John Lopez and Maria Jacobo

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To hear John Lopez and Maria Jacobo talk about their jobs is to hear the voice of purpose. This is what people sound like when they’re on a mission. Direct. Passionate. Fiery, even. Their company, Encore Media, LLC, though only 8 years old is already one of the nation’s recognized specialists in marketing to the Latino community. But for John and Maria, while it’s important to get the cultural aspects of the message correct …we make sure the product is well positioned and the product sells.

“Every time we sit down and review a product or service, we look at it from every angle and try to determine how a Latino customer might perceive it. In this way we can create a commercial that works in the most meaningful ways. At the same time, we’re helping an entire population better understand the nuances and idiosyncrasies of our culture.” Maria adds, “It’s the sciences of social studies, trends, psychology, demography and anthropology all rolled into one, wrapped up in a blanket of creativity and packaged in a box called measurement and results. It’s not only fascinating –but as advocates and ambassadors for our culture, it’s inspiring.”

And timely. With U.S. Latino purchasing power surging to $700 billion,* the population is a market force to be reckoned with. Latinos spend about $70 million every day in Los Angeles alone. Analysts say that in another three years, the national market will be worth over a trillion dollars, and that by 2050, fifty percent of the U.S. population will be Latino. It might surprise you, then, when you hear the biggest challenge facing John and Maria:

“Trying to convince some clients that this is a valuable, viable market,” says John, with a tinge of astonishment. “Why? Well, for one thing, the boom is a relatively new phenomenon, and a lot of people simply don’t realize its scope. Could also be stereotypes. Or maybe they had an ineffective campaign ten years ago. It’s only a problem for us now because the market is nascent. In another few years, it’ll be a given part of a marketing strategy.”

Maria smiles broadly and enthuses, “At this moment, it’s about as ripe as opportunity gets. And when we as a team are able to guide a brand into this marketplace, to show them how their product fits into the culture and how to reach people in a way that resonates as authentic, it’s incredibly fulfilling.”

Maria, John and the staff at Encore Media provide market research, media planning, budgeting and production of television and radio commercials. Their work reaches audiences from coast to coast comprising many distinct cultures, from Mexican to Cuban, Puerto Rican to Guatemalan. The common bond? John and Maria respond almost in unison: “Family.”

They became members of First Entertainment 12 years ago. “We love it,” says John. “We go there and we feel confident that our money’s in a good place – and our clients’ money is in a good place. We love the personnel that work with us at the Culver City branch over at Sony.” Maria explains, “All of our business banking is done exclusively with First Entertainment. We’re constantly moving big amounts of money through the credit union, and there has never been a hitch. A lot of people don’t even think that a credit union would really be able to handle business accounts, because you equate credit unions with personal accounts. But for us, it’s been wonderful.”

For millions of Latinos, the team at Encore Media provides a distinct, clear voice, exactly where and when it needs to be heard. Messages that help a vast consumer population make better-informed purchase decisions and life choices. In the end, what Encore Media, LLC does is about building bridges. And that’s something our world could use a lot more of.

* U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis

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Issue #14

Second Quarter, 2007

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