Archive for April, 2012

Hispanic Retail – 2012 Conference

April 25th, 2012

A Conference Not To Be Missed

One glimpse of the country’s purchasing trends, and you’ll quickly realize why Sofia Vergara is peddling an eponymous lifestyle line at K-mart—which also carries Cristina Saralegui’s home goods collection—and is a spokesperson for Pepsi. She—along with other Latino celebrities—represents the burgeoning Hispanic population that is conversely taking over America’s retail industry.



The Hispanic Retail 360 Summit is shedding light on this mammoth market during it’s eighth annual conference taking place August 15 – 17th at the J. W. Marriott at LA Live in Los Angeles, California. The conference and exposition aims to help retailers maximize their business with the growing Hispanic market in the U.S., and comes at no better time. Researchers from IBISWorld reveal that in 2011 alone, the overall buying power of Hispanics in the US hovered at the $1.1 Trillion mark, 9.5 percent of the US total.

Below is a video in which Lili Gil explains the top reasons to attend the Hispanic Retail 360 Summit:

Actor, Spokesman and Retired Soldier J.R. Martinez Will Keynote Hispanic Conference

The summit’s keynote, is J.R. Rodriguez,13 season winner of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars”, 2012 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal, one of People magazine’s 2011 Sexiest Men Alive and one of the 25 Most Intriguing People of the Year. At the conference, participating retailers will learn just how to effectively reach the diverse Latino market.


Hispanic Retail 360 Summit is the premier cross-channel event that focuses on retailing to the growing Latino market. While the Hispanic consumer market represents a significant growth opportunity for both retailers and suppliers, it is also one of the most complex markets for researchers, marketers, buyers and sales professionals to understand. Hispanic Retail 360 is the only conference designed to help retailers target, segment, and execute merchandising and marketing plans effectively to Latino shoppers.

The Hispanic Retail 360 Summit invites top retailers, suppliers, and Latino marketing experts to share their thoughts, insights, and feedback with one another. Topics on marketing to Hispanics will include consumer interests/trends, food merchandising, department store merchandising, specialty retailers, and many others.  The Social Media Spanish leadership team will be there to network and learn from some of the best in the business.

Two of the conference’s sponsors, PepsiCo & Anheuser-Busch, which together spent more than $1.15 billion on U.S. measured media last year alone, continuously endeavor to connect with Hispanics through strategic social involvement.

Hispanic Retail 360 is produced by Stagnito Media and its market leading brands, Progressive Grocer and Convenience Store News. For discounted registration information or sponsorship opportunities, contact Michael Hatherill at 201-855-7610 or

Go to to view programming for this year’s event or for further information. We look forward to seeing you and connecting there!

Hispanicize 2012 Wrapup – DK’s Thoughts on a Grand Latino Leadership Conference

April 19th, 2012

The DK leadership team, Natasha Pongonis and I, just got back from Hispanicize 2012 and really were amazed by the overall experience.  Here we want to share a few thoughts from our team that other marketers and bloggers may consider for their future conference decisions.  To view all photos from the Hispanicize conference check out our DK Facebook page.

Eric and Natasha arriving to the Hispanicize Conference

Eric and Natasha arriving to the Hispanicize Conference


Bloggers in Force!

There were many, many Latina bloggers at the conference.  This is great as we work with many bloggers on brand messaging, so to have a chance to meet and socialize with them is really a great opportunity.  Some of our favorites were there including Jeannette Kaplun of Todobebe, Romina Tibytt of Mama XXI, and Alexandra Morbitzer of Fit Latina.  It was also great to spend some time with some of the amazing cause bloggers such as Laurita Tellado of Holdin’ out for a Hero, fashion bloggers including Mercedes Sanchez of Be Chic Magazine, and food bloggers like Nicole Presley of Presleys Pantry.  If you want to laugh and learn more about Latina food bloggers watch the video below from Nicole.

Better than Hispanicize 2011?

Many people asked how the content of this year’s conference compared with last year’s in Los Angeles.  Overall, I think they were quite comparable as far as what I learned from the panels and case studies.  Last year had interesting case studies from brands such as Tecate and the CDC and this year there were also many high level brands such as McDonalds, Dove, Disney, Chevy and more.  Content-wise, I think they were both very good and had an action packed schedule throughout each day.  My own panel was about Futbol Marketing to Latinos, it was well attended even though late on the last day of the conference.  We had great panelists, Michael Olguin, CEO of Formula Latin and Hector Galvan of Sprint who made for a very informative panel.  There were several very engaged audience members such as Alejandra Diaz-Lembleque of NASCAR and Elana Rosenbaum of Clorox who asked interesting questions that were relevant to all marketers considering a Latino sports marketing strategy.

Michael Olguin and Hector Galvan on the Futbol Marketing panel discussion

Michael Olguin and Hector Galvan on the Futbol Marketing panel discussion

And the Party didn’t Quit

Lets be real.  Many of us attend conferences because it is a certainty that there will be a daily happy hour at the least, and possibly a dinner/club outing at the most.  Hispanicize blew all that out the water.  The second night of the conference had the entire conference audience at a private outdoor event sponsored by Diageo on South Beach.  The final night was a celebrity affair with the audience invited to a private mansion on the bay where there was an outdoor screening of the movie Scarface, with a number of the movie’s cast mingling about.  Definitely a night to remember.

Hispanicize party held at a mansion on the bay

Hispanicize party held at a mansion on the bay

Una perspectiva en Español de Natasha:

Este año fue la primera vez que participo en Hispanicize 2012, previamente asistí a otras conferencias y eventos relacionados a los Latinos y tendencias en la red como LATISM 2011 donde formé parte de un panel, pero esta vez fui como oyente y con la clara intención de poder disfrutar a pleno de esta tan esperada conferencia. La verdad que, ya estoy comenzando con la cuenta regresiva para el año próximo!

Un movimiento digital

Para mí, Hispanicize (#Hispz12) representó no solo una oportunidad única para solidificar relaciones entre profesionales Latinos influyentes en el área digital pero así también formar parte activa del movimiento dinámico que está actualmente ocurriendo en los Estados Unidos, donde los hispanos estamos teniendo una voz y representación importante en todos los niveles. Esto se vio claramente representado en la diversidad de paneles y panelistas; desde la salud, la política, el área de medios y prensa tanto como el deporte fueron muy bien represados. A destacar particularmente fue la gran participación de los bloggers y las queridas blogueras, que brindaron sus experiencias más personales con una audiencia ávida por interiorizarme más por cada una de las luchas personales.


Gabriela Natale, Teresa Garza, Lynn Ponder, and Rosy Cordero of the Entertainment Blogger Session

Una pequeña familia!

En lo personal, siento que tengo una pequeña familia que se está armando de forma totalmente orgánica. Nos vemos en conferencias, en viajes de negocios y en cada encuentro, las conversaciones se retoman como si no hubiese pasado el tiempo. Nuevas amistades se inician y se mantienen por el seguimiento diario vía Twitter…bendito Twitter! Es así que quiero dar las gracias al equipo de Hispanicize por crear este evento y brindarnos la oportunidad de conectarnos, unirnos y sumar fuerzas entre todos los apasionados por el dialogo latino en la red. Es así que será hasta el próximo evento!

Natasha Pongonis and Carla Briceno at Hispanicize

Carla Briceno and Natasha Pongonis at Hispanicize


Does Your Campaign Need a Network of Bloggers? Part II

April 2nd, 2012

Last week we introduced you to Romina, a 31-year-old Latina blogger from New York City. As the author of Mamá XXI, a Spanish-language source for coupons, deals and general interest for Latino families, Romina is one of the 3.9 million women with children who write blogs in the US—a number estimated to increase by 500,000 in the next couple of years. Even though only 2 percent of bloggers belong to the “Mommy bloggers category,” this small sector of the blogosphere represents a huge platform for brands seeking to reach a powerful, niche market. These bloggers receive more than 500 pitches a day and in turn produce focused content that arguably helps disseminate a brand’s message better than other sources.



As an influencer and pivotal member of the Latina blogging community, Romina offers valuable insight into why companies should not only seek out bloggers but also consider blogging as part of their overall marketing strategy.


Interview with Romina Tibytt of Mama XXI


Why should large companies trying to reach the Latino market consider bloggers as part of their overall Web strategy?

Blogs are all the rage right now and the preferred medium for users to get recommendations and information. Bloggers are up to date with all social networks, tools, tips, and the Web in general, therefore prove very influential in this area.

On the other hand, the fury of social networks and the Internet cannot be denied— stars are born on YouTube, Pinterest, etc. Adele, a singer whom I adore, was discovered after a friend uploaded songs to her MySpace profile, and there are many others who’ve had the same experience. A blogger is someone who is versatile and efficient; they can just as easily write a review as they can upload a video to Youtube, host a Tweetup, or generate “Likes” on Facebook. Their most important attribute is the level of commitment they maintain to their readers, which leads to the discussions and user feedback so useful to companies.

And finally, as mentioned above, the presence of Hispanics in social networks is very important and is growing second by second.

What’s the difference between a blog campaign and a Facebook or Twitter campaign?

There are many differences, as they are two different platforms that make use of very different tools. A blog is the ideal space to discuss an issue in one or multiple articles while Facebook is an excellent platform to promote a topic, generate conversation, make a post go viral and publish visual content. The latter, however, doesn’t fare well in terms of providing a lot of details or information. Twitter is similar to Facebook in that it’s useful in generating conversation, interacting based on a topic and help the message spread widely.

From my point of view, and I think most bloggers would agree, for the success of a campaign, you should employ a combination of all three platforms.

When you’re trying to send a message to your audience, be it health-related or about a product, how many blogs should you publish on the same subject?

This is a very good question too. You could say that the answer depends on the subject, focus, and many other things—but not really! It’s simple; as the saying goes, “the more you fill the pitcher, the faster it will break” (tanto va el agua al cántaro que al final se rompe). The more you insist on a topic, the more impact it has. To this end, there are many factors that influence the outcome: firstly, the reader is more engaged when we report frequently on particular topic, secondly this continuity generates new interested readers and at the same time, allows bloggers to tackle topics from different perspectives, deepen and diversify the conversation.

The number of articles (posts) or notes depends on the campaign, some lasting weeks, others months and some even a year or more, hence campaigns enact ambassadors or elect representatives for particular brands.

What recommendations would you give to brands and organizations that are considering campaigns with bloggers?

I would recommend they that take into account all the extra benefits offered by blogs, as they are a very different source of media—blogs are innovative (and therein lies the secret to their success). Brands should look beyond numbers and site statistics and look towards the influence the blogger has over communities, followers and the public, which is generally stable. They should be open to working together with blog management companies like Social Media Spanish because they are generally very creative and have many ideas to contribute.

I can attest to, as well as the bloggers with whom I have the infinite pleasure of working with daily, the success of new trends and continued effort to seek out ways to bring about new tools and generate interest. We know our audience very well, and we know how to reach them based on their interests, hopes, concerns, needs, etc. Additionally, we practically live on social networks and try to stay on top of trends, which is why we attend national conferences and participate in related activities.

Last, but not least, I wish to emphasize that brands should also take into account that a blogger puts time, effort and energy into a campaign, so they must be compensated well.

What tools do you use to increase traffic to your blog, generate page views, and which social forums do you think are more useful for promotion?

Well, to generate traffic to my blog I mostly use two types of tools, firstly SEO (search engine optimization).  This really just means online positioning and employing best practices, such as titles, spelling, originality, Google, codes, graphics and visual tools, etc. On the other hand, and the tool I like most: social networks—which, with the recent changes Google has made to its algorithms, also influence search engine rankings—like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, e-readers and Youtube.

I think Facebook is the most useful social platform that helps with promotion, dissemination and capturing the audience’s attention.

Tell me about your section of Women Entrepreneurs. What is the goal and what is the goal?

In Women Entrepreneurs I highlight women who have stood out in a specific sector or activity and originality.

The economic crisis has affected everyone without discrimination, but especially Latino families. I have seen many of my readers try to find new ways to generate income based on their particular skills or talents without needing to neglect their families. Most have done very well! That is why I decided to give them a space on my blog in order to recognize them and support them while promoting what these wonderful women are doing.

The second purpose of this section is to inspire and encourage other women who are perhaps a little disoriented and don’t know what to do to succeed or achieve their dreams and goals beyond the household.

Finally, it’s a place to meet and get to know each other better and strengthen our bond as an online community.

What do you do besides blogging? What are some of your other interests or passions?

In addition to publishing my blog Mom XXI, I’m a Blog Guide for’s Blogs (a New York Times publication), I write weekly for Moms Blogs by Jeanette Kaplun and Todobebé, I contribute regularly to the Blogger Friends of Maseca section of Maseca, and I have also contributed to Plaza Familia’s monthly print magazine and a number of other projects. I’m also a homemaker, wife, mother of three adorable children, and I love to dance. To destress, break the routine and move around a bit I go to Zuma two to three times a week.