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Lucia Ballas Traynor

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What: We talked to marketing experts at research agencies and media about the recent acquisition of Geoscape by  Claritas.
Why it matters: The market for multicultural research and data has changed tremendously over the last few years. The Geoscape move provides clues for what’s coming next.

Much time has passed since the last Geoscape merger…

More than ten years have passed since Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group announced in June 2007 that it was merging  Latin Force LLC, a Hispanic marketing strategy firm, with multicultural intelligence and data analytics company Geoscape International (with the new company to be called Latin Force Group). The new company was called LatinForce. Back then, Goldman Sachs Managing Director Kevin Jordan said, “The merged company will provide its existing and future customers with a clear competitive advantage in reaching America’s fastest-growing demographic.”

What has happened since is clear. A few years later, Latin Force Group was renamed Geoscape and just a week ago, it was sold to Claritas, a portfolio company of the Carlyle Group: Geoscape by New MainStream Capital (a spin-off of the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment group).
Six things you need to know:

1. Major Investors are Betting on Data and Market Research

The Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity and asset management firms, bought Claritas from Nielsen early last year. Claritas is focused on consumer segmentation insights. It provides marketers with a comprehensive view into consumer behavior patterns through proprietary segmentation analysis powered by broad access to data sources. Multicultural research and data now also comes into the picture with the Geoscape acquisition. “Marketers must find ways to connect with these high-growth consumers in relevant ways.”, said Claritas LLC’s CEO Mike Nazzaro when the provider of consumer segmentation analysis announced a few days ago the acquisition of Geoscape, a firm dedicated to the in-depth understanding of multicultural consumers.

2. The Pendulum Swings Back to One-Stop-Shop

While multicultural audiences continue to be coveted by corporate America, the audiences and media to reach them are not specifically multicultural or Hispanic. In other words, most multicultural media buying decisions are no longer taken by multicultural specific agencies but by general market agencies. Similarly, multicultural research is increasingly demanded by major general market agencies who tend to have better connection with general market shops such as Claritas. It is in this context that Geoscape’s acquisition by Claritas has to be analyzed.

 

Martin Cerda, founder of Encuesta, Inc. [Photo: Hispanic PR Blog]

3. Comprehensive Services Demand More Capital…

Claritas’ acquisition of Geoscape is perhaps not that surprising as it could have been a few years ago. When multicultural research industry veteran Martin Cerda, founder of Encuesta Inc., joined Cheskin, a WPP shop, in 2011, everyone in the industry was surprised. When Portada asked him about his decision back then, he predicted that small marketing research firms wouldn’t be able to deliver the level of services required in view of the more and more complex media, marketing, and advertising conditions. “Specifically, fast used to mean taking a week to deliver results, now overnight or even real-time results are expected,” he said. The Geoscape acquisition is a sign that predictions like this are the new norm.

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General market research agencies will begin to bolster their multicultural capabilities through strategic acquisitions creating a new multicultural marketing research model.

 

4…. because Technology is Crucial.

“Today, marketing is mostly about data.  Research and insights that are culturally unique and relevant to Hispanics is more important than ever,” says Ballas-Traynor. “ However, the data sources and the way that we mine data has to align with the sources and the tactics used in the general market.” The research space answers to an ever-evolving market that becomes faster and more data-driven every day.

Today, Marketing is mostly about data.
Mario Carrasco

Companies will need to make sure they’re able to access those data. “Navigating in the new mainstream is going to require a big ship”, said Cerda back in 2011. And it would seem Claritas and Geoscape will be showing others on the right path, as explains Mario Carrasco: “The acquisition, I believe, marks a shift into the 3.0 multicultural marketing research era; general market research agencies will begin to bolster their multicultural capabilities through strategic acquisitions creating a new multicultural marketing research model”.

 

 

5. Hispanic Consumers Are No Longer Defined by Language

The key to how drastically multicultural marketing research has changed over the last decade, says Mario Carrasco, co-founder of Think Now Research, is that the first multicultural marketing research firms were able to easily differentiate themselves from general market agencies through language: “Hispanic ad agencies had the Spanish language as their key differentiating factor from general market agencies”.

The Hispanic consumer is no longer defined by language but by culture.
Carlos Cordoba

But what happened once immigration slowed down and U.S. born Hispanics accounted for most of the Hispanic population growth? In the words of Carlos Cordoba, marketing expert at Vision Strategies and Insights, “the Hispanic consumer is no longer defined by language but by culture, which means we need to communicate with them in the language of their choice.”
With their most obvious differentiator gone, suddenly small agencies don’t have enough resources to connect to Hispanic consumers and need powerful allies. “I need more and better resources, increased scale to execute new and emerging research methodologies,” said Cerda when he joined Cheskin.

 

6. Large Firms Need Multicultural Expertise

Lucia Ballas-Traynor

However, the need goes both ways. For Lucia Ballas-Traynor, Media and Marketing Executive at Hemisphere TV, “Today, marketing is mostly about data. Research that is culturally unique and relevant to Hispanics is more important than ever.” Big companies will need to find a way to get through to the ever-growing Hispanic population, and, as she explains, “it makes sense to acquire a company that has been doing this for decades rather than trying to build this discipline from scratch.”

 

 

 

As the US-Hispanic demographic evolves and grows, multicultural strategists and media planners are faced with the challenge of connecting with an audience that cannot be defined by a single language or set of behaviors. How educated are agencies when it comes to awareness of the appropriate media mix for reaching today’s Hispanics? Are agencies hoping to reach them through the general market, or are they happy to continue making full use of the traditional options, Telemundo and Univision, especially now that programmatic makes it possible to conduct highly targeted campaigns across a variety of media? We talk to industry insiders to find out.

Spanish Language Not A Strategy Anymore

There is one definite conclusion among multicultural strategists: Spanish is not enough to reach U.S.-Hispanics, as the acculturated Latino, who often speaks more English than Spanish in their everyday life, is the fastest-growing group within the Hispanic segment. The question on the tip of many tongues is how to connect with young, well-educated Hispanic millennials.

Asten Morgan
Asten Morgan

While the general market may reach some of this segment, those campaigns “might reach them but they are not likely to connect or touch an emotion, so it’s a missed opportunity,” says Asten Morgan, Latina Media Ventures’ Executive Director of Integrated Media.

In the face of this challenge, some agencies and buyers simply resort to the big players like Telemundo and Univision. Morgan added: “I think the agencies need to be better educated about both the choices they now have to diversify their media mix as well as overall targeting capabilities. When there is doubt or too many unfamiliar options they revert to the path of least resistance from the client so they go with what they’ve been doing for years as nobody will question change.”

I think the agencies need to be better educated about both the choices they now have to diversify their media mix as well as overall targeting capabilities. When there is doubt or too many unfamiliar options they revert to the path of least resistance from the client so they go with what they’ve been doing for years as nobody will question change.

Others are sensing a need for greater education on who Hispanics are and where they can be reached. Lucia Ballas-Traynor, the EVP of Sales at Hemisphere Media Group, explained: “We need to come together as an industry and provide clients and agencies with best practices and guidelines on Hispanic TV buying.”

Part of her concern stems from worries that if this education does not take place, agencies will simply hope for the best in reaching Hispanics through the general market, since their go-to’s for this type of targeting, Univision and Telemundo, “are not meeting their total market objectives and can satisfy them using general market networks.”

ana-crandell-omd
Ana Crandell, Group Account Director at OMD Multicultural

Ana Crandell, Group Account Director at global media agency OMD Multicultural, also attributed a “hesitance to expand beyond the Univision and Telemundo’s of the world” to education, saying that it “really comes down to a lack of knowledge of the offerings available in this space,” and that “many marketers continue to think of the U.S. Hispanic media landscape as being limited to just a handful of players, which we know has not been the case for many, many years now.”

The acculturated Hispanic has certainly turned many marketing strategies on their heads. Zach Rosenberg, President of MBMG Media Group, offered an example of the firm’s experience with client El Pollo Loco: “It was clear that they were over-messaging to their Hispanic consumer set while not having enough of a presence in the general market,” he explained. “Our strategic approach was to recalibrate their media mix to include less Spanish Language programming as a larger percentage of Hispanic consumers are acculturated now than even 10 years ago.”

There is a hesitancy to expand beyond the Univision’s and Telemundo’s of the world.

But this was not an uninformed decision. “It should be noted that our multicultural expertise is what led us to this rationale and success,” Rosenberg reminded us.

Another industry insider, who preferred not to be named, defended practices that put a heavy emphasis on the big players: “I think that buying these two partners delivers significant reach of Spanish Preferred Hispanics (and at times can reach goals established by some clients),” but that “to be more holistic and well rounded in the approach it is good to include the other Spanish-language stations that may not deliver as high ratings but definitely provide areas that do not duplicate with Univision and Telemundo.”

Spanish-Language TV’s Transformation

So why aren’t Telemundo and Univision meeting their market objectives? Latina’s Morgan pointed out that they aren’t focusing on digital: “They are focused on their core businesses of television, and their digital properties don’t deliver Hispanics at scale.”

Lucia Ballas-Traynor, EVP of Sales at Hemisphere Media Group
Lucia Ballas-Traynor, EVP of Sales at Hemisphere Media Group

Ballas-Traynor asserted that when it comes to Spanish-language TV, “buying has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past couple of years, and the results are concerning for our market since the message marketers are getting is that you don’t need multicultural expertise to buy Hispanic TV, and that you only really need a few networks included in your media mix, which is doing a disservice to the Hispanic segments they are trying to reach.”

Ballas-Traynor highlighted a few factors that she attributes to this transformation: a general shift to a ‘total market’ approach with a focus on “great buying efficiencies,” and a consequential “shift in buying responsibilities to general market investment/activation teams that have little to no understanding of Hispanic media, or of the audience profiles and content that differentiate these outlets.”

She also noted that agency fees for buying have been reduced across the board, resulting in a “greater emphasis on buying agencies that leverage their clout with fewer, bigger media partners.” She asserted that “budgets for accounts that are active in Hispanic are flat at best.”

While some may see it as an issue related to a lack of education in media buying, our anonymous industry contact believed budgets are a significant issue here: “I think sometimes the media buying community can be misinterpreted, because they do understand that there are others S-L stations that bring value to campaigns.  However, the reality is that advertising budgets can be challenging these days and it’s important to secure a strong base media buy to drive sales.”

Spanish-language TV buying has undergone a dramatic transformation over the past couple of years, and the results are concerning for our market since the message marketers are getting is that you don’t need multicultural expertise to buy Hispanic TV, and that you only really need a few networks included in your media mix, which is doing a disservice to the Hispanic segments they are trying to reach.

Nonetheless, education appears to have a significant role in fixing this conundrum. Multicultural strategists like Ballas have encountered “a lack of resources and multicultural expertise” that is made worse by the fact that there is such a wide variety of media options that buyers end up doing “fewer and bigger deals with less players.”

And once clients and buyers have decided who that small group of players will be, they often resist change, funding “the same programs year over year with the same players, rather than adapting their plans to incorporate other important networks, regardless of performance.”

For this reason, many believe it is important that entities like Morgan’s Latina Media Ventures, which has “always focused on the acculturated Latina,” exist. Their DSP platform claims to do a better job targeting Hispanics in English or Spanish using first party data from their two owned and operated sites to build better Hispanic audience profiles. Then, third party data is brought in “to ensure we aren’t solely relying on sources that aren’t dedicated solely to the Hispanic demo.”

Disconnect Between Multicultural Strategy, Planning

Ballas-Traynor was clear about her firm belief that the industry must update its approach to Hispanic targeting, asserting that top 50 Hispanic advertisers probably only do Upfronts with a few different media a year.

“They buy ‘bundles’ which include online, cable and other assets.  Perhaps a dozen go deeper than Univision and Telemundo as part of their media mix (mostly partners that they have worked with over the years). And a handful, at most, are adding any ‘new’ networks,” Ballas- Traynor explained. “As you can imagine, this is very frustrating because we know that the buys for those same accounts go ‘deeper’ and broader in terms of media selection in the general market.”

Another large problem is a growing disconnect between multicultural strategists that do understand the Hispanic market, and the general market activation teams who handle Hispanic network investment, that do not. Ballas-Traynor expressed disappointment that many of the activation teams have “little understanding of the differences among the various Hispanic origin groups, the content that resonates most, who the broadcast versus the cable outlets and sometimes who the measured players are.”

Programmatic buying is an important component to most client’s plans, however, we also continue to offer them (in addition to programmatic) scalable ways to engage Hispanic audiences online and off-line.

It is not uncommon for clients to have a very clear understanding of the consumption patterns and demographics of a key segment, how it differs from others within the Hispanic category, and what markets drive their purchases. But activation teams may not be as informed as the client or the multicultural strategist, and that can be a great detriment to the effectiveness of the campaign.

iHeartMedia is one of the alternatives whose assets might not all be digital, but it claims to reach 91% of the U.S. Hispanic population on a monthly basis through more than 100 stations that have significant Hispanic composition such as LA’s KIIS and KTU in New York City, who have a 50 percent and 40 percent Hispanic composition, respectfully.

Plus, the buyers can’t be the only problem. According to Morgan, they are just “the tip of the iceberg,” because “agency personnel are sitting on the sidelines using their own services,” claiming that they can only use internal platforms, “which are easier, safer and often less effective.” It may just take these agencies losing a client for change to occur: “until a change agent comes along or they lose the account, they move at glacial speeds.”

Programmatic, Scalable Options Help Engage Hispanic Audiences Off and Online

iHeartMedia’s President of Programmatic and Data Operations, Brian Kaminsky, highlighted how iHeart Media

Brian Kaminsky, President of Programmatic and Data Operations at iHeartMedia
Brian Kaminsky, President of Programmatic and Data Operations at iHeartMedia

takes advantage of its wide array of on and offline assets to help brands engage Hispanics: “We have seen almost universal interest in our platform from the agency community who are interested in efficiency and new ways to evaluate a traditional media, and from clients who’ve made an investment in their customer data platforms,” Kaminsky asserted. “Being able to incorporate broadcast radio, given its massive Hispanic reach, into audience focused plans is appealing because of the high ROI it offers relative to digital.”

Regarding programmatic’s influence, Kaminsky said: “Programmatic buying is an important component to most client’s plans, however, we also continue to offer them (in addition to programmatic) scalable ways to engage Hispanic audiences online and off-line.” He elaborated, explaining that they created a programmatic solution for broadcast radio “to meet the shift to audience based buying and planning spurred by digital media.”

His team collects audience insights through merging data from their digital platform, social networks and third-party data sources, which allows them to “offer marketers the same type of audience targets that they are buying from connected mediums like digital, including an audience that is made up of people with an affinity for Hispanic culture.”

And the insights become actionable through their proprietary platform, which uses a planning algorithm and cloud-based networking of their radio inventory to optimize plans. “This allows us to identify very specific and highly desirable audiences at the scale that only radio can provide,” he concluded.

Crandell, of OMD Multicultural, agreed that programmatic has had a significant affect on Hispanic targeting: “I find that most successful strategists that work within the US Hispanic space very much see the value of this vehicle and, most importantly, have been able to identify its role within the broader marketing mix.”

Crandell also noted that in her experience, it has been important to remember that programmatic should be incorporated into the strategic level, not just buying and execution: “If the use of programmatic is only executed (and decided upon) at the buying stage, marketers stand to miss out on perhaps the most valuable aspect of this vehicle – that being its ability to deliver extremely beneficial learnings on the target, as they are based on actual user behavior,” Crandell explained.

Data Changes Everything, But Is It Accurate? 

Some industry insiders are actually worried that programmatic, with all of its data, may be misleading agencies. “It’s tough now, because programmatic has made it easy for general market media properties or agency trading desks to stake a piece of the Hispanic pie courtesy of an algorithm,” Morgan lamented. “Now they can scientifically state how their algorithm reaches Latinos.” But is just reaching Latinos enough?

“We don’t doubt the capabilities, but there is reason to doubt the accuracy of hitting the target, as their targeting foundation is built on third party data sources that aren’t the most accurate,” Morgan noted.

One thing is certain: marketers are at a crossroads, and the first step in the path to truly reaching Latinos is accepting the complexity of their behavior and preferences, something that the industry has yet to accomplish.

Hemisphere Media Group, Inc. the cable TV property targeting the high growth Spanish-language television and cable networks business in the U.S. and Latin America, announced the appointment of Lucia Ballas-Traynor as EVP of Advertising Sales. (UPDATED with interview with Ms. Ballas-Traynor).

Mama's Latinas won the 2013 Portada Content Provider to Hispanic Audiences Award: Lucia Ballas-Traynor, Publisher Mamas Latinas, Marcos Baer, publisher of Portada, and Award presenter Evelyn Castro, La Prensa de Houston.
Lucia Ballas Traynor (left) won the 2013 Portada Content Provider to Hispanic Audiences Award with Marcos Baer, publisher of Portada, and Award presenter Evelyn Castro, La Prensa de Houston.

Lucia Ballas-Traynor will lead the advertising sales strategy for Hemisphere’s portfolio of networks. “I will be based in New York,” Ballas-Traynor tells Portada. She adds that she “will be traveling to Miami where we are headquartered, Puerto Rico where WAPA-TV is based as well as Latin America where we have significant distribution for Cinelatino and Pasiones.”

“I am responsible for overseeing all advertising throughout Hemisphere’s footprint, with a primary focus on U.S. Initially our focus will be on our two Nielsen-rated networks: WAPA América and Cinelatino. Both networks offer advertisers unique packaging opportunities, unmatched by any other media company, to reach underserved audiences in various environments that are appropriate for all key ad categories.”

I am responsible for overseeing all advertising throughout Hemisphere’s footprint, with a primary focus on U.S. Initially our focus will be on our two Nielsen-rated networks: WAPA América and Cinelatino.

Ballas-Traynor has more than 25 years of experience in Hispanic media, building and leading top Hispanic media brands across TV, digital, mobile, print, and live events. Most recently Ballas-Traynor was co-founder and EVP of CafeMom’s MamásLatinas, a bilingual online destination dedicated to entertaining and empowering Latina moms. Asked by Portada on how her approach is going to change now that she will be mostly selling into cable TV, Ballas Traynor responds that her sales career started at Galavision “so this role is effectively taking me back to my roots in terms of how cable TV is sold. My approach is consultative, insights-driven and content-centric regardless of the medium. Consequently, the approach is not too different from digital.”

My sales career started at Galavision so this role is effectively taking me back to my roots in terms of how cable TV is sold.

“We are thrilled to have Lucia join us,” said Alan J. Sokol, President and CEO of Hemisphere. “She has unparalleled experience and success in driving revenue in a variety of established and growing Hispanic media ventures. We’re confident that through her strong agency relationships and unbridled creativity, she’ll drive our ad sales business and put Hemisphere at the forefront of creative thinking.”

Digital Rights

Regarding Hemisphere Media’s plans on the OTT and digital streaming side, Ballas-Traynor tells Portada that Hemisphere Media owns digital rights for a “significant percentage of our content and are well-positioned to capture viewers wherever and however they choose to consume video content. Furthermore, we own an expansive library of the best Spanish-language films and other content and are continually generating new content that can be distributed digitally or licensed to over-the-top platforms.”

As we reported in yesterday’s Changing Places feature, Lucia Ballas Traynor recently left CafeMom’s MamasLatinas.com, the site she co-founded in 2013. Ballas Traynor will not be replaced for the time being, a spokesperson at CafeMom tells Portada. But there are more news coming out from CafeMom quarters: CafeMom is planning the launch of a new property targeting Millennial Latinas led by Editor-in-Chief, Zuania Capó.

CafeMom will provide more detailed information about the launch in the new property in the next few weeks. In any case, the addition of the new site to CafeMom’s properties shows how important the Latina Millennial has become for marketers and, in turn, for the media properties serving them.

The addition of the new site to CafeMom’s properties shows how important the Latina Millennial has become for marketers.

Commitment to MamasLatinas.com

Despite Ballas Traynor exit, CafeMom’s MamasLatinas.com‘s spokesperson told Portada the company remains strong in its commitment to growing MamasLatinas.com as the leading destination for Latina women, reaching more than 3 million monthly visitors. As part of that commitment to the Hispanic audience, MamasLatinas.com continues to grow with CafeMom’s upcoming launch of a new property for Millennial Latinas.

“We will continue to strengthen and add to our Hispanic focused sales team as it supports and strengthens our larger corporate sales efforts. We have seen our engagement rates increase dramatically – with total page views more than doubling since the start of 2015, “said the spokesperson.

0a1371aJohanna Torres will remain at the helm as the Editor-in-Chief for MamasLatinas.com, which means the company continues to have strong leadership of the property from her and strong emphasis on the Hispanic market from its sales team.

Join us at PORTADA Mexico!

As programmatic trading is increasingly becoming a part of the Hispanic digital media market, with major brands such as Kraft also targeting the Hispanic demographic via computer software driven trading, we asked MamasLatinas, owned by CafeMom, about the way it integrates programmatic trading (including private marketplaces and RTB) into its offering for advertisers.

While according to MamasLatinas programmatic amounts to approximately 10% of overall ad sales, RTB (Real-Time Bidding) and PMP’s (Private Marketplaces)  are increasingly  being offered to major national advertisers by CafeMom and its Spanish-language property Mamaslatinas.com .  (The ratio is actually  much lower for most digital media properties targeting the Hispanic population). A look at how programmatic works at MamasLatinas:

 Audience Extension ….

Mama's Latinas won the 2013 Portada Content Provider to Hispanic Audiences Award: Lucia Ballas-Traynor, Publisher Mamas Latinas, Marcos Baer, publisher of Portada, and Award presenter Evelyn Castro, La Prensa de Houston.
Mama’s Latinas won the 2013 Portada Content Provider to Hispanic Audiences Award: Lucia Ballas-Traynor, Publisher Mamas Latinas, Marcos Baer, publisher of Portada, and Award presenter Evelyn Castro, La Prensa de Houston.

“For us, programmatic works primarily in two ways”, Lucia Ballas-Traynor, – Co-Founder & EVP at MamásLatinas tells Portada. “We extend our marketers’ programs to our own audience across the web. Since we have such a rich data set on our consumers, as well as one of the largest pools of data about Hispanic women, our ability to target these women elsewhere is unparalleled.”Last fall, CafeMom introduced an audience targeting platform called Athena, lead by Patrick McCann – VP, Data Science and Rachel Parkin – SVP, Data Strategy & Sales. to  deliver scale and performance for the entire women’s audience. Dozens of leading women’s lifestyle sites joined the consortium, allowing to reach an audience of 60 million unique users  — which includes 44% of women in the US ages 18-34 — through CafeMom’s owned and operated properties. Athena was established in partnership  with MediaMath.

….and Private Marketplaces

In addition MamasLatinas offers a selected range of marketers access to a private market place where they can buy mostly premium inventory on CafeMom properties. “We allow marketers to access our inventory directly via private marketplaces.”, Ballas Traynor notes.

Across the above named types of programmatic trading MamasLatinas has  seen “all sorts of brands executing programmatic deals – including major CPGs, retailers, food and others. Often we are running deals for brands via our direct-sold campaigns and programmatically, so there’s a lot of overlap.”

Mamaslatinas main Ad-Tech partners are  MediaMath, Rubicon and Audience Science.

CafeMom introduced an audience targeting platform called Athena to  deliver scale and performance for the entire women’s audience. Dozens of leading women’s lifestyle sites joined the consortium, allowing to reach an audience of 60 million unique users.

Does Programmatic deliver the desired Audiences?

RTB-ProgrammaticSome marketers  have claimed that programmatic buying often doesn’t deliver the desired impressions.  We asked Ballas-Traynor whether  this is also  the case for MamásLatinas: “Because we are a specialist in this space, not a jack-of-all-trades, we excel at delivering precise desired audiences for brands. Many marketers are buying data about audiences from large data aggregators who are selling data on thousands of segments. Some audiences will be well-defined and others will be less-so. Because of the history of programmatic being so heavily direct-response oriented, the best data is in categories like travel and automotive.Since our only business is getting marketers access to a valuable Hispanic female audience (and women more broadly using our Athena audience platform), it allows us to focus in a particular area and be truly great at it, ” Ballas-Traynor notes.

 

More on Programmatic Digital Trading:
Programmatic Buying for Hispanics, what’s in it?
Programmatic: Batanga Media introduces private Ad Exchange
Programmatic? Estee Lauder, L’Oreal and Spark on when it makes sense and when it doesn’t

 

The case for Hispanic marketing just got (even) bigger. Yesterday’s executive order de facto increases the documented Hispanic population by almost 5 million consumers (95% of the undocumented population is Hispanic). While Obama’s executive order does not offer a permanent solution, it brings certainty and legality to millions of undocumented Hispanics. What are the marketing implications according to major players in the marketing and media space?

descarga (1)The U.S. will get its biggest immigration makeover in three decades in a step that is expected to eventually legalize some 5 million illegal immigrants. Any measure that makes it for the undocumented Hispanic population safer to live in the U.S. will have a positive impact on marketing. “I think the issue is that if the millions of undocumented come forward and instead of the U.S. Hispanic population being 17% of the overall population the percentage jumps closer to 20% we could potentially see an increase in advertising spending which we typically see right after census numbers are issued,” says Enedina Vega-Amaez, Vice President/Publisher of the Meredith Hispanic Ventures Group.
Enrique Arbelaez
, co-founder and partner of advertising agency XL Alliance, cautions that while “the reported Hispanic population numbers will increase, we have always worked with the assumption that Census numbers are underestimated by at least 10%+,” .

If instead of the U.S. Hispanic population being 17% of the overall population the percentage jumps closer to 20%, we could see an increase in advertising spending which we typically see right after census numbers are issued.

 

Categories Impacted

XL Alliance’s Arbelaez notes that the executive order also” brings higher income opportunities. Living under the shadows limits the jobs they seek. Now these jobs and services will be expanded as they won’t fear giving away information. Think all types of Insurance, Financial Services and any other service that require personal information.” As an example of an opportunity Arbelaez cites supermarkets who have “an opportunity to increase loyalty card programs growth, which Hispanics don’t register for due to fear of giving info.” Penni Barton, publisher of Al Dia Texas in Dallas, says that “most of these immigrants are already part of the economy, but having access to better job conditions might translate to an improved economic status, and potentially higher purchasing power. In the short term sectors like the legal counseling will see a constant trickle of customers that need representation to apply for this protected status. In the long term, we suspect that many of these immigrants will formally settle roots in their communities (thanks to the protection measure) and start buying homes, investing in higher education, and starting their own businesses. This is usually the case – legal certainty leads to stability and progress.” “We may see increased mobile/digital usage as this group of 5 million gets access to credit,”adds Lee Vann, CEO and Founder of Digital Ad Agency Captura Group.

Unfortunately marketers tend to stay in the sidelines because immigration reform is a divisive topic. I believe that if your company or industry is reaping the benefits from Latino consumption sales then you should take a stand to show gratitude and gain the loyalty of this desirable consumer.

 

Increase in Spanish-dominant Share

descarga (3)The addition of almost 5 million documented Hispanics to the population also means that the Spanish-dominant share of the Hispanic population will increase and somewhat counterweight the growth of the English-dominant population. Al Dia Dallas’ Penni Barton notes that “in markets like Texas and other border states the majority of the potential beneficiaries of this measure are Spanish-dominant Hispanics.” “After all, the nature of a Hispanic immigrant is that Spanish is their first language,” says Enrique Arbelaez from XL Alliance . He cautions, however, that the media consumption habits of these Hispanics  may not necessarily change because of their new legal status.

Lucia Ballas-Traynor, Co-Founder & EVP, MamásLatinas, suspects that the majority of the undocumented immigrant population is Spanish-dominant. However, she claims that “every Latino has been affected by the inaction around immigration reform. Most Latinos have a friend, family member, neighbor, colleague or employee who is undocumented. Our extended definition of familia means it affects Latinos of all acculturation levels.” Ballas Traynor adds that “until undocumented immigrants receive long term legal status I don’t think their media consumptions habits will dramatically change. If their legal status changes permanently then I think digital media – social, e-commerce and other channels will see a greater degree of participation as they come out from the shadows.” Similarly Captura Group’s Lee Vann notes that “Of course these immigrants will have access to better jobs, loans and be able to travel more freely which will have a positive impact on the economy, if you think about it, the 5 million undocumented immigrants have been integrated into the economy, consuming content, viewing ads and purchasing products.”

 

Caution: Not permanent

It is important to take into account that Obama’s executive order is temporary in nature and not really a long-term comprehensive plan. Says Al Dia Texas’ Penni Barton: “While it lends a helping hand to some, it is not a comprehensive solution to the general issue of illegal non-authorized immigration.”

Mama’s Latinas Lucia Ballas-Traynor agrees with Barton, “until we have long term and comprehensive immigration reform I don’t think there will be a significant impact on Hispanic marketing. President Obama’s executive action is shielding undocumented Latinos from deportation and providing temporary legal status which will allow Latino families to remain united. However, his plan does not seem to provide a pathway to citizenship and most importantly no entitlement to federal benefits such as health care. I hope his move promotes Congressional action around the issue of immigration reform which has been at a standstill for decades.”

 

Obama’s Executive Order
Under the plan announced last night by Obama, undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for five years or more, have children who are citizens or legal residents, formally register, pass a criminal background check, and are willing to pay their “fair share” of taxes will be able to stay in the country without fear of deportation. The rules could impact up to 5 million of the more than 11 million undocumented immigrants believed to be residing in the U.S. The crux of the White House’s plan is to protect undocumented parents of children born in the US from deportation. It would also expand a program created by the administration in 2012 called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which allows young people who were brought into the country as children to apply for deportation deferrals and work permits. The plan would extend eligibility to people who entered the United States as children before January 2010 (the cutoff is currently June 15, 2007). It would also increase the deferral period to three years from two years and eliminate the requirement that applicants be under 31 years old. About 1.2 million young immigrants are currently eligible, and the new plan would expand eligibility to approximately 300,000 more.

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