When I think about some of the challenges or some of the barriers that my clients faced before they started marketing to Hispanics they basically boil down to about eight:
- Perceiving the market as a mystery. Most people get stuck by the fact that Hispanics speak a different language. They are really just like any other consumer group and besides if you really look at the numbers over three-quarters of Hispanics are U.S. born or they grew up in the U.S. and close to 80% speak English. As with any consumer, it is not about the language usually. It is really about understanding the culture as it relates to your products or services.
- They perceive that the market is complex. I think we can all agree that every market seems complex if you don’t know anything about it so take steps first to identify your most profitable Hispanic market segments and include Hispanics in your market research. You will see the complexity disappear immediately.
- Perceiving the Hispanic market as expensive. Most people are feeling very taxed with current budgets but actually many Hispanics, when you think about it, many Hispanics already end up being exposed to your marketing investment. The problem is that your investment may not resonate as strongly as it could so in fact done right allocating budgets to make your marketing to Hispanics more effective actually makes your dollars work harder. In many cases, I would say in most cases, it is really more about reallocating dollars or improving your message and service delivery versus spending more on the marketing itself.
- Resistance to change. Here it is really quite simple. You need to get over it. You must change with the marketplace or you will die. Related to that is number five.
- The ostrich syndrome, which is very related to resistance to change right? Out of sight, out of mind and pretty soon out of business.
- Oftentimes what is stumping some of my clients is their political and their social views, sort of what they believe is right, whether they believe it makes sense for the market to be here, the whole dynamic of immigration. But to them I say, “You can always stand on principle or you can grow the business which is by the way what you are getting paid to do. So it is business. This is not about how you feel personally about the changes in the marketplace.
- There is a sense that it is somebody else’s job. I would say that it is not somebody else’s job; it is in fact your job. It is not only dangerous but it is a disservice to any investment into your company to defer Hispanic marketing to the summer intern or to turn it over to somebody junior in your company, or worse to defer it to your ad agency. I always ask my clients would you do that with any other market that represents a growth potential? Typically the answer is no so it should be no here as well.
- Oftentimes Hispanic marketing is seen as a below the line expense which as we all know is sort of that play fund right? If we don’t look at the market as an expense that is above the line as an expense that is PNL driven, we are really not approaching the marketplace strategically. So if you are just spending against this market to check the box you are throwing money away. It must be an above the line expense in order to get the organization to follow through and for you to be effective and for this market to contribute to the direction the company has set for growth.