I think 2011 will result in even more changes than I boldly forecast last year. I think by the time 2012 rolls around, we're barely going to recognize the Hispanic marketing space that has seem tremendous growth -- more people, more media companies, and more agencies -- but changed very little since 2000. Here are my revised, emboldened predictions for Hispanic marketing in 2011:
Prediction #1 The death of the Hispanic advertising agency
2010 was definitely the year of the full-on assault on Hispanic advertising agencies -- starting with the Home Depot controversy in April, Crispin Porter's absorption of Burger King Hispanic in August, and the Association of National Advertisers conference controversy in September. 2011 will no doubt see a continued push by general market agencies into the Hispanic market. Not only will they continue this push by staffing up on Hispanic advertising talent, but also through acquisitions.
I have firsthand knowledge of at least a few such acquisition plans from some big ad agency players. Moreover, advertisers, particularly those in "minority-majority" markets such as Southern California, will begin to follow El Pollo Loco's lead and consolidate their Hispanic and General Market advertising accounts. Factor in the fact that Hispanic ad agencies have been painfully slow in building digital capabilities -- they've made a valiant "too little, too late" effort during the last 12-18 months -- and the writing is in on the wall: the start of a slow death for the Hispanic advertising agency model as we now know it.
Prediction #2 Hispanic PR officially becomes Hispanic Social Media
2010 was also the year that Hispanic PR agencies took the plunge and fully embraced social media as the future of their industry. The success of the inaugural Hispanic PR & Social Media Conference and the LATISM Latino2 tour highlighted the coming of age of Hispanic social media. Hispanic bloggers and social media influencers have established themselves as the key centers of influence in the Hispanic community. This was coupled with the continued change in Spanish print media, which has started to feel the decline in readership resulting from consumer's shift online and the recession.
Looking ahead at 2011, I see a continued decline in Hispanic print coupled with an equally sharp rise in niche and "long-tail" Hispanic publishers -- whether they are bloggers, Facebook influencers, or small Websites -- with what were formerly "Hispanic PR" agencies and professionals positioning themselves as the expert guides of this growing and increasingly prominent Hispanic social media space.
Prediction #3 -- Digital leapfrogs "Hispanic"
During the boom years of Hispanic digital (2005-2008), the Hispanic digital media market looked a lot like the Hispanic traditional media landscape -- a handful of prominent Spanish-language portals / mega-publishers that owned the market -- Batanga.com, Univision.com, Terra.com, and Starmedia.com -- surrounded by a lots of small upstart ad networks -- Gorilla Nation, HispanoClick, Consorte Media -- and a couple of key general market publisher extensions into the Hispanic market -- ESPNDeportes.com, CNNEspanol.com, etc. -- that got the scraps.
During the last 12-18 months, the Hispanic digital media market has fragmented, led by the technology such as behavioral targeting, demand side platforms (DSPs) and ad networks with immense scale and reach. While the Univision.com's and Terra.com's of the Hispanic digital media market will not be going away anytime soon, their days as "market makers" are numbered.
Looking ahead, as Hispanic digital media consumption becomes more social (Facebook) and personal (mobile), and mirrored Spanish Websites /microsites become a relic of the past -- recent research and Best Buy's well chronicled experience shows that Hispanic consumers have come to view Spanish sites as inherently inferior to "main" English language sites -- the Hispanic digital marketing space will be unlike anything veteran Hispanic marketers have grown accustomed to seeing in their analog Hispanic world.
Prediction #4 The multicultural mainstream becomes a reality
Multicultural consumers already make up 35% of the entire U.S. population. Guess what will happen to that%age when the 2010 Census numbers come out this spring? Welcome to the new multicultural mainstream -- a new America where close to 40% of the overall population is multicultural: Hispanic, Black, Asian and multi-racial. DMAs like Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C., are already "minority majority" markets -- Hispanics, Blacks and Asians make up more than 50% of the total population.
Expect new cities like New York and Chicago to join the list. This will only put more pressure on advertisers, particularly regional ones, to reassess how they allocate marketing resources to ethnic groups like Hispanics. My theory is more of the "El Pollo Loco" phenomenon from Prediction #1 as advertisers consolidate their Hispanic and other multicultural marketing efforts with their general market ad agencies.
Prediction #5 The birth of the Hispanic Youth Market
The last two years have seen a steady increase in dialogue among marketers about the Hispanic youth market (Hispanics under the age of 24). The statistics are already mind-boggling:
I predict that the 2010 Census figures regarding Hispanic Youth will be the most unexpected -- and growing! Yet the Hispanic youth market represents a conundrum for Hispanic marketers -- a growing market that increasingly identifies and shows pride in its Hispanic heritage but consumes very little Spanish-language media and sees the world through color-blind lenses. This will be the toughest nut to crack for marketers and advertising professionals of all stripes -- general market, Hispanic, digital, direct response, social media and everything in between. Yet I see Hispanic youth as the biggest marketing opportunity to come out of 2011.
Think of 2011 as the year of creative destruction in Hispanic marketing -- some things will die, a lot will change, and brand new opportunities will sprout from the ashes.