New Year's Resolutions For Hispanic Marketers

As 2009 quickly approaches, I figured I would get a head start on setting resolutions for the New Year. For the Hispanic marketing and advertising industry, 2009 figures to be full of old threats and new life, slowdowns and growth, and ultimately challenges and opportunities. So what better way to wade into the waters of 2009 than by setting some New Year's resolutions for advertisers, agencies and media companies.

Advertiser Resolution 1: Re-Invest in Research
In times of great change, it will be critical to re-evaluate some of the key assumptions and insights that have driven your past Hispanic marketing efforts. The most basic questions should be re-evaluated, because you might be surprised at the answer. How large is the Hispanic market for my product or service? What does my target Hispanic consumer look like? Commission focus groups to understand perceptions of your brand and competitors. Work with research partners to answer the aforementioned questions. If it has been more than a year since you did significant research on the Hispanic market, you might be surprised at the results.



Advertiser Resolution 2: Take a Fresh Look at Your Approach to Hispanic Marketing
If you and your agency partners don't do what the military calls "after action reviews" or "post-mortems" on your past Hispanic marketing efforts, resolve to do one for 2008. Identify what worked and what didn't. Establish best practices. Most importantly, rethink your media mix. Although the Hispanic media landscape has evolved slower than its general market counterparts, there is no denying that things have changed drastically. Changing demographics in the U.S. Hispanic market have been accompanied by distinct changes in media habits - including the adoption of new media (Internet, mobile, etc.), continued proliferation of cable TV and a shift to digital platforms (digital TV, digital out-of-home, etc.).

Agency Resolution 1: Find and Focus on Your Core Competency
Hispanic advertising agencies will be challenged in 2009 like never before to defend their position against increasing competition from general market agencies and to make a clear value proposition to clients facing budget constraints. As expert marketers, we all preach to our clients the folly of trying to be everything to everyone. The same applies to Hispanic ad agencies. Whether your focus is Hispanic youth marketing or grass-roots marketing, an agency without a differentiated core competency will have a hard time. Conversely, Hispanic ad agencies that commit themselves to core competencies and clear, differentiated purpose will thrive.

Agency Resolution 2: Think about How Digital Will Change How You Do What You Do
It would be a contradiction of Agency Resolution 1 to recommend that every Hispanic advertising agency embrace digital advertising as a core competency. I'm not suggesting you become a digital agency. However, that does not mean Hispanic agencies can ignore the deep and systemic effect that digital advertising has had on the advertising industry. In the general market, digital advertising has ushered in a new paradigm in accountability and measurement that is affecting all aspects of advertising. With the aforementioned pressure on advertising budgets, direct response programs will only increase in favor versus their branding brethren. Most importantly, digital platforms have redefined the media discussion from concepts like reach and frequency to engagement and immersion. Any Hispanic agency that plans on thriving, let alone surviving, needs to rethink and retool its approach to align with this new reality.

Media Resolution 1: Invest in Digital
If you haven't put serious resources behind digital platforms, now is "do or die" time. Hispanic media companies - TV broadcasters, radio stations and newspapers - have had the luxury of advance notice and the lessons of their general market counterparts. If you think you can ignore broad shifts in consumer media habits toward digital and personalized "on-demand" media platforms like the Internet, TiVos, and iPods, ask the Tribune Company what will happen. Although the Hispanic consumer market traditionally lags behind the general market in technology and new media adoption, this only gives you time, not the option of inaction.

To borrow a tagline from a very successful marketer in 2008, "change is coming!" For those of us in Hispanic marketing, resolve to embrace that change and thrive!

1 comment about "New Year's Resolutions For Hispanic Marketers ".
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  1. Tom Kadala from ResearchPAYS, Inc., January 8, 2009 at 1:54 p.m.

    I enjoyed reading the article but frankly could not distinguish the difference between how the many salient points applied to Hispanic marketing and the general market.

    Hello! Change is in the air for every market not just for Hispanics. ...thanks to our current financial crisis! Now, may be the perfect time to rewrite some of the fundamental changes needed to address both the general and Hispanic markets.

    Just to trigger some thinking... who will be the principal driver in the next 3 to 5 years, the Hispanic market or the general market. Will the emerging Hispanic ad agencies become the powerhouses who will then subcontract 'general market' work to the likes of Saatchi & Saatchi?

    I realize the radical nature of my statement but keep in mind that it's purpose is to get people to start thinking out of the box, including this talented author, Jose Villa.

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