The Hispanic market reminds me of the stock market. Both are filled with loud noise from its participants that make it very hard to understand clearly how to best capitalize on it.
A recent survey by Google in which they interviewed a select panel of senior-level marketers to determine if the U.S. Hispanic market was on their roadmaps showed that even though they clearly recognized the opportunity most brands didn’t have a Hispanic marketing strategy. In fact, most of these marketing leaders estimated that 11–25% of their company’s growth would come from Hispanic consumers in the next three to five years. According to the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA), the top 500 advertisers in the U.S. spend between 5 and 6% of their budgets when targeting Hispanics at a time when Hispanics represent 17% of the population.
In my humble opinion, one of the main reasons why brand leaders are not investing what they should in going after the Hispanic market despite its huge potential is the loud noise that surrounds it.
So where is this loud noise coming from?
The Complexity and Jargon Acculturated, Bicultural, Total market, cross-cultural, multi-cultural, Hispanic, ambicultural, Hispanic vs. Multicultural, Caribbean vs. Mexican, US born vs. immigrant, Hispanic Millennials, etc.. This market is obviously highly complex; but the endless jargon and the number of opposing views don’t simplify it for the non-experts; instead, they make it more confusing. Put these factors together and you create noise.
The Agencies There are Hispanic, Multicultural, Cross-cultural, Total Market and General Market agencies that steer clients to a wide array of different approaches to capitalize on this market. The different approaches are widely debated at the different industry conferences every year. At the same time, many of these agencies have been evolving their skill-set from traditional marketing to trying to master social media/digital marketing. All these different approaches, players and change make it very difficult for CMOs to avoid questioning whether they have the right agency and approach. More noise.
The Disruption in Marketing The traditional marketing approaches are not as effective anymore. Google is very clear about the Hispanic market opportunity that exists in digital marketing: "U.S. Hispanics are ahead of the curve when it comes to digital. They lead in adoption of new devices. They are power users of mobile and over-index in video consumption." Despite these facts, marketers have only scratched the surface when it comes to reaching and engaging Hispanics effectively through digital/social media channels. Marketing approaches and tools are evolving faster than brands’ ability to adapt. Every day, our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn feeds get bombarded with the latest points of view and tactics from the ever-expanding constellation of marketing experts of every stripe: digital, social media, content, multicultural, etc. The noise is deafening.
I recently interviewed Gary Vaynerchuk on my podcast. He is one of the world’s top social media experts and New York Times best-selling author of Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook, which I consider the best thinking today on how to use social media to build brands successfully. Gary is very clear about the current stage of social media: He mentions that we are in the early wild-wild west days much like in the early days of the internet when very few really knew how to win but many thought they did.
With all this noise, no wonder CMOs are not investing what they should in the Hispanic market. What on paper looks like a tremendous market opportunity in practice can feel like a risky wild goose chase with countless experts, agencies and points of view all pulling you in different directions.
But are we looking for answers in the right places?
To find clarity, I suggest you cut through the noise and figure out your own answers:
Inspiration can be found in how some of the best tech entrepreneurs have cut through the noise in a fast changing market. Look no farther than the Lean Startup Methodology, which advocates that entrepreneurs try out their initial product hypothesis in the market, quickly gain feedback from it, then refine and iterate it until they find the right product and business model.
Empower a group of smart culturally savvy marketers and embrace the Lean Startup Methodology. Try what you think can work, start small, learn, refine until you find the solution with which your brand can win and only then scale.
There are no easy answers in this market but one thing is clear: Noise doesn’t bring clarity, it only makes heads spin…