Commentary

Earn An A+ On Your 'Regreso A Clases' Report Card

If regreso a clases, aka "back to school" (BTS), marketing plays an important role in your brands' programs, well, by now you should be locking in the final details with your retail partners. Major retailers like Target, Walmart, Family Dollar, and Walgreens are deep into their BTS planning. What many BTS programs overlook, however, is the critical role Hispanics play in the scholastic season. Following are key points you should be mulling over as your team lays out its pre-store, in-store, and post-store BTS retail plans.

(A)  The Count

Although Latinos represent fully 18% of the U.S. population, this count climbs to nearly one-quarter (23.9%) when you factor in national public school enrollment, according to census data analyses by the Pew Research Center. In reality, the 23.9 figure is a metaphorical bucket of lukewarm water, because the actual figure is much higher when you take a closer look at states like California, Illinois, Florida, and Texas, where the Hispanic public school population is far higher. For example, the Dallas ISD (independent school district) is more than 50% Hispanic. On the other hand, that same bucket is ice water in a number of other states, where lower densities put the Hispanic population well below average.

(B)  The Fuel

Hispanics' larger households fuel greater spending during the BTS season. According to Nielsen, Hispanic families have 3.4 persons per household vs. 2.4 for non-Hispanics. In fact, Hispanic households have seen a 50% increase in population since 2000. Hispanics' hyper growth in college enrollment (240% increase from 1996 to 2012, according to Pew) translates into more trips to the store. To cite a recent study by ThinkNow Research, Hispanics on average plan to spend $339 on BTS purchases vs. $331 among non-Hispanics. But when you examine shopper trends among the less acculturated population, this figure jumps to $453. 

(C)  The Passion Point

A friend once confided that one man with passion can outdo 100 men with purpose. That's one reason education is a passion point among Hispanics. A 2013 survey by Pew revealed that 57% of Hispanic registered voters called education "extremely important." In fact, education rated higher than the economy (52%), healthcare (43%), and immigration (32%). So education is it: número uno. The shopper implication is implicit. Since this emotionally charged issue is so close to Hispanic hearts, they will devote above-average attention to it pre-store and in-store. Simply put, they are going to spend proportionately more of their income on BTS trips because education is so tied up with their hopes and dreams.

The BTS equation is as basic as: The Count x The Fuel x The Passion Point = The No Brainer. It's an equation that merits deep thought about how you can activate BTS with Hispanic shoppers. Ask yourself:  Were our ideas conceived while taking into account Hispanic insights, from the strategic platform to the creative articulation? Are we armed with relevant tactics to increase the reach of our program with Hispanic shoppers? Or do we need different tactics to reach those shoppers, since they approach our category very differently? When you have the correct answers to those questions, you'll be on the smart road to an A+ on your regreso a clase report card.

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