Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Alicia Morga > www.consortemedia.com

Alicia Morga CEO of Consorte Media

What do you need to be an entrepreneur?
Passion! I eat, sleep and breathe Consorte Media, because I believe in what we’re doing: helping the world’s biggest brands reach Hispanics online with relevant, effective marketing campaigns.

What inspired you to start your business?
I was working as a venture capitalist covering online advertising, and I saw first-hand how neglected the Hispanic market was online. I believed that with the right technology and approach, I could fill the gap and convince major advertisers that it is essential for their brands to connect with this incredibly rich and dynamic market online.

How did you finance it?
I boot-strapped the company myself the first six months. I spent those early months solidifying my vision to build the first online marketing company focused on the Hispanic market, building a high-quality team and developing the initial components of the technology infrastructure. When I felt confident that the company was on a solid path towards success, I reached out to the best VCs in Silicon Valley. We are backed now by The Mayfield Fund and Sutter Hill Ventures.

Being Hispanic…Does it have any influence on your business?
I would say yes, and no. I’m Mexican-American, so obviously, everything I do in my life comes from that deep cultural base. But, on the other hand, being Hispanic doesn’t mean I know anything about what Hispanics do or respond to online. That’s why I love the premise of our business; through testing and analysis, Consorte actually measures the effectiveness of each and every online advertising campaign to see if it really does resonate with Hispanics. That means we can deliver results to advertisers based on real data, not just anecdotal evidence. My whole premise for starting Consorte was to bring measurability and accountability to Hispanic advertising. While my ethnicity may provide me with a general idea of what cultural messages Hispanics respond to, only the testing and tracking done by our technology platform shows what is actually so. What I care most about is helping advertisers understand that it is crucial for their brands, and their bottom line, to connect with Hispanic consumers online – and that’s a business issue, not a Hispanic one.

In the face of adversity, how do you decide to keep going?
I just keep my long-term goals in sight. I won’t feel like Consorte Media has reached its full potential until all of the world’s largest brands have exciting, relevant advertising campaigns targeted to Hispanics online. We’re a long way from this goal, but I believe it is possible.

What is the biggest challenge your business has faced?
One of the biggest challenges we face at Consorte is overcoming stereotypes about Hispanic advertising. Many marketers think that if they slap together an ad in Spanish and place it on one Spanish-language site, they’ve done all they need to reach Hispanics. But that kind of haphazard approach does not fully value the Hispanic consumer, who is not only tech savvy and smart about being “marketed to”, but is also more than just a Spanish speaker (in fact, many Hispanics prefer to read ads in English). If advertisers aren’t crafting sophisticated, targeted ad campaigns that resonate with each of the diverse cross-sections of Hispanic consumers, they aren’t paying enough attention to this highly important and fast growing demographic.

If you could change one thing about your business, what would it be?
I wish it were faster and easier to hire the top people we need! But it takes time to build a dream team, and Consorte is growing very quickly, so it’s a constant challenge keeping our staffing growth on pace with our sales growth.

What was your childhood ambition?
To be an author and a scientist. I haven’t written a novel yet, but I do feel like the approach I’m bringing to Hispanic online advertising is a scientific one: hypothesize, test and prove.

Tell us about three entrepreneurs that you admire?
Oprah Winfrey, Mary Kay Ash and Eddie Lampert. Because they were not afraid to take risks to achieve their dreams.

For business meetings: breakfast, lunch, or dinner?
Lunch. One thing I learned in the venture capital world is to never eat lunch alone – there are always things to learn and people to meet.

What sacrifices on your personal life did you have to make in order to become a business success?
I work very long hours, plus I travel a couple of weeks a month and my work life is not always predictable. So it sometimes means having to cancel on friends at the last minute, or missing out on a weekend snowboarding trip. Being always in the office, on a plane or at a meeting can take its toll on your personal relationships, but my family and friends are very supportive of what I am doing.

What is your favorite quote?
“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” – Gandhi.

Is it difficult to be unconventional?
No, not when you are a Hispanic woman entrepreneur – because that in itself is pretty unconventional! That said, Consorte Media is taking Hispanic marketing to a whole new level by proving in a measurable way that Hispanic advertising is hugely important to the future of the world’s biggest brands. And that climb is not always a straightforward path, so being unconventional helps.

Biggest mistake made?
Our business is so fast moving, I make too many mistakes to count. And as I sit here trying to answer this question, I honestly can’t think of a huge mistake I’ve made, I just have the impression it’s a lot of little ones. And I think that’s the secret to success: don’t dwell on mistakes, get up, dust off and keep going.

Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why
I do, because Consorte is taking on the conventional advertising market and showing marketers that not only do Hispanic consumers online matter, they can be reached effectively and measurably. I’m committed to testing the old stereotypes of what works in this market, including the one where Hispanics are a niche market and don’t deserve or need the same cutting-edge technologies as the general market. Hispanics are the general market. Today Hispanic is a marketing preference, expressed in a myriad of ways, no different from being a woman or Jewish or athletic. It’s only when the entire advertising industry starts to understand the complexities of the Hispanic market that they will start to think more innovatively about how to reach Hispanics. Now is the time.

Contact Alicia Morga at www.consortemedia.com

About Consorte Media
Consorte is the leading provider of online marketing solutions targeting the Hispanic market. Through its media network of premium content sites, its extended advertising network of third-party sites and its targeted lead generation services, Consorte provides companies with multiple ways to connect with Hispanic consumers online. Consorte applies its Spanish-language media expertise and deep knowledge of the Hispanic consumer market to generate high-quality results for its customers

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