I started to tear up at lunch today while talking to Lizie, a young woman who works with me. She’s from Mexico, and about a year ago she didn’t know a CPM from a CPA. But I hired her because she was bright, driven and eager to learn. She’s so driven that this past holiday season, while home in Guadalajara, she took time out of her personal schedule to visit some local advertising agencies. She came back with stories of how she’d ended up teaching an impromptu class on online advertising to a hungry audience. The pride I felt when she told me this took me back to my motivations for starting Consorte in the first place.
It was 2005 and I was working for The Carlyle Group’s venture fund. My job was to find companies for the fund to invest in, and I was actively watching the online advertising market for new opportunities. At the same time, I found myself at a crossroad in my life and was feeling very disconnected from my culture. I realized the only person I spoke Spanish with was Isabel, the woman who took out the trash at my office. I began to wonder how I could combine the business skills I had developed as an investment banker, corporate lawyer and VC with elements of my ethnic identity. I thought about who I was: a thirty-something, Mexican-American female, homeowner, number 8 of 11 children, Spanish-speaking, Ivy-educated, athlete, avid salsa dancer. As I looked at myself, I discovered that I am a bundle of contradictions… and as such, a pretty good representation of the Hispanic market today. We’re diverse, and no single approach will satisfy the entire market.
That’s when I hit on the idea of developing a new approach to Hispanic marketing. I really wanted to demonstrate that this was a market worth valuing: by advertisers, by publishers, by employers and even by Hispanics themselves. And not just with regards to the revenue potential of this growing market, but also the true value that comes from connecting on a personal level. The kind of true connection that all advertisers seek. The connection that breeds loyalty. The connection that can only be achieved by valuing your audience.
So I decided to start Consorte Media. It was important to me to move beyond stereotypes and anecdotes and to bring measurability and accountability to Hispanic advertising, so that advertisers based their campaigns on real, measurable evidence of which messages work and which don’t. I wanted to create a company that did this in a proven and effective way, using sophisticated campaign analysis and measurement techniques that drove real results. And a company that was of this market, and that valued often overlooked talent, like that of Lizie.
The number of U.S. Hispanics is growing faster than any other demographic group and will reach nearly 25% of the overall population by 2050. Yet advertisers are only now starting to understand the value of connecting with this large and diverse consumer group. Many marketers know they need to reach out to Hispanics online – but they don’t know how. It is my purpose to show them the way. At the same time, I also want to show the Hispanic market that we can build our community through building businesses and marketing them. And, I hope that I’m demonstrating to young Latinos that our culture can be an asset and that they can take charge of their destinies.
I am still evolving, as is Consorte Media, but we are as committed as ever to helping shape the perceptions of the Hispanic market and using the brightest minds and the latest technologies to do it.