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And they just keep coming! More marketers, more dollars, more opportunities...

I recently participated in or presented at several events that brought together the Who's Who of the Latino business and communications world. Although the events were held in different cities and had different focuses, there was one common theme-one valuable insight-as a key takeaway. Corporate America is finally practicing what we've been preaching all these years: pay attention to the Hispanic segment because it offers an opportunity like none other in this country. This week at the Upfronts in New York, dozens of media companies seem to be acting on this insight, presenting their Latino programming and sponsorship opportunities to the hundreds of marketers that will dedicate millions of dollars to the nation's fastest growing market segment.

These companies have been impressed with the abundance of on and offline media channels available to help brands engage with Latino consumers and those who influence them. While some executives are still behind the eight ball when it comes to Hispanic outreach, plenty of others are investing millions of dollars in diverse media that reach Latinos regardless of language, acculturation and U.S. geography-a savvy business move when you consider that media viewership, readership, and listenership is up among Latinos but down in the general market.

The facts support the investments the committed Hispanic marketers are making: 50 million plus consumers (of which, 33.5 million are online!); trillion-dollar buying power; more than 100 broadcast and cable networks; 1,400 radio stations; 900 newspapers; dozens of magazines; 4,000 online campaigns by 2,000 advertisers active on more than 500 Hispanic sites (Q1 alone!); thousands of bloggers; hundreds of non-profits; and more than 6,000 elected and appointed officials, all active and key players in the dynamic and changing world of media consumption and consumer preferences.

And best of all, some companies have figured out the realities they must manage if they want to connect with our community: transparency, collaboration, velocity and social conscience. Being authentic and candid with the market about their commitment; partnering with Latino employee resource groups or Latino organizations to better understand the market; moving quickly (before the competition) to define outcomes and the stakeholders with which they need to engage; and finding a strategic creative expression to demonstrate the soul of the company, not just because it's the right thing to do for the business, but because it is simply the right thing to do. Period.

For me, it is great to see companies introduce new products or reposition existing brands, as well as engage with bloggers, select the best channels in which to invest, identify the right community partners and develop integrated campaigns to reach this market. As the Upfronts in New York this week reveal a strengthened focus on Hispanic outreach, it is clear that there's a new sense of urgency as marketers continue to look for the most effective opportunities to tell their story and engage with the nation's 50 million strong Latino market. And why wouldn't they? After all, we're the world's 10th largest economy and we're right in their backyard.

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