A consistent message has been widely expressed throughout forums like this one, books and traditional and new media. Phrases like “the Hispanic market represents a critical opportunity for your business today” or “there is potentially a huge opportunity for marketers” make reference to what some studies and statistics seem to indicate: Hispanic consumers as a group represent a market potentially worth a trillion dollars.
These assumed opportunities are driving corporations like Google to “accelerat[e] its focus on building out YouTube channels for the Hispanic market through partnerships with independent and traditional media companies […] to create content that is relevant to a variety of demographics, including second-and-third generation Hispanics.”
The importance of these outlets, where consumers themselves are creating ever-growing amounts of content that is truly authentic and relevant to the issues affecting them, is evident.
This is crucial because new data are also surfacing and they point to less optimistic aspects of the market. They suggest that the very impressive marketing opportunity and potential the Hispanic group represents may be in danger.
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, “The median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households.” Also, “the net worth of Hispanic households decreased from $18,359 in 2005 to $6,325 in 2009.”
The trickle down effect of this harsher economic realty for many Hispanic families also leads to other issues.
The record number of high school drop-out rates among young Latino adolescent--who must now find jobs to compensate for the reduced family income--runs the risk of not only loosing a generation of students, but creating a generation of an under-prepared-workforce, that will have less income earning potential and will further add to the declining economic power of their families and in turn, of the entire group as a whole.
This is compounded by the consequences of another perilous situation many of them are coping with: Their migratory status.
The rising number of attempted suicides—one of them successful—as well as an increasing number of depression related conditions affecting young undocumented Hispanics, can be attributed to the turmoil surrounding the so called DREAM Act. Many of these youth face a conundrum created by the very dream their undocumented parents pursued for them--The American Dream and its promise of rewards for hard work through equal opportunity—and the realities of their status.
As divergent as these sets of data may be, they all relate to the complex nature of what is more than a group of consumers. A more complete picture of this diverse culture and its unique set of circumstances can help anyone trying to understand it, see where the key of efficient targeting lays.
Besides traditional efforts, another way to effectively reach this culture is by being aware and supporting of the community in the areas that are relevant to them. A byproduct of this involvement could be, not only consumers that have a better ability to buy products, but also loyal customers who feel a bond with the brands that are truly interested and involved in their needs.
Perhaps a supplement to regular campaigns could also be initiatives such as “This community effort is sponsored by ___________” or “This educational Vlog is brought to you by ___________.”
We as advertisers and our clients, have a unique opportunity to participate, not just in the economic wellbeing, but in the overall wealth of an incredible, fascinating group of individuals, who have a depth of spirit and strength of character not unlike the one that was required to build this nation - a group that is the other half of the symbiotic relationship between Hispanic consumers and brands. Where does your brand stand?