PANDORA'S PROBLEM PAGE

Q: I have a client whose products are quite successful, but I think

there is a real opportunity for the company to tap into the Hispanic

market.



Unfortunately, the director of marketing does not agree, and won't even

discuss our ideas for reaching out to the Hispanic community with the

CEO. How can I make him recognize that the company is missing out on a

great growth opportunity?



Ms. D, St. Louis



A: It's hard to believe there are still some unenlightened companies out

there that are unaware of the expansion, spending power, and importance

of the Hispanic market. Some smaller, boutique companies like Procter &

Gamble, MCI/Worldcom, and Sears have been ahead of the pack in reaching

out to the Hispanic community, according to Hispanic business news

outlets.



Surely Staple Removers, Inc. or a similarly erudite brand might

recognize the importance of this growing and savvy group of potential

customers.



Such enduring ignorance never fails to amaze Manny Ruiz, CEO of Hispanic

PR Wire, which was launched last year in response to this burgeoning

opportunity.



Previously, he helped form Porter Novelli's Hispanic practice.



Ruiz recommends employing hard facts to educate the client. "It is a

continuous challenge for PR firms to be able to translate these

increasingly compelling statistics to clients," he says. But it is vital

that the client gets a clear picture of what they may be missing.



Do some research on how other companies in this client's sector have

responded to the expanding opportunities in the Hispanic market and

present some case studies to your client. Ruiz also offers a range of

useful data that helps illustrate your point. One is that the Hispanic

population in the US is the same as the population of Canada, at about

32 million.



The US Census Bureau reported that the Hispanic population has increased

58% since 1990, represents 13% of the total population, and is the

fastest growing minority group in the country.



Q: I am pretty new to the media relations side of PR. I have been trying

to build relationships with journalists in my sector, and have found it

to be really difficult. I have invited some of the more important

writers out for cocktails and have tried to win them over so they'll

cover my clients, but I haven't had any luck. A couple of them have

attended events that I invited them to, drank the wine, ate the food,

and left without interviewing anyone. I feel like I am doing everything

I can, but still my clients are not getting the coverage they want.



Mr. V, New York



A: How exactly did your firm train you, Sweetie - tie you down and make

you watch reruns of Absolutely Fabulous? Your whole attitude needs

retrofitting.



Journalists, we know, won't often turn down a chance to snarf copious

amounts of gratis alcohol and hors d'oeuvres. You can lead writers to

the bar, you can even make them drink, but that doesn't mean they will

be any more inclined to write about you.



The only way to get ink is to pitch relevant ideas to journalists that

are within their coverage areas. In order to do that, you have to

educate yourself. It sounds like you are focusing on media relations

without understanding that your first priority is getting to know your

clients inside and out.



Talk to the people that head up the accounts for your agency, and get

them to help you uncover the compelling stories that journalists want to

hear.



Do you have a problem that no one else has been able to solve? Try

Pandora. E-mail her at pandora@prweek.com.



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