The Hispanic Market: A Paradigm of Corporate America

As part of my career, I meet with decision makers on a regular basis. Whether they work for different industries or not, the pattern I have seen in some of them is the lack of understanding on how impactful the Hispanic market could be for their businesses.

Some executives still think that the Hispanic market is homogeneous; that it is just people that speak Spanish or Mexicans. Others feel that since they haven’t done any outreach in the past and they currently have some low market penetration, it is not necessary to invest in this target audience. However, each of these executives are still struggling on how to increase sales and stay ahead of their competition.

The answer is right in front of them. We live in a country that is constantly evolving. Minority groups are growing fast. And as a result, Hispanics are no longer a sub-segment of the economy. They are emerging as a powerhouse of economic influence. So, whether executives embrace it or not, this segment will definitely affect their company’s bottom line—now and well into the future.

The success of any business will depend on how open-minded executives are in reacting to market challenges and trends, finding new opportunities, and embracing new audiences. But most important of all, they need to have a strong understanding of who they truly are as a company and as a brand.

Some businesses in America are run with the same business model they have used for decades. Their lack of willingness to evolve and embrace new cultures is what seals their destiny.  The combination of innovation, creativity, and adaptable leadership is what made companies like Apple and Starbucks become who they are. Just think for a second: If you multiply your profit margins by the amount of Hispanic customers living within a 5 mile radius from your stores, how much money are you leaving on the table?

Corporate America knows that Hispanics are the 2nd largest consumer market in the USA. They are also aware that Hispanic-owned businesses are growing at over twice the rate of national average (over $350 billion in revenue annually). However, some of them are still not proactive enough to engage with this influential demographic that will represent one in five Americans by 2020.

So, how can your company be proactive and play a leadership role in the Hispanic community? Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

1) One size doesn’t fit all: 

Most firms continue to approach the Hispanic market as either an outreach of general market business practice or an extension of a brand or business unit-specific strategies. Worse still, they continue to allow their Anglo agency to translate their Anglo campaigns into Spanish. Instead, you need to make a genuine effort and develop culturally relevant messages that truly relate to the Hispanic audience.  Prove that you understand their needs and they will become your brand evangelist. A great example of this is the Toyota campaign “Somos Muchos” the purpose was to link Latinos’ pride in their heritage with pride in being a Toyota owner. http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid78974503001?bctid=680241403001

2) Complexity is unique:

The Hispanic market is complex.  But, it is no more complex than understanding and developing a strategy for the other 260 million people in the U.S. that live in different regions, have different cultural influences, and even have different dialects and accents. We manage to target them just fine. The good news is the Hispanic market is no different. It is unique. Besides their language of preference and acculturation levels, what they have in common and what bonds them together as a strong group is that they share one language—Spanish. Plus, they all want the American dream—to work hard, raise a family, and fulfill their dreams in this land of opportunity. So, it is important that your marketing efforts appeal to their cultural nuances if you really want to gain them as clients. Be a part of their community. Get to know them first so you can gain their trust. For example, JC Penney’s campaign “Pulse” did a great job showing US Latinas embracing a South America national sport as “soccer.” In Latin America, soccer is viewed as a sport played by males compared to the USA where females play and compete in this sport as well. The idea was to embrace millennial Latinas through soccer and appeal to the passion that Hispanics have for this sport. http://youtu.be/ShdFIfORu5s

3) Make the right investment:

We all know that in order to grow your business you also have to expand to new markets. Do you know that Hispanic consumer spending is expected to reach $1.7 trillion by 2020?  Think about that statistic for a second: How much business growth does that mean you are leaving on the table? Hispanics are a long-term investment that will truly pay off with greater ROI. The first step is to be committed. Set up a reasonable budget and a Hispanic marketing plan. Stick to it and grow it from there.

The future of your company is in your hands. Invest in research and analyze what your competition and industry are doing. Engage with the right partner that can guide you and introduce your brand to the Hispanic community. Also, have the right resources to respond to this demand. At the end of the day, people will remember how you presented your brand and the impact you produced in their community. Sales will increase and they will be knocking on your door—with a very large community family in tow—in the blink of an eye.

 

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