CSNews Exclusive: 2010 Hispanic Retail 360 Summit Hits New Heights

SAN DIEGO -- Representatives from the world's largest retailer, the world's largest convenience store chain and the world's largest consumer electronics superstore were among numerous Hispanic marketing experts who addressed a record crowd of more than 425 attendees at the sixth annual Hispanic Retail 360 Summit, held here since Sunday.

Multicultural marketing has never been more complex than it is now. And yet at the same time, it's more critical than ever for marketers to break the code, said Walmart's Director of Multicultural Marketing Carla Giovannetti Dodds, who delivered the opening address for this year's summit, along with Steven Wolfe Pereira, senior vice president of MediaVest and managing director of MV42.

Walmart is focusing on three opportunities to strengthen its multicultural marketing:
• Ensuring that it has a total business and market approach; • Fully integrating community affairs into its marketing team; and, • Delivering a 360-degree shopping experience.

"This is the time to make sure multicultural is at the forefront of everything we do," Dodds said.

Prior to Dodd's presentation, The Summit kicked off Sunday morning with an experiential tour. Guided by cultural marketing experts from XL Edge, Shopper Marketing practice of the XL Alliance; three buses packed with executives from around the country went to visit three independent stores: Supermercado Murphy, Appletree Market and Northgate Market. Each store showcased their unique layout, approach and retail strategy.

View a full report on the tour to these 99-percent Hispanic stores by XL Edge's Lily Gill.

Sunday's opening general session concluded with an informative panel featuring Irena Sibaja, senior director, multicultural marketing, 7-Eleven Corp., the world's largest convenience store chain, along with Daniel Herrera, Hispanic marketing manager for Southeastern supermarket chain, Food Lion, and Kevin Kilpatrick, publisher, Constru-Guia al Dia magazine -- a publication that targets blue-collar Latino males.

Keynote speaker Soledad O'Brien, acclaimed special investigations correspondent for CNN and host of the network's "In America" documentaries, drew conference attendees in with her stories of growing up as a first-generation Latina, as well as the insights she's gained from years of being a journalist.

O'Brien said one of the things she loves most about working in television news is that it allows her to not only impact one individual, but an entire community, with the stories she chronicles. And she noted it's not much different for retailers and marketers looking to connect with Hispanics -- both are about creating an authentic experience that accurately captures the community.

"If you're looking for solutions, it's a community question," O'Brien said, stressing that authenticity can only come from truly understanding the community one is trying to reach. "There's a tendency to cast a wide net, but where we go wrong is aiming at stereotypes instead of reality."

The conference also featured speakers from Coca-Cola, Kimberly Clark, Kraft Foods, Univision, Telemundo, General Mills, Coors, Brown-Forman, Kum & Go and Wells Fargo.

The final day of the conference yesterday was highlighted by a presentation of new Hispanic consumer research by The Nielsen Co.'s Doug Darfield and Univision's Ceril Shagrin and a moving closing statement from co-emcee Armando Martin, principal at XL Edge.

Complete coverage of the 2010 Hispanic Retail 360 Summit will appear in the October issue of Convenience Store News.

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