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Elena Marroquin Finds Unique Insights for P&G

Sep 19, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Elena Marroquin was drawn to the advertising business at a young age.
Ms. Marroquin, who was promoted earlier this month to senior VP of Tapestry, a division of Starcom MediaVest Group’s multicultural unit, remembers wanting to design logos and doing a sixth-grade project for which she copied corporate logos, such as Kmart’s. Even then, “I was a marketer,” she said.
After entering the marketing business, Ms. Marroquin, the child of Cuban immigrants who grew up in Miami, worked with clients at Leo Burnett and Starcom in both the general market and the Hispanic market, switching between the two. But eventually she had to make a decision about where she wanted to invest her time. She opted for the multicultural world.
She said she has a passion for this branch of the marketing world and it still feels right. “There’s a lack of talent in this space,” she added, “and I feel privileged that I can contribute in there.”
Not enough minority students coming out of college are looking at careers in advertising, she said. “They know their opportunities are wonderful and they’re going into other, higher-paying careers.”
Ms. Marroquin said she’s been thrilled with the work she’s been doing for the past few years, leading Hispanic strategy for marketing giant Procter & Gamble.
Tapestry got the account when P&G sought agencies to handle its communications planning business, which is a broader, more strategic approach to connecting with the consumer than media planning.
Ms. Marroquin said one reason P&G is a fulfilling account for her to work on is that P&G makes multicultural marketing a priority and invests in it.
That investment includes paying for research about when Hispanic and African American consumers are open to messages.
“Few clients actually pay for that. They’re paying a lot of money to figure out how good the creative is, but very few actually pay for the media receptivity part of it,” she said.
That research gave Tapestry unique insights that it could use to guide campaigns. For example, it learned that while multicultural consumers are getting involved in digital media, traditional media still plays a very important role, particularly in-language television.
The agency also uncovered some unique ways to connect with Hispanic women for P&G’s feminine care products, such as Always.
“We knew we needed to talk to her in intimate environments,” Ms. Marroquin said. “Those insights led to a very different place than where the general market was at. We were putting [ads on] bathroom boards in restaurants and in salons, while the general market was doing a lot more mall experiences,” she said.
The result was that the brand is at its highest share levels among U.S. Hispanic women, and in the markets where the out-of-home ads appeared, sales showed “significant growth,” she said.
Ms. Marroquin grew up in Miami and was an advertising major at the University of Miami. For her, the doors to the advertising business were opened with an internship that was part of the American Association of Advertising Agencies’ minority advertising internship program.
Her internship was in the media department of Leo Burnett in Chicago. There she worked for the same person she works for now: Monica Gadsby, CEO of SMG Multicultural.
Ms. Marroquin now is based in Miami, which is more convenient for overseeing the agency’s P&G business in Puerto Rico.
She lives with her husband, who works for a South Florida online music company called Batanga, and their two sons, ages 7 and 5.
“I live for my weekends with the kids,” she said. Moving from Chicago, they can also make better use of the Miami Hurricane football season tickets she’s had all these years.
She also says she has hidden art talent that she hopes one day to use on something other than school projects.
Who Knew: As a teenager, Ms. Marroquin was the host of “Animals You Love to Hate” at the Miami Museum of Science. She showed off a cockroach, a tarantula, a skunk and a snake.
“Talk about presentation skills development,” she said.
Ms. Marroquin said she didn’t take the animals home from the museum, and though she loved the job, downplayed her involvement when she found it didn’t help her with dating.
She said she has no exotic pets now, but “if the kids push hard enough, I’ll let them.”

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