SBJ/20100913/SBJ In Depth

Network shares best practices on marketing

Since the NBA launched its signature Hispanic marketing initiative, Noche Latina, four years ago, the league’s marketing team constantly finds itself searching for additional information and data about the Hispanic consumers that compose 15 percent of the league’s fan base. The league always wants to know what interests Hispanic fans, how they differ from other consumers, and how to get the most out of its Hispanic marketing efforts.

The NBA uses the Latinum
Network to share ideas for
reaching Hispanic consumers.

Over the last year, the NBA began finding the answers to those questions through the Latinum Network, a business group it joined that includes Procter & Gamble, McDonald’s, General Mills and others.

The Latinum Network does original research on things like the attitudes and behaviors of acculturated Hispanic consumers, and shares that data with the members. It also pools and shares members’ best Hispanic marketing practices.

“They do the legwork for us to take and implement,” said Saskia Sorrosa, a senior director of marketing at the NBA. “Every brand is able to implement a strategy in whatever way makes sense for them.”

The former general manager of AOL Latino (David Wellisch) and a Conference Board executive (Michael Klein) formed the Latinum Network in 2009 after identifying a need for more data and insights into Hispanic consumers. The network has expanded from 10 to 40 companies over the last year and includes not only the NBA, which was a charter member, but also the NFL.

Members pay an annual, undisclosed fee and agree to share information. The network meets quarterly and most recently met at the NBA offices, where NBA Commissioner David Stern spoke and answered questions for an hour.

Sorrosa said the NBA already has benefited from its membership. At the most recent meeting, members discussed measuring media and return-on-investment in the Hispanic marketplace. Latinum is helping develop a platform that the companies can use to compile ROI data for media advertising.

Another benefit for the NBA has been the networking it’s been able to do with other companies focused on Hispanic consumers. That networking hasn’t led to any new sponsorships, Sorrosa said, but the league is optimistic it can build the type of relationships that lead to future partnerships.

“We’re always looking for strong partnerships, and this network provides that in the Hispanic marketplace,” Sorrosa said.

Klein, one of the founders of the Latinum Network, said the organization continues to recruit new members and believes that sports and entertainment organizations such as the NBA and NFL are important to the network’s future. He hopes other sports leagues such as MLB and MLS will join.

“We want to work with all of the organizations that are totally committed to this market segment, and sports leagues are the cutting edge of working with this consumer,” Klein said. “The two we have are a great anchor that we hope will help us get all the rest in.”



Brand preferences among Hispanics
According to Scarborough Sports Marketing, approximately 14 percent of U.S. Hispanics use T-Mobile for their wireless/cell phone service. That translates to a rate that’s 67 percent greater (Par=100) than the portion of T-Mobile customers among the overall, non-Hispanic U.S. population. On the other hand, Hispanics are about 30 percent less likely to use Verizon than the rate among non-Hispanics.



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NBA, NFL, Media, Ping, MLB, MLS, Verizon

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