Telecom companies focusing on Hispanic market outreach

LOS ANGELES: Telecommunications companies are increasingly spending marketing dollars on outreach to Hispanic consumers as the industry seeks new customers and new directions for growth.

LOS ANGELES: Telecommunications companies are increasingly spending marketing dollars on outreach to Hispanic consumers as the industry seeks new customers and new directions for growth.

"The market is competitive, and this is a critical growth segment,? explained Rick Werner, director of Hispanic PR and community affairs for Qwest.

Verizon, Qwest, and Cingular are all aggressively targeting this demographic both because census figures show it is one of the most quickly expanding US populations, and because it provides a pool of new consumers, many of whom are recent immigrants without established brand loyalties.

Cingular, which boasts a trio of top ranking Latino executives, has hired in-house Hispanic PR and marketing experts, as well as launching a large effort with Ketchum that includes outreach to Hispanic media and sponsorship of the Mexican National soccer team.

Verizon recently hired LA-based Orci PR for a similar large-scale campaign.

And at Qwest, a recently launched Hispanic website will soon be followed by other efforts including ?major cultural grassroots events,? according to Werner.

The stakes for these firms are high, because Latino consumers tend to be very brand loyal. But language and cultural issues between recent and second- and third-generation immigrants can make them tricky to reach.

One thing is certain, telecomm companies will continue to compete fiercely for dominance.

?We are the number one company in the Hispanic market,? says Cingular?s VP of Communications and PR Tim Klein. ?We don?t intend to lose that.?

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