Fairfax, VA, May 15, 2015AHAA: The Voice of Hispanic Marketing continued to raise the bar on the quality of content at its 2015 Annual Conference: Redefining Relevance, bringing together a list of who’s who marketing elite who understand the enormous impact the multicultural market has on American business. C-suite leaders from leading companies, including iHeartMedia, Kraft, Pantelion Films, and Target, all agreed that to move the corporate needle, marketers must lead with Hispanic insights and engage their audiences with authentic experiences and customized content. While the Hispanic Millennial is an important segment to target, all presentations spoke to the importance of getting to know the Hispanic consumer at the granular level.

Not only was #thinkahaa trending in Miami for the duration of the conference, but AHAA brought a little SXSW buzz by streaming a session devoted to new app innovation with Ryan Cooley, co-founder of Meerkat. Toyota was crowned 2015 AHAA Marketer of the Year and the Top Five Idea Awards went to We Believers, Conill and Lápiz with top honors to Grupo Gallegos at this year’s U.S.H. Idea Awards. In addition, AHAA released its most recent Hispanic Investment Report, which found that the Hispanic targeted advertising spend increased by 63 percent since 2010. The clear winner of the conference, however, was its compelling content focusing on technology, content, and the Millennial with Hispanic insights at its core.

Jason Silva, Emmy®-nominated host of National Geographic Channel’s hit TV series Brain Games, blew the minds of attendees as he encouraged all to think exponentially, to embrace the adjacent possible through technology, and to serve as chief engineers of evolution. “It’s time to dissolve our mental boundaries – to forget about ‘been there, done that,’” he said. “Media can be theogenic, providing game-changing optimistic ideas of the future. We can use marketing tools to tell stories that celebrate and uplift human imagination!” And, bilingual and bicultural marketers have an edge because they possess fluid, accelerated creativity from inhabiting two reality tunnels and moving between worlds. He also encouraged marketers to market the experience, not the product, and tell awe-inspiring stories that stretch our brains and stick out from the bandwidth anxiety.

During her keynote speech, Deanie Elsner, former Kraft CMO said Latinas are 80 percent of U.S. growth; therefore, multicultural must be the bull’s-eye for all targeting. Rick Gomez, CMO of Target, agreed, saying, “Hispanics are driving growth, so why not lead with Hispanic insights? This is about modern marketing. Our guest is evolving and we will continue to reflect that.”

Why aren’t all brands utilizing that strategy? According to Elsner, most marketers have been playing the short course. People who are making investment decisions today are not going to be impacted when the lack of long-term investment plays out. Sadly, compounding the problem are a lack of sophisticated analytics needed to both accurately measure Hispanic ROI and make the case for increased investment.

On-demand content, coupled with the exponential growth in mobile, is the new norm for personal information sharing – these are all new inputs which require new marketing capabilities. MediaVest CEO Brian Terkelsen stated that to stay relevant, agencies have to continuously evolve to keep up with these new changes. Marketers need to invest in more technology to be able to connect the dots on where the consumer is interacting, which is where programmatic marketing comes in. A panel on programmatic, including Danielle Gonzales, EVP, managing director, Starcom, Carl Kalapesi, VP of Industry Initiatives and lead of IAB Programmatic Initiatives, Rafael Monteiro, CEO of Hispanic On Demand, and Aaron Radin, SVP of Partnerships & Portfolio Products, NBCUniversal, elaborated on the advances in this field.

Aside from knowing where the consumer spends time, Heidi Browning, SVP, Strategic Solutions, Pandora stressed the importance of the personalized experience to make a moment for your audience that they’ll never forget. Not only does Target also see its guest as a content co-creator and co-collaborator, but a panel featuring the dream team who launched Red Bull Media House, Ravi Rajcoomar, CMO of Six-Speed; Jonathan Stern, VP/head of business development for Fusion TV; Jennifer Lukas-Bourgeois, principal, Ti22 Marketing; and Joe Jarvis, creative copywriter, reiterated that content marketing starts with empathy. The goal is not to market a product to a consumer but to build a community of enthusiasts, rewarding them for their time and loyalty.

AHAA would like to thank its generous sponsors for helping to bring together top talent and top content: Azteca, BodenPR, Bright Box, Clear Channel Outdoor, Google, GSTV, HispanicAd, Hispanic On Demand, iHeartMedia, IP Advertising & Promotions, .LAT, Mintel, Mocospace, Nat Geo Mundo, Nielsen, Portada, PRNewswire, PRODU, Reality Mine, Sizmek, Social Mosaic, Terra, The Futures Company, Univision, Windfall, and YuMe.

AHAA looks forward to commemorating its 20th anniversary next year, as it will return to the Eden Roc Miami Hotel for its 2016 Annual Conference April 18-20, 2016.