Hispanic PR industry gets ready for its big moment

It doesn't take a crystal ball to foresee the revelations of the 2010 US.

It doesn't take a crystal ball to foresee the revelations of the 2010 US. Census: Hispanics will solidify their standing as the country's largest ethnic group with a projected population of 50 million, up 42% from the 2000 Census. For marketers and corporations that have been slow in embracing Hispanic PR as a marketing imperative, the Census results should serve as a much-needed wake-up call.

With a total purchasing power of almost one trillion dollars, the Hispanic market continues to grow as a viable market segment. Today, the market is served by four full-time broadcast TV networks and hundreds of cable, radio, print, and Internet outlets; Hispanic young adults especially have been rapid adapters to all forms of social and mobile media and over-index in many categories; more than 70% of all Hispanics are regular Internet users; and even though Spanish-language sites are limited, nearly 64% of the Spanish-dominant group are avid web surfers.

As marketers and communicators, it is important to see the correlation between Hispanic marketing “supply and demand” this Census brings for diversity within the industry and Hispanic communicators. Long overlooked and under-budgeted, the Hispanic PR industry has come a long way in its short 30 years and is poised for continued growth to meet the demand.

This year marks a milestone for Hispanic PR through two major initiatives. First is the Hispanic PR Census now underway through April 30 that will quantify the size of the industry. Second is the first-ever conference dedicated to addressing the needs of the industry and the market at the Hispanic PR and Social Marketing Conference in Dallas, May 10-12.

As a Hispanic PR agency owner for 20 years plus, both the census and the conference represent a historic united front and long overdue coming of age for our industry. The fact that Hispanic PR professionals from throughout the country will be meeting for the first time at a conference devoted specifically to their craft speaks volumes to the growth not only of the Hispanic market, but also of Hispanic PR and social marketing as a viable marketing discipline. This conference is an opportunity for communicators focused on Hispanic communications to share best practices and demonstrate their collective power.

But knowing the research numbers is just the beginning. Dispelling myths, understanding cultural nuances and foreseeing market communication trends is what an annual Hispanic PR conference will provide to the overall PR industry. It is a major leap forward in moving Hispanic PR from an after-thought to its rightful place front and center as a smart, effective strategy to serve the country's most dynamic market force.

John Echeveste is a partner at VPE Public Relations in Los Angeles, co-founder of the Hispanic Public Relations Association (HPRA)

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