The Hispanic Online Market Comes to Life at Hispánicize

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This week I join hundreds of bloggers, marketing agency executives and brand managers in Miami at the third annual Hispánicize social media conference.

Being surrounded by this diverse, vibrant and passionate group brings a huge smile to my face because it reminds me of just how far the Hispanic online market has come.

Born to American parents in Mexico City, I was fortunate to be exposed to the Spanish language and Latin culture, both of which have played a key role in who I have become personally and professionally. I was also exposed to computers from an early age and was instantly hooked.

My ability to speak Spanish landed me a job in Madrid in the mid 90’s around the time Starmedia.com and QuePasa.com ruled the Spanish online world. Seeing them go public was very inspiring and helped me discover my passion: to combine technology and entrepreneurship with my love of the Latin culture and Spanish language.

I had an idea to create a Spanish language version of WebMD for the U.S. Hispanic market. That idea did not pan out but I ended up starting one of the first Hispanic online advertising networks in 2000.

At that time Univision.com did not exist, Hispanic Market Weekly was delivered by fax and nobody really knew how many Hispanics were online. It was hard to convince companies to invest in the Hispanic online market.

I would talk to anybody who would listen about how the Internet was a critical way to reach Hispanics online. Most people thought I was crazy or didn’t have budgets to advertise, but a few were more forward thinking and open to trying something new. As a result, I helped execute some of the first Hispanic online adverting campaigns and back then, the only way to “see” the Hispanic online market was through impression, click and web analytics data.

Fast forward 12 years and things have changed dramatically.

Univision.com is a leading Spanish language website in the U.S., Hispanic Market Weekly is delivered digitally and there are dozens of ways to quantify the Hispanic online market.

More importantly, social media has brought the Hispanic market to life.

Do a quick search on Twitter for #hispz12, the hash tag for Hispánicize, and you will see what I mean. The Hispanic online market is no longer just an impression, a click or a unique visitor, the faces you will see and voices you will hear represent a diverse, vibrant and passionate Hispanic online market.

Hispánicize is both a culmination of a long and rewarding journey for me and at the same time the beginning of another journey for the hundreds of young professionals who have dedicated themselves to the Hispanic online market. I am sure that they will look back at their time here and smile as well.

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