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Hispanic Marketing

HispanicsIn today’s world the importance of marketing to Hispanics can not be overstated. However I recall earlier in my career in the 70s when I questioned whether a Hispanic marketing effort was worth the effort for my clients. Obviously I didn’t have the understanding of demographics that I do now. Furthermore, this was an era of big TV campaigns reaching the masses, not segmentation.

My reluctance was not based on bias but rather questioning whether a “small” (at that time) largely splintered geographically dispersed group warranted the extra attention. Foolish me. The growth of the Hispanic population has been staggering. In 1970 there were roughly 9 Million Americans of Hispanic origin, according to U.S. Census data, compared to 52 Million in 2011, an increase greater than 5 times! On a percentage U.S. basis this also was dramatic  4.5% in 1970 vs. 16.7% in 2011.

Politicians may have been late to fully appreciate (or took for granted) the voting power of such a large group, yet on the other hand it doesn’t take a marketing whiz to understand that 16%+ of the U.S. is an influential group, and a highly important one to most marketers.

The spending power of the Hispanic market is also overwhelming. According to a Yahoo/Mindshare report on Marketing to Hispanics, the spending power of Hispanics will be $1.5Trillion in 2015, 50% growth from just 2010. This report, highlighted in the May 13, 2013 ADWEEK, interestingly portrays the differences between 1st generation Hispanics (40% of population) and 2nd/3rd generation which is 60% of the population. As one might expect 1st generation Hispanics are far more ethnically brand centered in that 65% say they are more likely to try a brand if it goes out of its way to “target my ethnicity”. However, only 28% of 2nd/3rd generation feel the same. But regardless of which generation, it is critical to avoid stereotypes when it comes to advertising. That’s a turnoff regardless.

Certainly in retrospect my reluctance to specifically target the Hispanic demographic back in the 70s was dumb. Regardless of my marketing ignorance at that time, the world has changed and so has marketing in the past 40 years. The days of TV dominated marketing with “messages to the masses” worked then but was a strategy of yesteryear. Segmentation is hardly a new concept, but it is never more relevant than in today’s fragmented media and marketing universe.




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