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One woman’s quest to serve the Hispanic community by transforming its media model

Martha De La Torre, founder and CEO of El Clasificado, a weekly Spanish-language publication, is the kind of person who embodies ICIC’s enthusiasm for entrepreneurship. Recently named one of the Los Angeles Business Journal’s Women of Influence, her success has stemmed from dedication to her business model, her employees, and her community. Her expertise in marketing to the Spanish-speaking population has given clients access to revenue sources they didn’t know how to utilize, and events hosted by the company are in high demand by attendees and advertisers alike. Always an innovator, Martha’s plans for 2017 include growth despite declining print sales by successfully growing digital media sales, and finding dynamic ways to serve their clients.

Martha addresses the crowd at the 2016 Inner City 100 Awards and Conference

Martha was honored with the Marcia Lamb Inner City Innovation Award at the 2016 Inner City 100 Conference, after being on the Inner City 100 list seven times. Recognized for her visionary leadership capabilities in urban economic development, she was also on a panel of speakers moderated by Loren Feldman of the New York Times (now at Forbes) in 2013, providing a unique perspective on the role that El Clasificado plays in the communities it serves and from which it grew its staff: “When times were hard and we almost gave up on El Clasificado, it was the employees from East LA that inspired us to keep the doors open. They were so happy to have a job and we couldn’t let them down.” Her employees hold a special place in her leadership style. In her Women of Influence profile she notes that she knows she’s done her job well when an employee expresses gratitude for their position. With advertising being a large portion of the company’s revenue, having someone like Martha at the helm provides the motivation employees need to allow themselves and the company to succeed.

El Clasificado has over 1.5 million readers with a weekly circulation of 510,000 distributed in over 300 cities throughout Southern California and the Central Valley. After initial hesitance from advertisers, Martha decided to change the paper’s distribution method from direct mail circulation to an award-winning bulk drop system in areas with high Hispanic traffic. The resulting growth transformed El Clasificado into EC Hispanic Media, a media company allowing advertisers to reach Spanish and bilingual English/Spanish communities through print, mobile, event, and online advertising, which, through elclasificado.com, is the company’s fastest growing platform. According to SimilarWeb, the classified marketplace has consistently maintained its position as a top five classifieds marketplace in the United States.

EC Hispanic Media has an understanding of the American Latino community that many advertisers don’t share, and, as she writes in this Huffington Post piece, can provide advertising that speaks to the values and cultures that American Latinos celebrate rather than merely translate current campaigns into English. Focusing on the American Latino community with a combined purchasing power that exceeds $1.3 trillion, Martha de la Torre has created a media company that can help bridge the gap between advertisers and these new customers.

Martha serves as an example for other inner city entrepreneurs. By being flexible, standing by her vision, and creating change when it was necessary, she exemplifies the values and business-savvy approach that her customers (readers and advertisers alike) look for. For companies looking to expand into untapped markets, people like Martha de la Torre are blazing the path that can help them achieve their full potential.

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