Do We Get the Numbers Right? Evaluating Hispanic Market Research

Effective marketing depends on effective research. Yet research studies conducted on the Hispanic market often vary markedly with regards to the measurement, sampling and data collection processes they use, said Edward T. Rincon, president of Rincon & Associates. Increasingly, advertisers targeting U.S. Hispanics are demanding more accurate and reliable research. The varying quality and contradictory findings lead to growing controversy. “One of the problems with current research studies is that they often make sweeping generalizations about Latinos in the U.S.,” said Edward Rincon.

The reality-check
Rincon points to the claims made by Siempre Mujer Magazine (published on a bi-monthly basis with an initial rate base of 350,000) about its female audience. Meredith's lifestyle magazine targeting Spanish-dominant Hispanic women living in the United States was launched in September of this year. “Siempre Mujer Magazine claims that they have a potential female audience of 10 million Hispanic women, but our research clearly shows that this figure is more like 3.8 million,” Rincon noted. When asked about the consequences of this significant gap, Rincon said that “the data referred to must be subjected to a reality check if it is to be credible to customers.” Adriana Waterston, director of marketing and business development at Horowitz & Associates, agreed on the importance of checking data: “There is, of course, a difference between research to know and research to show.”

Are the Hispanic and general markets really that different?While the expansion of media targeting U.S. Hispanics continues at a fast pace, the marketing tools used to analyze the increasingly important Latino segment of the U.S. consumer market are essentially the same as for the general market, according to Graham Hall, Chief Insights Officer at The Bravo Group. “The problem is that the general market does not respond to the opportunities that are opening up,” said Hall. While it is hard to obtain reliable studies on the Hispanic consumer group, specific insights about the general market can be helpful in developing strategies for targeting U.S. Hispanics, added Hall. “The latest research findings suggest that there will be a significant change taking place within the U.S. consumer market, which is due to the growing numbers of Hispanic immigrants and to their lasting influence as a dynamic social and cultural stratum in U.S. society.”
Franz Solms-Laubach