GM's Sonia Green is aggressive in marketing to Hispanics.
Green directs General Motors' diversity marketing and Hispanic sales. "You need to be a pit bull," the native of Puerto Rico says of her job.
Since she joined GM in 2001, Green has persuaded the company to be more aggressive in its Hispanic marketing and to increase media spending dramatically. She convinced GM's vehicle brands of the merits of integrated national advertising and marketing initiatives, rather than the spotty, market-by-market approach of the past.
She cut the number of GM's Hispanic ad agencies from more than eight to one: Accentmarketing Inc. of Miami.
Hispanic buyers accounted for 4.5 percent of GM sales in the 2003 model year, up from 3.6 percent in 2002, according to the Strategic Vision consulting company in Tustin, Calif. A comparable 2004 figure was not available.
Green is urging GM regional field offices to take part in Chevrolet's sponsorship of an annual music awards show on Telemundo, a Spanish-language TV network. The show, which will be broadcast this fall, gives awards based on viewers' votes.
The partnership started two years ago as a media buy. But Green persuaded Chevrolet and its dealers to take a more grass-roots approach. Last year dealers set up ballot boxes, and award nominees appeared in Chevrolet showrooms.
Brent Dewar, GM's vice president of North American marketing and advertising, says Green "brings enthusiasm and passion to our diversity marketing efforts. Her consumer insights have elevated GM's approach to both the diversity and general markets."
Green says her biggest marketing challenge is gaining deeper understanding of various Hispanic population groups. "How do we best reach bilinguals and English-dominants as a corporation?" she asks.
Green gives her age as "45-plus." She came to GM from Ingram Micro, a technology products company, where she was general manager. Green spent most of her career at Avon Products Inc., heading its U.S. marketing units.
This month, Green is moving to Florida to head a statewide pilot project aimed at boosting GM vehicle sales to Latino buyers. "This pilot has enormous potential," she says.
The orchid she brought to Detroit will return with her family to Florida.