Hispanic Agencies Aren't Fading; The Ones That Evolve Are Getting Stronger

A recent post in this publication, “Why Hispanic Agencies Are Fading,” grabbed my attention and, I am sure, the attention of many of my colleagues in the Hispanic advertising agency business.

Although I agree with many of the points expressed in the post, I don’t agree with the conclusion. Hispanic agencies are not fading. In fact, the good ones are evolving in lock step with a dynamic consumer, and getting stronger amid a fast-moving industry.

Having co-founded a digitally focused Hispanic advertising agency 15 years ago, I can tell you that our business is getting stronger because we have proactively and continuously evolved. I also know that this is true for many other Hispanic agencies that stay ahead of the curve and do consistently great work.

True, we are focused on digital which in and of itself is growing, but the real reason our agency is not fading is because our clients believe in the Hispanic market, they believe in us, and we provide them with value. Period.



Instead of just accepting that current Hispanic marketing industry contradictions will stunt our growth, we have turned these contradictions into positives to help us and, most importantly, our clients grow. 

Here’s our take on turning potential obstacles in the areas of talent, budgets, integration, and client education into positives.

Hire great people and create an awesome culture

Any agency is only as good as its people and good people like to work at places where they are valued. From what I’ve heard, traditional agencies are tough places to work. High levels of bureaucracy, difficult politics, and super long hours make it hard for people to be happy. Happy employees make happy clients and successful agencies create a culture that focuses on making their team love their jobs and the work that they do.

Budgets are allocated to initiatives that drive ROI

At the simplest level, marketers are trying to invest their money in initiatives that drive the best return on investment. Marketers that successfully drive ROI are then given larger budgets. It follows then, that for Hispanic agencies to be assigned bigger marketing budgets, they must drive ROI. I agree that Hispanic budgets can be smaller and the first to be cut, but this should provide Hispanic agencies with even more incentive to demonstrate that they have what it takes, and to prove that the Hispanic market is a good investment.

Embrace integrated campaigns as a way to shine

There are many ways to execute a Hispanic-focused campaign strategically and creatively. Would it be nice to integrate the Hispanic consumer at the onset of planning? Of course, but sometimes that is not possible and clients are looking to their agencies to not only be strategic and creative, but also efficient and flexible. Hispanic agencies that take great pride in adapting general market thinking and creative assets, and find a way to make them work for the Hispanic consumer, will only get stronger. They will partner with other, sometimes competitive agency partners, and focus on what’s right for the client. Hispanic agencies should not shy away from integrated campaigns; instead, they should view them as opportunities to succeed for their clients.

Educated marketers understand both the opportunity and challenge of the Hispanic market

If you are in marketing and don’t know that Hispanics are the nation's largest minority, control over $1.5 trillion in buying power, drive most consumer industries, and tune into more programming than just novelas, you should maybe look for another job. Today’s best marketers not only understand the importance of the Hispanic market, but also that this consumer is extremely diverse across culture, language, age, geography, media, technology usage, and other factors. As Hispanic agencies, our job is to continuously partner with and educate our clients on the Hispanic market, including both the opportunity and the challenge of it.

To those of my colleagues in the Hispanic advertising agency business: Let’s show them that we are not fading, but actually getting stronger.

4 comments about "Hispanic Agencies Aren't Fading; The Ones That Evolve Are Getting Stronger".
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  1. Anna Christina S. from Freelance Designer, June 9, 2016 at 1:07 p.m.

    We’re in a situation today where the traditional Hispanic ad agencies of yesterday are dying and going away, and being replaced by one or two part time translators at mainstream agencies nationwide.

    Again, Hispanic ad agencies did this to themselves. They made themselves obsolete, and they are putting themselves out of business.

    They insisted that the American Hispanic market was driven only by language, and that a slew of foreign hires from Spain or South America could step into America and instantly grasp the American Hispanic market, culture be damned. Who needs to hire anyone in the American market when you can hire 20, 30 of your foreign friends at a time in the case of some Hispanic agencies?

    What clients learned was that culture doesn’t matter, only Spanish language does.

    So they went ahead and had their General Market agencies hire one Spanish copywriter instead of a team of Latin@s. They call this “Total Market”. There’s zero Hispanic cultural insight, it’s just work that was made for other markets but has a Spanish translation over the top. 

  2. Lee Vann from Captura Group replied, June 9, 2016 at 4:46 p.m.

    Hi Anna - thanks for your comment. I agree that what you bring up is happening, but at the end of the day, this approach won't work in the long run and savvy brands will realize this and turn to professionals who truly know their craft.

  3. Lisa Urias from Urias Communications, June 10, 2016 at 2:15 p.m.

    If Hispanics are "the market" (which we are) Hispanic agencies should be led by people who reflect the market. It's frustrating to hear so many suggest we aren't capable of doing that, when in fact, it only makes sense to have Hisapnics lead the agency and strategy.

  4. Lee Vann from Captura Group, June 10, 2016 at 4:10 p.m.

    Thanks for your comment Lisa!  The only way to change this perception, is to prove them wrong by doing work that drives results.

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