are primarily picking the low hanging fruit in our marketplace. This has worked for 2005 but for 2006 we are adding several dedicated sales professionals for Truckers News en Espa�ol.� With the dedicated team in place, Lake is raising the ad budget approximately 65 percent to the low seven figures.
According to Rinaldi, whose budget increased by double digits in the last couple years, expectations are high. “We also want to understand how [magazines] are marketing to the consumer. Just to be on the newsstand is not enough anymore.”
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