Inroads have been made in terms of regional Mexican shows and artists getting big-ticket sponsors. But artists and brands still have a lot to learn about correctly matching fans of the genre with sponsors, according to panelists at the Billboard Regional Mexican Music Summit.

Representatives from the Conill LA agency, Marquez Brothers Entertainment, Fire Advertainment and US Marketing demonstrated their biggest achievements in aligning acts in the genre with brands. They ranged from launching norteño group Los Felinos de la Noche via a national State Farm campaign to one-off performances at Major League Baseball games to placing Toyota Tundra trucks and spots on the big screen at concerts promoted by Frias Entertainment.

"The forward-thinking brands realize that [with] the recent émigré...if you don't establish that relationship early, you won't get them," said US Marketing president Jim Bilello, whose company has brought Chase Bank to several shows.

But proper metrics and a differentiated pitch are key to getting brands and their agencies to place their products behind shows. And so far, such partnerships have mostly been limited to local or regional events, not major media campaigns featuring artists.

Also, "A lot of the acts don't use their celebrity enough, like Michael Jordan, to get into areas outside the music business," noted Alan Baxter, CEO and president of FAR Music, DBGIC Management and Sports and Entertainment Management. "It's very important, because an artist's career may be short and there are other opportunities out there."

Baxter made his comments on the "Getting Your Money's Worth" panel. Pepe Serrano, president of Latin Power Music, has allied with boot brand Cuadra in putting his artists' posters and videos in stores and having the boot displays at those artists' shows.

The shoemaker also pays for product placement in Latin Power Music's videos. "We are looking for new ideas and taking advantage of every space," said Serrano.

The Billboard Regional Mexican Music Summit runs Oct. 6-8 at the Wilshire Grand Hotel.