Commentary

Using Corporate Entrepreneurship To Champion Hispanic Budgets

A new fiscal year is in sight and you still have no measurable Hispanic or multicultural budget. You’ve shown the C-suite the purchasing power numbers, the demographic trends, and the generational trends to no avail. Well, you’re not alone; 49% of respondents in a recent CMO Council study admitted they do not have a multicultural marketing initiative in place. 

You understand the critical inflection point that is going to occur sooner rather than later. But such insights merely compound your frustration while a meaningful budget to research or market to the growing Hispanic or multicultural populations in the U.S. continues to elude you. 

If your TED Talk quality PowerPoint didn’t do the trick, what will? Corporate entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship can be a useful framework to help you secure that Hispanic or multicultural budget your company needs. 

What is corporate entrepreneurship?

Corporate entrepreneurship is often thought of as innovation specific to new products or services, but that is only a small piece of what it represents. Innovations in processes, organizational structures, and culture are all examples of corporate entrepreneurship. 

According to corporate entrepreneurship expert Jeremy Dann, “[It] is the practice of employing entrepreneurial skills and approaches within an organization.” Furthermore, Dann contends that in order to achieve and sustain a true competitive advantage in today’s global business environment, “companies must be faster, more creative, nimble, flexible and innovative. Resource availability may be limited or non-existent to support new innovations and initiatives. In other words, organizations must be more entrepreneurial.”

This is clearly applicable to the championing of Hispanic budgets within large organizations. So, what are some corporate entrepreneurship tools you can utilize? Here are a few examples:

Tools of the corporate entrepreneur

  • Rewards and incentives are well-established as a way to acknowledge and encourage work that advances a company’s interest. Given the value of implementing multicultural marketing initiatives, a system of incentives and rewards for achievement in this area could be a good way to build enthusiasm and get others to take up your cause. 
  • Organizational design is a methodology that detects inefficiencies within procedures, systems, and workflow areas and adjusts these to better match the actual needs of the organization. In today’s market, overlooking a growing segment of the population – and the revenue opportunity it represents — might be identified as a glaring deficiency that must be addressed, and quickly.
  • “Skunk works” generally refers to teams who are working on groundbreaking or strategically significant projects outside a company’s normal project development structure. With dedicated focus and speed as hallmarks, a skunk works culture could provide the impetus to get your Hispanic and multicultural marketing initiates up and running, with measurable results. 
  • Enterprise-wide innovation can provide solutions for companies facing disruption due to factors such as a change in market demographics. Insightful leaders sometimes empower employees to contribute ideas and even make decisions, working, of course, within the organization’s structure. When employees thus present innovative and practical ways to market to the Hispanic consumer, the C-suite just might be impressed enough to allocate the budget needed to see the ideas through.
  • Corporate research could supply the requisite data to justify a slice of the budget pie. According to Harvard Business Review, “A growing number of managers now recognize both the long-term value of an effective research program and the need to manage such a program differently from other functions of the corporation.” One study cited in the HBR article showed a direct relationship between long-term research investment and productivity increase. 
  • Incubation and design thinking, often used to nurture corporate entrepreneurship, can also be applied to helping fulfill your marketing wish list. What level of interest might you spark by developing a master plan for attracting Hispanic customers? Design thinking can help you to anticipate complexities that may arise, and to be prepared with solutions like A/B testing and customer journey mapping. 
  • Engagement with startups is another approach that gives corporate leaders access to new ideas and strategies. Collaborating with forward-thinking entrepreneurs can help to elevate and defend market position, to the benefit of both parties. 

You get the idea. These are just a few examples of how you can apply the tools and principles of corporate entrepreneurship in your mission to reach the Hispanic market. Thinking like a corporate entrepreneur will likely engender a wealth of ideas on ways use other tools, such as alliances and acquisitions, use of corporate venture capital, new venture groups, and open innovation, to further your efforts.

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