After years of explosive demographic growth, Latinos are not only defining the trends and culture of today’s new American mainstream, but they are now in the unique position to decide this election. As a marketing association, we have seen how getting Hispanic marketing right can make or break a business’s ROI, and it is the same in politics. The Hispanic impact is on the mind of every CMO today, and organizations — political or otherwise — that wish to stay viable need to understand their audience and what’s important to them, identify the right ambassadors and connect authentically where they are.
Just as companies that understand the pivotal roles played by Latina women and Millennials develop strategies to reach them, the political parties who used savvy marketing approaches based on consumer insights may end up on top; this would also include the complex nuances attached to the various countries of ancestry. While many organizations flooded the airwaves with voter registration campaigns, targeted grassroots efforts tackling hot-button issues like education, healthcare and immigration may have helped spur Latinos to vote.
According to a recent article in the New York Times, early voter turnouts in highly contested states had record turnouts by Hispanics. In Florida, nearly one million of the 6.2 million early votes were cast by Hispanics, a 75% increase over 2012. In addition, new voters are taking to the polls; according to a University of Florida analysis, more than a third of Hispanics who have cast ballots to date did not vote in November 2012. The results of this election will not just be about the emotionally triggered issues but also which candidate had a more finely attuned marketing campaign to connect more effectively with Latinos of all ages.
Enter the Latino Millennial. Surpassing Baby Boomers as the largest generation, Millennials are the most politically active with more than 70% indicating they hold themselves accountable to follow politics and 77% saying they’re headed to the polls today, according to a recent study by Richards/Lerma. While unprecedented connectivity and an affinity for higher education tend to define this segment, Hispanic Millennials over-index their peers in American pride and skew liberal, a break with previous Hispanic generations that were more conservative on hot-button topics like abortion, same-sex marriage and foreign policy.
Race issues, the economy, terrorism/homeland security, healthcare, debt to spending, and immigration are important to them, and yet Millennials across all ethnicities are dissatisfied with today’s traditional left/right political system. Will many opt for a third-party candidate? We aren’t sure, but the report by Richards/Lerma begs the question of whether our current system can embrace and evolve with the demands that this generation and those to come will bring to the table.
Regardless of today’s winner, this election will be historic because we will see the tangible results of a mobilized Latino community determined to make their mark on American politics and have their voice heard. And the Latino influence won’t end there. It will continue to grow and shape other areas of society, including business and the way we connect and consume information. This reinforces the critical need for diverse marketing specialists to help companies maximize this impact by navigating these complex issues today and as Hispanics become the new majority.