Name: Melissa Kopecko Meyer
Job Title: Hispanic Advertising Manager; Hispanic Marketing Manager; Bilingual Marketing Manager; Bilingual Advertising Manager
Where: Seattle, WA - USA
Employer: WaMu (Washington Mutual) & JPMorgan Chase
Years of Experience: 5
Other Relevant Experience: Six Sigma Green Belt training and an internship at the Spanish Council for Demographic Research in Madrid, Spain
Education: University of Phoenix MBA - Global Management, Summa Cum Laude; University of Wisconsin Madison - Bachelor of Science Spanish/Sociology/Business, Summa Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa; Universidad Complutense de Madrid - Various coursework completed all in Spanish, also worked at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas in Madrid
Annual Salary: Median Marketing Manager Salaries range from $40,000 to $76,000. Use PayScale’s Research Center to compare Marketing Manager Salaries by City.
Whether you’re planning to work abroad or keeping your career stateside, there are countless career opportunities for bilingual job candidates. With the rising development of a world economy, bilingual fluency opens the door to greater career possibilities within various industries. And, as the Spanish-speaking population in the U.S. continues to grow, there is an increasing demand for employees who are bilingual.
In this Salary Story, Melissa Kopecko Meyer describes her career path as a Hispanic marketing manager. When asked how she got started as a bilingual marketing manager, Melissa says she simply followed her strengths and interests. If you’ve ever asked, “What job can I get with a Spanish degree?” here’s just one example of the many Spanish-speaking jobs awaiting you, along with some sound advice from a career insider.
Job Description of a Hispanic Marketing Manager:
Melissa: As a bilingual advertising and Hispanic marketing manager, I support development, execution and measurement of national Spanish advertising campaigns, overseeing a $15MM+ annual production and media budget.
I act as the primary contact for the Hispanic advertising agency and am responsible for building the corporate brand and driving profitable growth through fully integrated communications platforms that include TV, Radio, Print, Out-of-Home. I also interact with the agency to determine optimal creative rotations and evaluate media plans and opportunities. Additionally, I serve as a liaison with other customer-facing communications teams within the company to ensure messaging and creative alignment across all consumer touch-points (PR, Retail, Brand, E-commerce, etc.).
Some of my key duties include: routing creative executions through internal legal, compliance, trademark and product team approvals; providing strategy recommendations for in-store Spanish materials and manage agency through translation of Spanish merchandising components; executing national Spanish advertising strategy and act as a lead contact with our agency partners; partnering with the internal research team to gather and analyze appropriate research to provide sound, strategic consumer-insights; overseeing of each phase of advertising development and execution to ensure on-time delivery; lead or participate in cross-functional teams to develop fully integrated communications campaigns; budget oversight – forecast, track estimates to forecasts, approve invoices and reconcile spend to forecast.
PayScale: How did you become interested in Hispanic marketing?
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Melissa: Although it sounds cliché, I landed in this career by simply following my interests and pursuing my strengths. Ever since a young age, I’ve had a creative flair and ability to manage projects well, yet I was also interested in various cultures and the Spanish language. In high school and college I traveled to Mexico and Cuba and lived in Spain, but didn’t know “what I wanted to be.” I just knew that people were fascinating, Spanish was fun, and business classes would probably be useful!
I've always been a creative person yet didn't fully explore that side academically. After college, my interest in business and my passion for various cultures led me to ethnic marketing, from which point I let the creative juices flow and landed in Hispanic marketing! Beyond ethnic marketing, marketing management in general allows me to stimulate my creativity while utilizing program management skills.
PayScale: What do you love about being a Hispanic marketing manager?
Melissa: I love the intensity, dynamics and sense of accomplishment during a new campaign launch. From initial creative concepts, through consumer testing, production and final launch, I enjoy supporting each step of advertising and marketing campaigns.
For the past two multi-million dollar campaign launches, I have traveled to Latin America to produce television spots. I distinctly remember the shoot location last year in Buenos Aires at a soccer store that we converted into a bank. There was a helicopter flying overhead and fake protesters chaining themselves to the store. Watching the production and providing creative feedback is so exciting, especially communicating with the local directors and talent in Spanish. One of my most amusing memories was of the woman who came to buy soccer shoes. She was so confused, yet fascinated by the helicopter and a bank that "just came out of nowhere." Her face was priceless.
This year the campaign production in Mexico went so well that we had extra time to explore local activities and great restaurants while still doing our jobs. I remember translating in a fine silver store for my boss, haggling so she could get a good deal on a silver necklace. I just thought to myself – this is great – this is what I’m being paid to do! Go to foreign countries, speak Spanish, explore the local culture and provide creative feedback to produce campaigns that will air across the United States. There are long hours associated with productions but they’re definitely worth it.
PayScale: What are the biggest challenges you face in Hispanic marketing?
Melissa: One of the greatest challenges in Hispanic advertising and ethnic marketing in general is demonstrating the value of the segment to influential leaders and co-workers. Ethnic segments are often an afterthought, so individuals entering this field need to be aware of this constant challenge and be prepared to continuously demonstrate the value of the segment they support. It takes time for management to adopt an understanding of the Hispanic consumer’s purchasing power and how it relates to their business model, ultimately driving ROI. Even from a creative standpoint, explaining to non-Spanish speakers why something “just works” in Spanish but doesn’t work well in English can be challenging because there are many language and cultural nuances.
Another challenge is more process orientated and requires the ability to execute projects in substantially expedited timelines. If the ethnic marketing strategy aligns with the overall general market strategy, the ethnic marketing campaign launch is therefore contingent on development and execution of general market concepts. Yet the business often wants to launch integrated campaigns simultaneously. So as the ethnic marketing manager, you will need to move quickly and expedite project timelines to deliver integrated campaigns on time and within budget.
PayScale: What advice would you have for someone interested in becoming a bilingual marketing manager?
Melissa: If you’re trying to break into this field, the first thing to do is just start somewhere - get rid of your inertia and potential excuses. Take classes, network by joining marketing associations and talk to people everywhere, letting them know your area of interest. Pursue informational interviews and maintain relationships with these people as you progress through your career, even if you aren’t immediately landing your “dream job.”
Having a vision of where you want to be and what you want to do will also subconsciously drive decisions that can ultimately lead to your desired career. For example, if you are passionate about the Hispanic culture and marketing, join local cultural exchange groups, look into ethnic marketing councils, join the local American Marketing Association chapter, and search the internet for blogs or local activities that align with your vision.
Lastly, there is certainly something to be said for taking jobs that will act as building blocks to lead you towards the desired career. After all, most people have humble beginnings and need to work for what they achieve.
PayScale: What is one of your most amazing experiences as a Hispanic marketing manager?
Melissa: One of the most amazing things I’ve experienced as a bilingual Hispanic marketing manager is completing a two month assignment in Barcelona, Spain. The company put me in a corporate apartment in the heart of downtown Barcelona, gave me a great per diem stipend and allowed me the freedom to experience the city. My responsibility in Barcelona was to support the launch of an international trade show, but I had sufficient free time to attend midnight concerts at art museums, weekends on the beach and great gastric delights!
Another one of the craziest and most amazing experiences was to attend the Latin Grammy awards in New York City and several Latin Grammy community festivals that led up to the awards ceremony. I met several famous Latin musicians, attended the Latin Grammy after-party and even walked the “green” carpet (Heineken is a sponsor) in the VIP section right past Ricky Martin!