Amir Hemmat: “The U.S. Mexican Market, An Often-Missed Opportunity”

As Hispanic marketers, our goals and best hope is to reach motivated consumers and we focus a great deal of energy and effort looking for that "sweet spot" Hispanic consumer, whom we believe is the ideal buyer for our product or service.

According to 2007 U.S. Census estimates there were an estimated 28.1million Latinos, of Mexican origin, in the United States. That number represents 64% of the total Latino population in the U.S. and thus the largest Hispanic consumer group today and in the future.

While many Latinos of Mexican origin have been in the U.S. for generations, this article is focused on the first generation Mexican consumer.

In 2001 there was a big push and lots of publicity, around the Mexican Matricula card and a flood of Hispanic marketers rushed out to market their product, which benefited from a population eager to participate in the U.S. financial mainstream and to start creating a better financial path for themselves and their families.

Popular myth will have marketers believe that someone from Mexico immediately goes to the Mexican Consulate to obtain a Mexican Matricula card upon arrival. In reality, a Matricula seeker has been in the country an average of 3.5 – 5 years and consequently, when this consumer returns to the Consulate to renew his or her Matricula they have been in the United States an average of 10 years.

Additionally, in 2008, half of the Mexican Consulates in the U.S. issued more passports than Matricula cards¹. This trend points to a permanent resident population, with the resources to travel abroad and with settled and established lives in the U.S.

Because of what I call the "recent arrival myth", many marketers miss and opportunity with this segment of the Hispanic market .These consumers are extremely motivated and have made a conscious decision to stay in the U.S. long term. As a result of this motivated mindset, they are actively seeking resources and information to further establish themselves and their families in the U.S. At this stage, they are a great target for marketers who are interested in building trust and developing generational loyalty!

SABEResPODER focus groups participants consistently demonstrate the following:

1. They prefer brands and products endorsed by someone they trust.

2. They like to receive information in a variety of different ways (Print, video, on-line and at events).

3. They are interested in knowing how a product or service application will improve their lives here and/or the lives of relatives in Mexico.

4. They have a tendency to be more responsive to brands that wrap product messages in an educational context.

5. If they find out something of value, they want to share it with family and friends.

I always say that the best consumer is a motivated consumer, and I have yet to find a more eager audience than this community to engage long term with brands they have come to trust.

I am looking forward with excitement to the Census 2010 for updated numbers, but I already know the value of this consumer, their economic power and how to reach out to them. My advice to my fellow marketers "don’t put off till tomorrow, what you can do today."

¹ Source: IME – Institute for Mexicans Abroad

Amir Hemmat is Co-Founder of SABEResPODER™ (SEP) and currently serves as its President and CEO. Throughout his professional career, Amir has focused on being a social entrepreneur—especially in the areas of healthcare and the environment, and issues facing the Latino community. Amir can be reached at 310-826-3900 or via email ahemmat@saberespoder.com


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