Texas: Acculturated Hispanics, Mexicans or Texicans?
(From our Q2 2012 Print Issue)
Texans are in a constant state of flux. They have also profited from a strong economy. Texas has been one of the few bright spots in a generally weak U.S. economy. A recent report of the Milken Institute reflects the dominance of Texas cities.
San Antonio heads up the Milken Institute’s 2011 Best Performing Cities Index, but is just one of four Texas cities in the top five (with El Paso, Austin and Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood) and nine of the 25 best in the country (Houston, Mc Allen, Dallas, Fort Worth, Lubbock). Texas grades out well in job creation, according to the report, which found that Texas employers were responsible for one of every five U.S. jobs created from June 2010 to June 2011. For one thing, many Texas metro areas are benefiting from the military’s Base Realignment and Consolidation (BRAC) process, which has brought more families near the state’s armed forces facilities, from San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base to Killeen’s Fort Hood. These families need housing, health care and other services. Texas is also seeing a surge in IT equipment and software employment. Relatively cheap qualified workers as well as the absence of a state income tax are other factors the report cites explaining Texas success.
And what role do Hispanics play in all this? Like in the rest of the U.S., the robust population growth over the past decade was driven by Hispanics accounting for over 65% of the state’s increase since 2000. Today, Hispanics make up nearly 38% of the total population in Texas.”Houston has the 3rd largest Hispanic population in the nation. That’s significant. Dallas is number 6, followed by San Antonio (9th) and McAllen (10th) ,” says Loida Ruiz, Sales Manager at The Houston Chronicle. With the size of Texas’s population also comes a substantial buying power. The Lone Star State ranks as the 3rd largest in the nation with a Hispanic buying power of $38 billion. (Source: U.S. Diversity Markets Report 2010). In fact, “the non-Hispanic white population is now less than half making Texas a minority-majority state. This was led in part to Hispanic population growth but also sizeable increases within the Black and Asian communities as well. Texas media targeting Hispanics is relatively affordable for the scale of population reached. Media offerings appealing to the burgeoning Hispanic segment in Texas have flourished over the last 10 years, connecting with a population that now has considerable influence in development, commerce and culture,” says Kim Chance, Director of Media Planning Services at San Antonio based Bromley Communications.
More Acculturated and Wealthier
The composition of Texas’ Hispanic population is changing. In general terms, it is turning more acculturated and wealthier. While border towns like Brownsville and Laredo saw sharp increases due to immigration, the Texas-born Latinos across the state propelled the growth. In addition, the higher income Mexican immigration is substantially increasing overall Hispanic purchasing power. “With the problems in Mexico we have had a great influx of Mexican Nationals moving to Houston to escape the violence. This has brought a whole new market of more educated and higher income Hispanics that are moving to the Houston suburbs. Something similar is happening in San Antonio,” says The Houston Chronicle’s Loida Ruiz. Myrna Cortez, New Product Development Director at the San Antonio Express News agrees:” We are sensitive to trends which show us that we have a growing number of incoming Mexican Nationals. These are families who either have moved to San Antonio or own additional homes here, and this is due to both a need for personal security and the promise of entrepreneurial success. It’s possible that our first-generation market may grow substantially in the coming years.”
Major national advertisers make it a priority to reach Texas’s Hispanic population. National brands like MillerCoors, General Mills, and Western Union seek Bromley’s Hispanic media expertise to help them navigate through the diverse and complex marketplaces within the state, says Bromley’s Chance. According to the agency executive, many General Mills brands look to Houston, Dallas and San Antonio as important markets based on their affordability, Hispanic population size, and strong retailer relationships. Local grassroots media, including radio and newspapers, plays a very important role. According to Katia Camargo, president of a Houston based national advertising representation firm, “Hispanic newspapers continue to be a very important channel to communicate to our Hispanic readers. I think that our National Advertisers need to include Hispanics markets in their advertising campaigns, this is not a ‘might’ nowadays, it’s a ‘must’.
Newport Beach, CA, based door hanger marketing company Power Direct, has managed many campaigns using bilingual door hangers in high density Hispanic neighborhoods in Texas for brands including Family Dollar Stores, Kleenex, Nestle, Energizer Batteries and HEB Stores.
While major TV and radio networks including Univision, Telemundo and Lotus Entravision Reps have the ability to both target at the regional and local station level, many other media properties, particularly print media, have a very local focus.
The Rumbo newspaper network launched in 2003, which published Spanish-language newspapers in San Antonio, Austin, Houston and The Valley has been the only attempt to cover Texas with a regional newspaper network. The only surviving Rumbo newspaper is now published by Impremedia as a weekly newspaper in Houston. Buena Suerte, a Spanish-language classified newspaper, its content is 100% advertising, which serves the Greater Houston Area, Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas is expanding to El Paso in April. Only in Houston, the newspaper has a weekly circulation of 101,000 which are published in 10 different editions for the Houston market and distributed in over 3.500 distribution points.
While the Hispanic population is pervasive across the state, three fourths of Texas Hispanic adults can be found in the top 5 DMAs of Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Rio Grande Valley and El Paso. It is important to note that every DMA is unique and requires a close examination by marketers seeking to reach the Hispanic segment.
“A major mistake is assuming that all Texas markets are the same. Great diversity prevails from the second largest state in land mass and population. Not only diverse in geography, but also in income, religion, politics, lifestyles, country of origins and language. You’ll find the Hispanic population is largely made up of Texans of Mexican heritage due in part to its close proximity to Mexico, “ Bromley’s Kim Chance adds.
A Look at the Major Texan Hispanic Markets
AUSTIN: THE STATE CAPITAL
The state capital does have a sizable Hispanic audience and major companies have taken notice for a long time and continue to adapt to the evolving Hispanic demographic. Retailer H. E. Butt Grocery Co. (H.E.B) is spending $100 million, it’s largest-ever Austin investment for the grocery chain, to expand, relocate and remodel several of its Austin-area stores this year part of a larger, statewide expansion and price-cutting campaign. The company recently remade its store at North Lamar Boulevard and Rundberg Lane to cater to Latino customers. The $7 million remodeling project — which added 6,000 square feet and created about 40 jobs — includes a masa factory that grinds corn daily, a tortilleria, a carniceria (Latino-focused butcher shop) and a deli with fresh salsas and cremas. H-EB is the dominant grocery chain in Central Texas, with 30-plus locations. Overall, the privately held company had sales of more than $18 billion last year and operates more than 335 stores in Texas and Northern Mexico.
Austin’s Hispanic population has grown more than any other group by 64% from 2000-2010 in the Greater Austin Metro Area.
Hispanics’purchasing power grew to $9.4 billion in the last year, according to Adelante Solutions Inc. “The majority of children in Austin Metro Area are now Hispanic,” says Josefina Villicaña Casati, Editorial Director at Cox Communications owned Austin Hispanic weekly, ¡Ahorasí! (Spanish-language, Circ. 27,659, weekly reach 71,253).
Because Austin has appeal that cuts across cultures, making these offerings accessible to the growing population of Hispanics and engaging them to fully participate is important. Music festivals such as SXSW and ACL, for example, as well as civic and other events benefit from participation by Hispanics. “Reaching those Hispanics who prefer or are limited to information in Spanish helps ensure engagement in all levels in the community. Helping Hispanics integrate and succeed while allowing them to honor and celebrate the cultural differences that define them, is essential,” says ¡Ahorasí!’s Villicaña Casati.
...and editorial content to reflect them.
According to Villicaña Casati, “the consumption of news content has evolved as recent-immigrants become more acculturated and their children —which make up the majority in the Austin School District— become English dominant. When ¡Ahorasí! was first published in 2004, the content was focused on educating new immigrants, helping them navigate various education and political systems and engaging them to fully participate in their communities. Now the editorial focus is to maintain them involved in what impacts them locally, while giving them a glimpse of national and international news and guiding them to the website for more complete stories. The assumption that Spanish dominant and bilingual Hispanics are not digitally engaged has been recently challenged by various studies, which elevates the importance of giving readers the option to get daily information online.”
HOUSTON: THE NATION’S THIRD HISPANIC MARKET
Houston’s media caters to the nations’ third largest Hispanic market. Some properties have big plans going forward. According to Loida Ruiz, Sales Manager at the Houston Chronicle, La Voz, The Houston Chronicle’s Spanish-language publication, is going to be a big initiative in 2012. “We know that we have to keep up with this changing market and that includes expanding our distribution even more outside of the inner city. The relaunch will come with a big marketing campaign. We are going to host a La Voz Concert Series around September.” She adds that during the first quarter of 2012 they are launching Phase 1, “which is a re-allocation of where we distribute the paper. We’ve identified low performing areas of town and areas that have changed and where we need to increase distribution. These are areas with a high advertiser demand as well as a high quality Hispanic score. We will be increasing the distribution of La Voz in the second half of 2012 from 100,000 to 150,000. This is to meet the new readership needs. Another recent change is that La Voz is now being audited by ABC like The Houston Chronicle.”
La Voz is also the only Spanish-language newspaper in the Houston area that partners with Yahoo. “We offer our advertisers the opportunity to run online ads on Lavozdehouston.com and to reach every Spanish speaker/ reader on Yahoo in Houston with targeted digital advertising,” says Ruiz.
Strong Ad Categories
According to Ruiz, Pharma, Automotive and Retail are strong categories in 2012. “The pharmaceutical companies seem to be making a comeback. We saw a definite increase in that category in 2011 and it looks like it will continue in 2012. The Retail category is always strong, as is the Automotive. Budweiser continues to be one of our largest advertisers, both in print and in digital. Crest started a very aggressive Hispanic campaign in 2011 that looks like it’s continuing in 2012.”
One advantage Spanish-language media properties which are part of an organization that targets the general market have, is that they can also target Hispanics through their general market vehicles. The Houston Chronicle can direct advertisers to run digital ads on chron.com and geotarget specific Hispanic neighbourhoods.
An independent media company catering to Houston’s Hispanic’s is Semana. The Spanish-language newspaper has a weekly circulation of 145,000 (35% home-delivered and 65% through racks). It allows advertisers to place FSI’s by zones. Editorial emphasis is placed on local, state and national political candidates as well as as Immigration issues such as; National Security, TPS, border, Dream act, among others.
SAN ANTONIO: CATERING TO THE THIRD GEN AND MORE...
The evolution of San Antonio’s Hispanic demographic is very peculiar. The San Antonio Express News Myrna Cortez says that “when Conexión was launched in 2004 we researched and responded to the primarily third-generation market here.”
“What differentiates San Antonio’s Hispanics is the fact that the city’s proximity to Mexico makes it one of the oldest to be inhabited by Mexican born persons; consequently, their families have been in the U.S. longer. The majority of our city’s Hispanics are third-generation, are more acculturated, and are less fluent in Spanish. English-dominant Hispanics, though, are still very connected to their culture, and that is evident in the landscape and leadership of San Antonio. We’ve seen some failed attempts with other Hispanic newspapers in our area that followed another model, pursuing a first-generation market,” Cortez notes.
However, over the last few years higher income Spanish-dominant Mexicans have been immigrating to San Antonio. “It’s possible that our first-generation market may grow substantially in the coming years,” Cortez adds. The new trends are reflected in the content of Conexion, the San Antonio Express News publication targeting Hispanics. According to Cortez, “although we have approximately 90% English content, we provide Spanish content for those readers who expressed a desire to improve their command of the language. It’s also important for those first-generation readers we want to attract with Conexión.”
Big Box retailers
“It is evident from the consistent growth of FSIs –Free Standing Inserts or preprints- that big-box retailers are still extremely interested in capturing this lucrative market. Conexión has enjoyed a steady growth here, which tells us that it’s paid off for the retailers.” One of the reasons for the success with retailers may be that The San Antonio Express News and Conexion offer a TMC product (Total Market Coverage). With such a large Hispanic population in San Antonio, daily Express-News readers are approximately 50% Hispanic.”We effectively reach this audience via this general market vehicle and mySA.com, however, Conexión reaches Hispanics who are non-subscribers of the Express-News, giving us the ability to target this added audience with a medium written specifically for them. In addition, they can capture Hispanic online readers through SAcultura.com.”
Conexión ’s circulation is 50,000 weekly, and is 98% home-delivered with the balance in racked copies. “We now offer “Negocios,” which features locally-owned Hispanic businesses, as well as “Destinos,” an occasional travel page, and “NuestraGente,” a feature on non-prominent persons who our readers would find interesting,” Cortez concludes.
DALLAS/FT. WORTH: A PRIORITY FOR ADVERTISERS
Dallas is the sixth largest Hispanic DMA, after Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Miami and Chicago. Bromley’s Kim Chance cites several examples of clients catering to the city's Hispanics.. Ad agency Bromley recently launched a successful Hispanic test in Dallas for Totino’s Party Pizza that leveraged Hispanics affinity to radio and the appeal of highly popular radio personalities in the market. This effort was supported with outdoor near key grocers and included in-store sampling to entice consumer trial of the product. Totino’s encountered a lift in Hispanic sales which positioned the brand to consider a national media rollout. Bromley’s Chance also reports about a “recent holiday effort in Dallas in support of our Money Transfer client Orlandi Valuta. The campaign combined different local media, in-store incentives and a consumer promotion to drive.”
Other marketers who put a strong emphasis on the Dallas/Ft, Worth market include Miller Beer’s partnership with the Dallas Cowboys. As the official beer of the Dallas Cowboys, Miller Lite offered fans the opportunity to win an exclusive Cowboys’ experience through an on-package sweepstakes last year. The promotion was supported with Hispanic spot radio, public relations, and on-site activation across Texas.
Hispanic Retail chains...
Regional retail chains such as Fiesta, La Michoacan, El Rio Grande, Monterrey, Terry’s and El Rancho specifically cater to Dallas/Ft. Worth Hispanics. According to Rincon’s 2010 Latino Trendline Study of the market, Walmart Supercenters have a 25.4 percent share of the Latino market, Fiesta 24.9 percent and El Rancho about 8.2 percent. And foreign-born Hispanics preferred Fiesta over Wal-Mart, the study found.
...and Specialty Grocers
But the emergence of Hispanic specialty stores like La Superior, Los Arcos, Mi Tierra and El Paya is really the big news. At these stores Hispanics get familiar cuts of beef, goat and pork, along with freshly made sausages and barbacoa — marinated cooked meat. Nearly all of the clientele of these stores is Hispanic — 90 percent immigrants and 10 percent U.S.-born.
Many of these local Hispanic retailers advertise in Dallas/Ft. Worth Hispanic media. Belo Corp’s Al Día Spanish-language newspaper features Wednesday retail inserts with grocery advertising. Al Día is published on Wednesday’s and Saturday’s and has a circulation of 125,000.
RIO GRANDE VALLEY - EL VALLE
The Rio Grande Valley or the Lower Rio Grande Valley, informally called The Valley, is located in the southernmost tip of South Texas. The Rio Grande Valley is also called “El Valle”, the Spanish translation of “the valley”, by those who live there. Mc Allen, the second largest city after Brownsville is the tenth largest Hispanic market nationwide.
Freedom Communications publishes several newspapers in the Valley. It owns three English-language dailies including The Brownsville Herald, which publishes Spanish-language daily el Nuevo Heraldo, The Harlingen Morning Star, publisher of the weekly tabloid La Estrella, and The Monitor in McAllen newspaper, which launched the Spanish-language La Frontera in July 2004. La Frontera stopped publication last year due to challenging economic conditions.
EL PASO: WALKING DISTANCE TO MEXICO
Hispanics make up about 82% of El Paso’s population. El Paso is within walking distance of Mexico; Downtown El Paso and Downtown Ciudad Juárez are just a few blocks away from each other. “It’s probably worth noting that the majority of the El Paso Times readers are Hispanics as well”, says Jim Weddell, VP Digital Media at El Paso Times, which is published by the Texas-New Mexico Newspaper Partnership (owned by Gannett and Media News Group). El Paso Times produces Hispanic specific publications El Paso y Más and TV y Más, which are both published in Spanish.
Last year the El Paso Times introduced SomosFrontera.com which according to Weddell, “seeks to provide content of interest to the young, growing community that feels comfortable on either side of the border, who has an interest in the news, entertainment, sports and relationships among Ciudad Juárez, El Paso and Southern New Mexico. It’s editor and a core group of reporters who focus on border issues and Ciudad Juárez content, seek to go beyond the violence affecting Ciudad Juárez to tell the stories of a community in transition toward a vibrant, growing market.”
Border Media and Advertising
Media properties and media representation firms make it their business to convince advertisers on both sides of the border that they should reach audiences across the Mexican/U.S. borders to increase their sales. “Upper income Mexican residents have the disposable income, the passports, and the transportation to travel to the U.S. to buy their needed goods,” says Lynnell Walker, General Manager of Universal EP, an El Paso based firm that specializes in Mexico- U.S border media placement.
Walker adds that “it has been a long battle for companies like ours to convince the US advertisers (retail, electronics, furniture) that their primary marketing focus should be in Mexico on media that specifically reaches the Mexican citizen. Many agency media buyers could not comprehend the purchase of media not based on an Arbitron/Nielsen rating. When purchasing media in Mexico you need to look at their rating systems (if any) or their potential reach in a market, based on power, format, programming etc. Today the most successful agencies look at socio-economic levels with a specific target to reach these individuals. “US Advertisers are promoting their hotels/casinos, clothes, electronics, furniture, restaurants and events. Mexican advertisers are promoting their new U.S. businesses and their products to be distributed in the U.S. According to Walker, advertising in both directions is growing: “There are a lot more Mexican products being distributed into the United States and businesses opening up in border U.S. cities belonging to former Mexican residents who now live in the U.S. because of insecurity in Mexico. Advertisers for US products and companies are buying more advertising on Mexican media properties because they see the economic potential.”
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