I’ve talked a lot about the growing importance of non-traditional, emerging Hispanic markets like Atlanta, Charlotte, N.C., and Washington, D.C. A lot of focus has been on population growth. However, there is something bigger going on with these markets. I believe their emergence is a game-changer for Hispanic marketing.
First off, they are the ideal Hispanic test markets. We all know Hispanic marketing activity is still “test” driven outside committed categories like CPG, QSR, and telecom. The long tail of newer entrants are perpetually testing, driving a significant amount of activity in Hispanic marketing. Many of the non-traditional Hispanic markets are a perfect fit for these “test” Hispanic marketers, checking off all the key criteria of an optimal test market:
These markets are also big in their own right. When you add up the Hispanic population of the 15 fastest-growing markets, you get close to 8 million Hispanics representing over 13% of the entire U.S. Hispanic market. These markets are often overlooked or cut out of limited Hispanic marketing budgets. This creates a low level of competition in many categories. When you factor back in the affordability of advertising in these markets, you have a results-driven recipe for Hispanic market success.
Putting growth aside, the demographic makeup of their growing Hispanic community and their relationship to the broader population of their cities makes them attractive. Growth in these markets is from Hispanic immigrants who are younger and largely Spanish speaking. Spanish-dominant and Spanish-preferring make up significant percentages of Hispanics in markets like Raleigh (39%), Atlanta (39%), and Milwaukee (38%). They are still decidedly “minorities,” providing a “separate and distinct” market opportunity well suited for Hispanic-targeted marketing initiatives. This is different from the Hispanic population in mega-markets like LA and Miami, which is largely growing via native-born Hispanics who are leading the creation of a more nuanced “new mainstream.” Moreover, it will be a while until Hispanics represent 30% to 50% of the population in Raleigh (11%) and Kansas City, Mo. (10%), as they do in Houston and Dallas.
Finally, these non-traditional markets provide interesting opportunities to A-B test the various multicultural marketing models being debated, particularly “Total Market” versus the “multicultural” ethnic-specific approach. Borrowing a concept from the digital marketing handbook, you can look at the 10 Hispanic “Mega Markets” (where Hispanic make up ~ 30% or more of the population) as the places to test the Total Market approach and the “emerging 10” as markets to run Hispanic-specific multicultural programs and see how they do.
If you’re still using the 7-Market Hispanic Marketing Model, you’re missing out on a big opportunity today and potentially the future of the market.