Text by Karina Masolova
Throughout all of the amazing presentations at #Portada17, one key question was brought up time and time again: As a marketer, how do we market ourselves? Is “Hispanic”-targeted marketing dying, and if so, how do we justify our jobs?
In the face of shrinking budgets and resources, it is more important than ever to be able to present the hard data and business opportunities behind Hispanic and multicultural marketing to your business partners as well as your own boss and co-workers. But it’s not usually the money itself that’s a problem—social media campaigns, for example, can be successful at any budget—but, instead, education.
The general perception amongst the #Portada17 crowd is that the “Hispanic” segment will only disappear in one of two ways: 1) nuclear war, and 2) when the “general market” becomes the Hispanic market. The idea that we don’t need to pay attention to Hispanics, or that they aren’t important to the growth of our brands, is dangerous to your bottom line.
The general perception amongst the #Portada17 crowd is that the “Hispanic” segment will only disappear in one of two ways: 1) nuclear war, and 2) when the “general market” becomes the Hispanic market.
According to the industry leaders at #Portada17, the same cultural values that resonate with Hispanics in bi- and multicultural marketing efforts also work to feed into and boost general market campaign results. The multicultural consumer is “part of your brand and part of the growth of it,” even for very “traditional American” brands if you do it right, according to Margie Bravo, Multicultural Marketing Manager, Nestlé USA.
Some of the best campaigns are those that resonate with Hispanic audiences without isolating others. The gold standard? Campaigns that welcome African-American, Asian, and other non-Hispanics (including the increasingly diverse “white America”) into the conversation. In a panel, Seraj Bharwani, Chief Strategy Officer at AcuityAds, mentioned one Hispanic-oriented ad that resonated with him because of the strong ties it showed between parents and their adult children who stayed close to home—a unique relationship that also exists in Indian (and, increasingly, Millennial) culture.
Setting aside the debate over total marketing, an integrated approach recognizes the rapidly shifting demographics of the U.S. Half of Millennials don’t fit in neatly to the traditional conception of the “general market”—that is, non-Hispanics. But as our panelists stressed, in order for total marketing to work, it must be done right.
Education is Key
Although Comcast is incredibly supporting of multicultural marketing efforts, earlier in her career, Marie Casimir Fallon, Director of Media Strategy & Planning at Comcast Cable Corporation, had to face pushback. To help resolve the issue, she helped develop an educational curriculum that broke down the numbers behind her ideas and showed why they worked.
To help resolve the issue, she helped develop an educational curriculum that broke down the numbers behind her ideas and showed why they worked.
One audience member asked during a panel about the “perfect curriculum” to use in teaching others about Hispanic marketing. Although it elicited a few chuckles, the question itself is on-point. In order to gain the support of your company, you need to teach them why what you do is critical. Once you have that, you’re free to “break the rules, and take a chance to make an exciting marketing plan” in the words of Joi Tyrell, the SVP Director of Campbell Ewald/Sociedad.
Today at Comcast, every employee goes through training that teaches them about the demographics of their consumers (including Hispanics), where sales are coming from (both on a demographic and regional level), and where sales can grow. The company’s proprietary software even breaks down how many Hispanics, African Americans, Asians, and other groups the company should have as consumers in any given area and for every given product.
But as Fallon pointed out, you don’t need to have this kind of expensive in-house technology to do a good job—you can work with the kinds of knowledgeable partners and agents you’ve met at #Portada17 who have these tools and can challenge you to do better.
you don’t need expensive in-house technology to do a good job—you can work with the kinds of knowledgeable partners and agents you’ve met at #Portada17 who have these tools and can challenge you to do better.
Another successful businesswoman pointed to the secret of her success as “turning off the crazy Latina … you can do that at home.” Although it feels like a small tragedy, the fact is that in order to convince a skeptical C-suite of the importance of Hispanic-oriented marketing, we have to speak their language.
Just like a campaign targeting Hispanics is stronger if the messaging is in Spanish (and takes account of the nuances of the language and culture), management responds to numbers. Don’t pitch your plan as “the right thing to do,” advised another speaker. But even the most mono-cultural C-suite will understand the bottom line (and if they don’t, that’s just bad business).
The key is to anchor yourself in hard data and become a teacher.
The key is to anchor yourself in hard data and become a teacher. Essentially, that’s what marketing is all about, isn’t it? Everything you do has to be driven by accurate market, consumer, and sales research. Otherwise, you and your team are walking blind. If you don’t know where you’re going, how can they, or anyone else, follow you?