My first year at the South by Southwest Interactive conference, I was surprised to find only one panel about the US Hispanic market. And the scarcely attended session was about how to use the internet to promote music to young Latino audiences.

In contrast, this year there are six presentations with solid topics and great speakers. So, you could say that things have changed… but not by much. In the SXSW program of the US Hispanic presentations are categorized under “Latin America.” Oh well, one step at the time.

Below are the Latino conferences in this year’s event. If you are attending SXSW, don’t miss them! They will bring you up to speed on the latest trends in Hispanic marketing, and will help you figure out  how to profit from the fastest growing market segment in the US.

Saturday March 12

11:00 – Why Mexico Will Change Your Life

Gary Hoover (@garyhoov)
Entrepreneur. Founder of BOOKSTOP (now part of Barnes & Noble) and Hoover’s (hoovers.com)

While this presentation is technically about Latin America,  to understand US Hispanics you need to understand their background and origins. Where we come from is a lot of who we are.

I met Gary a few years back, when he attended one of my conferences. He’s a fascinating guy, who owns thousands of books (if I remember correctly, 16,000) and is passionate about entrepreneurship and the latest business trends.

11:45 – Reaching Hispanics Through Mobile – GobiernoUSA.gov’s Experience

Laura Godfrey
GobiernoUSA.gov

Hispanics over-index in usage of cell phones. However, very few organizations and brands engage with the mobile Latino. It will be interesting to learn about how the Government is innovating in reaching out to Latinos.

12:30 – Latino Link: Marketing to Spanish-Speakers Using Digital Platforms

Ana Grace
Global Team Site Mgr – Best Buy

Joe Kutchera (@joekutchera)
Dir of Digital Svcs – Acento

These two panelists really know their stuff. Ana Grace has led Best Buy’s interactive efforts for over three years and is extraordinarily passionate about her work. Ana has become an evangelist within Best Buy, convincing the company of the importance (and profitability) of online Latinos.

Joe published a book last year about Hispanic online marketing, and is helping increase the awareness about the fact that, yes, Virginia, there is a Hispanic internet user with money to spend.

3:30 – Latinas in Technology: Beauty, Brains and Blogging

Kety Esquivel (@KetyEsquivel)
Latinos in Social Media

Kety is one of the driving forces behind the “Latinos in Social Media” movement. If you follow the #latism hashtag on Twitter, you’ll enjoy enriching discussions about politics, business and Latino life in the US.

I’m looking forward to see how this panel of Latinas rocks the conference.

Monday March 14

11:00 AM – Your Ignoring Multicultural Markets Will Make Me Rich

Sheila Marmon
CEO – UrbanAdserve

I haven’t met Sheila yet… but agree wholeheartedly  with her statement. Shhh… let’s make sure that only our clients know about this session…

5:00  – Hispanic Marketing After the 2010 Census

Jerry Rocha (@jerryrocha)
VP Media Solutions – The Nielsen Company

Kety Esquivel
Latinos in Social Media

Michael Munoz
VP Client Dev – Univision Communications

Reinaldo Padua
AVP, Hispanic Mktg – The Coca-Cola Company

Roberto Ruiz
Univision

This is the most comprehensive session in the Latino line-up, covering different aspects of Hispanic marketing.

Jerry is with Nielsen, and knows by heart the numbers that prove what a great opportunity Hispanics are. Adding the client perspective is Coca Cola, which has been reaching out to Latinos for years. As a result, Coca Cola is the number one sparkling beverage among Hispanics. Talk about open happiness for the company.

And of course, there is Univision. The company has an extraordinary footprint among Latinos with their traditional and interactive media properties. But what I find very interesting is how through their programming, Univision has helped define how the Hispanic culture in the US is perceived by Latinos and non-Latinos. Just think of the Univision spoofs by Saturday Night Life, featuring the wonderful FERICITO!!! .

Finally, to round up your SXSW Latino experience, you’ll need food. Yes, you must  sample some of the phenomenal Tex-Mex food that Ausin has to offer. But to hit it out of the park, you need empanadas.

The “Mmmpanadas” empanada truck, occasionally parked just a couple of blocks from the Convention Center, offers the best empanadas north of Buenos Aires. The truck was selected by GQ as one of the top ten food trucks in the US. They move around, so to find them go to their website or follow them on Twitter at @mmmpanadas.

If you’re interested in the SXSW scoop from a Latino perspective, I’ll be twittering from Austin as @delgadoman.

Enjoy your time at the “Festival Sur Suroeste” !