Should Mexican Firms Market More to Hispanics?
With 63% of Hispanics being from Mexican origin and two thirds of them born in Mexico, there is a strong rationale for large Mexican corporations (e.g. Cemex, Femsa, Grupo Modelo, America Movil, Novamex, AeroMexico etc...) to market to Mexicans in the U.S. Most of these companies already have considerable brand equity among Mexican Americans, so it should be relatively easy for these companies to get their fellow countrymen “north of the border” to spend money buying their products and services.
Are Mexican companies doing a good job marketing their products and services to Mexican Americans? “Unfortunately not”, says Halim Trujillo, Chief Strategist & Principal at Chicago based Creacion Marketing. Before founding his own firm, Trujillo planned and bought media at Mindshare Multicultural for clients including Kimberley Clark and Sprint. Trujillo adds that “one of their biggest mistakes in addition to who they partner with for marketing duties is their lack of knowledge regarding the business practices in the U.S., media availability, pricing of media, and consumer insights regarding partially to highly acculturated Hispanics.”
Big Marketing Issues:
In Trujillo's opinion the majority of large companies in Mexico happen to be global or multinational companies that rely on their U.S. subsidiaries to market their products to Hispanic consumers here. “Regarding purely Mexican companies (regardless of their size, privately owned or amily owned) they actually have big issues in marketing to Hispanics in the U.S. as it takes a long time and hard efforts for them to solve the puzzle that the U.S. Hispanic market represents. Most of these companies rely on small local marketing shops that have poor understanding of the market as a whole (national) and that tend to focus only on a particular DMA based on where they are headquartered.
Additionally, Mexican companies think that Hispanics are only concentrated in traditionally Hispanic DMAs such as Los Angeles, Houston, San Antonio or Miami, without any understanding of variables such as acculturation or language preference.”
There may be good reasons for the relatively low interest of Mexican companies in marketing and advertising to Hispanics. Teresa Cabrero, Advertising Sales Director at Diario de Mexico New York (daily Monday to Friday edition, circ. 10,000 ABC audit) says that many Mexican brands already have the market captive and do not have much of a need to advertise.
According to Cabrero, homebuilding is one of the few categories that have been active. One example is Mexican homebuilder Grupo Ara, which advertises financing solutions to Mexicans in the U.S. in order to have them buy a house in Mexico. According to Cabrero up to 90% of Mexicans in the New York area are not documented. The most important advertising categories for them are legal and telecommunications. These are sectors where Mexican companies in the U.S. are not particularly strong.
Fear of reprisals from Non Mexican Consumers?
Eva A. May, Managing Director, Español Marketing & Communications, Inc., Cary, NC tells Portada that “while some Mexican companies hesitate to promote their Mexican heritage, fearing reprisals from non-Mexican consumers, we have found that brands with strong Mexican heritage, including such brands as Jarritos, Mundet and Corona, can have the opportunity to generate strong consumer preference and long-term loyalty by proudly exploiting their Mexican heritage. We have seen non-Mexican consumers from Latin America react positively to this strategic approach as long as the campaigns are not disparaging to other countries or consumers, since they typically know that these brands come from Mexico. And since over two thirds of the Hispanic market is made up of consumers of Mexican origin, for whom an “authentic Mexican brand” positioning is likely to have very positive results, this positioning can give the brands a natural edge in the Hispanic marketplace.
Español Marketing & Communications organizes advertising campaigns for Novamex, the importer of Mexican food and soft drinks including Jarritos, Sangría Señorial, Mundet, and Mineragua; (media buying is done by SMG-MV42).
Strong Categories: Food...
According to May, while these brands are very well-known to many first generation Mexicans, Novamex believes that they can establish long-term loyalty by “giving back” to Mexican-American communities. “For that reason, we search out community organizations and churches throughout the eastern half of the country who are doing fundraiser events, and offer them soft drinks as donations that they can sell to raise funds. We also offer the product as free refreshments to organizations celebrating Mexican culture, holidays, music, or just providing family fun.”
Additionally, in nine key US markets, Novamex organizes, promotes, and implements Copa Jarritos, a family- oriented SoccerFest, complete with inflatable soccer games, soccer celebrities from Mexico, and a youth soccer tournament. “Once again, this is a gesture by the company to “give back” to its faithful consumers”, May notes.
Novamex advertises Jarritos, one of the most popular Mexican sodas, in Abasto Magazine. Francisco Camara Riess, editor of Abasto Magazine, points out that 100% percent of the food ads carried by his magazine have something Mexican. El Mexicano, a Mexican food brand owned by California-based Marquez Brothers, is also an Abasto advertiser. Abasto, circ. 40,000, is an English-language magazine published for the Hispanic food entrepreneur. Riess notes that Abasto reaches 42,000 Hispanic businesses — most of them run by Mexicans— and offer that reach to Mexican brands and their agencies.
...and media properties themselves:
Due to the cultural affinity and brand equity among Mexican Americans, media companies have a large following in the U.S. Hispanic market. Whole TV formats such as telenovelas have been blockbuster successes.
Many have not required adaptation although this has changed during the last years. Sports content is also very successful. Miguel Ramirez, Digital Advertising Director at Mexico's Grupo Editorial Expansion (GEE) notes that Mediotiempo.com does not provide different content for Mexicans living in the U.S. “They prefer pure Mexican content. It is an important tool to maintain a strong bond with their country of origin”. Ramirez adds that Mediotiempo attracts more than 400,000 unique users a month in the U.S. despite the fact that it has done very little consumer advertising.
Entertainment-Gossip site Quien.com, also published by GEE, U.S. Hispanic audience has also increased substantially lately. Grupo Editorial Expansion's sales team in Mexico City helps promote GEE's Hispanic reach to Mexican companies.
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