This discussion was started by Suzanne Hernandez – Working with companies to develop successful product and marketing strategies for the LatAm and Hispanic markets •

An interesting discussion has evolved about the biggest challenges marketers have to face today when considering the Hispanic markets in our LinkedIn Forum.

Executives from the Hispanic media and advertising world are providing their opinion about this issue. See below! 

Marcos Baer  -Publisher, Portada • “One of the main challenges lies in explaining and making Corporate America understand about the need to increase Hispanic marketing budgets. This special 2010 census preview issue on the opportunities around the census may be useful: http://www.omagdigital.com/publication/?i=52067”

Diane Librizzi -Communications, Programming and Content Development Professional • “Along with Marcos' comment, with which I totally agree, marketers also need to make sure that they have the proper metrics in place to measure the effectiveness of their efforts targeting Hispanic consumers. Too many times advertisers throw money into the Hispanic market without a clear way to examine the results of their investments and then complain that the Hispanic market doesn't work and pull away those efforts. They would never execute a marketing effort for the general market without using some sort of data delivery like Nielsen or IRI, but too often they will ignore that step for the HCM.”

Rafael Hernandez – Partner at Hispanic Marketing Insights, LLC • “Marketers should also do their homework on identifying the Hispanic target(s) they are going after based on their level of acculturation (which includes both demographic and lifestyle variables) and country of origin – particularly if they are going to do something national vs. regional. 'We' – Hispanics- are great people but for marketing purposes we are not all alike as consumers.”

Lydia Hinojosa -Cultural Liaison • “Someone told me about a little ad they wanted to do in Spanish. It turned into a big headache. ??They had to write it in such a way that it would be understood. ??Then they had do decide on the "accent". Would it be someone from South or ?Central America or someone from Mexico. ?After much deliberation, they went with a Central American voice for their product.”

Mabel Ng – Public Relations / Marketing Specialist at EPMG • “I asked this question to one of our team members in EPMG's Hispanic division. Here's his opinion: ?The biggest challenge marketers face when considering the Hispanic market is understanding that the Hispanic market is not a single market segment, but many based on location of origin. – country of origin. Marketers must take into consideration the differences in language, values and acculturation. If the message being sent falls within this criteria, then your campaign is more likely to have an impact – no matter what methods or media is used. – Juan Carlos Balarezo, EPMG, the Multicultural Division of Motivate.”

Joe Ray– President/Creative Director, Estudio Ray • “Very good replies! I add a failure to fully understand if there is a need for their product or service within the Hispanic Market. And if so, which segment? What's the big picture for the brand within the Hispanic Market? And probably the basic tenet being that translating into Spanish does not constitute marketing to Hispanics.”

Guias Local – GuíasLocal.com • “I believe marketers face several challenges with companies such as agencies, who are closed minded to the possibilities and opportunities the Hispanic market brings. Some won’t even talk to you if you mention the word bilingual. Those who will talk to you have read one report and now are the company’s “expert” on what Hispanics want. This type of lazy closed minded approach is why so many ad agencies have gone under and have been replaced by 17-year-old YouTube viral experts. The Hispanic market is still crawling and is ready to walk soon. The companies we have talked to still look at offering more than one language on their website and email marketing campaigns as something that isn’t needed “right now”. What these companies don’t understand is that by communicating your services to consumers who already purchase your product (whether it’s from you or your competitor) in a way that is more accepted, you will gain more business or even take business away from that competitor. This market isn’t going away…it’s just getting started!”

Fernando Estrada – Director Hispanic Marketing at Eclipse Marketing Services •  “Great responses, my contribution is as follows. Having worked for several fortune 100 companies I have noticed one big challenge companies, and at times their marketing department’s experience. I find it is their level of commitment to their Hispanic segments. . . (Hear me out prior to commenting). Many companies make investments in building their brands strategically in the Hispanic market, but considerable gaps exist in companies ability to engage and build long term equity with the fastest growing demographic in the U.S. My personal experience is that companies do build Hispanic marketing teams/programs and many grow year over year but when budgets are cut these Hispanic teams/programs are the first to be dismantled despite discernible success. ??Perceived long term commitment is what should be sought. Companies need to demonstrate their commitment to Hispanic communities, their commitment to cultural diversity in executive hiring and continued commitment to building long-lasting relationships with their diverse Hispanic customer base. Marketing to Hispanics is not a trend, we Latinos are very loyal. Brands are not just physical products and services but rather perceptual entities that exist in psychological space – in the consumers mind. As a young boy living in the upper west side on NYC I vividly recall hearing and seeing commercials for Colgate toothpaste on Spanish radio and television. Colgate is what my mother purchased and to this day is what she still uses – and by the way it is the brand I bring into my home today. ??Saludos”

Marcelo Salup – Principal at MS Group LLC •  “To be honest –and not politically correct– I think that the biggest problem is separating real fact from self-serving fiction. ??I remember that, early on in my involvement with the Hispanic market, the small agency I owned (deRojas, Salup + Partners) had the Miami Honda Dealers Association. Rubin Posteur & Associates (now RPA) Hispanic guy made a huge presentation about how warm, fuzzy and family-oriented all Hispanics were. When push came to shove, however, the Hispanic arm just took the Anglo Honda commercials (the ones in which the cars drove away on a museum wall) and just translated them into Spanish. Those were the coldest, most cerebral spots I'd ever seen and they contradicted everything that the Hispanic arm of RPA had presented for the past hour. ??There's still a lot of that today. ??I often see tons and tons of articles that basically present opinions masquerading as facts while, AT THE SAME TIME, contradicting even more opinions that had been presented as facts. ??There is no single thing that stands out but, rather, there is a whole collection of items that must be addressed to be taken seriously: ?

?1. The entire issue of Spanish v English — not only in terms of language, but also in terms of persuassion ?

?2. The thorny issue of 2nd and 3rd generations. Many marketers (both Hispanic and GM) often just discount them as assimilated, but any cursory activity with any of them shows that they are anything but. They might speak English, but the entire iconography and values are so different from mainstream America that they need a completely different campaign. ?

?3. The BS we get from a lot of media. Does anyone really believe that little channels like VeMe, SITV and their ilk really appeal to 2nd and 3rd gens? Their audience is miniscule! Yet, for lack of suitable media to buy many companies invest good money on tiny insignificant audiences that have no impact whatsoever on sales ??4. The reluctance of 99.9% of English-language advertisers to run a Hispanic commercial in mainstream TV (in English, sure, but using Hispanics, using our imagery, our attitudinal scales to talk to us) ??And so on. ??I honestly think that there needs to be a reboot at some point, reassess what the entire group is really about and begin from scratch”

Beatriz Perez-Gomez – Hispanic Media Specialist and Strategist – Marketing, Advertising, Public Relations Consulting  • “I agree with Fernando and Rafael. By the way Fernando, still buy Colgate and my 28 year old (born and raised here,) does the same.”

Suzanne Hernandez – Working with companies to develop successful product and marketing strategies for the LatAm and Hispanic markets • “Thank you all for such great commentary. Someone from LinkedIn in a different discussion provided me with an example of a company who he thought was doing it well (acknowledging the many cultures that exist within the Latino community), What do you think of this? http://tiny.cc/1yes1

Marcelo Salup – Principal at MS Group LLC • “The Toyota "somos muchos" campaign frankly reeks of pandering and false patriotism. I, personally, dislike it as much as the Chevy campaigns that have done the same thing. They are cliche-ish and very transparent last-ditch efforts by those brands.”

Suzanne Hernandez – Working with companies to develop successful product and marketing strategies for the LatAm and Hispanic markets • Thx for the feedback Marcelo. It's amazing how many companies tout expertise but yet it's difficult to find great execution. Do you (or anyone else here) have any examples of a well executed campaign?

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