New Years Resolutions for Hispanic Marketers
December 12th, 2008
Posted by Jose Villa
As 2009 quickly approaches us, I figured I would get a head start on setting some resolutions for the New Year. For the Hispanic marketing and advertising industry, 2009 figures to be a year full of old threats and new life, slowdowns and growth, and ultimately challenges and opportunities. The macro-economic picture looks unstable, there will be some seismic shifts in the auto, banking and housing industries, and a new administration with the old challenges of immigration policy and rapidly changing U.S. demographics. Looking specifically at the Hispanic population, growth will be coupled with geographic dispersion, and the continued rise of Latino youth and aging Latino baby boomer populations. So what better way to wade into the waters of 2009 than by setting some New Yearâ€™s Resolutions for the advertisers, agencies, and media companies that drive our industry?
Letâ€™s start with the advertisers and their brands at the top of the food chain. Here are two resolutions for brand managers, directors of multicultural marketing, and their colleagues that manage the Hispanic marketing efforts of corporate America:
Advertiser Resolution 1 â€“ 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? Where are the largest concentrations of our target Hispanic consumers? Commission Focus Groups to understand perceptions of your brand and competitors. Work with research partners to answer some of 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 â€“ Take a Fresh Look at Your Approach to Hispanic Marketing
If you and your agency partners donâ€™t do what the military calls â€œafter action reviewsâ€ or â€œpost-mortemsâ€ on your past Hispanic marketing effort, resolve to do one for your 2008 efforts. Identify what worked â€“ and what didnâ€™t. Establish best practices. Every marketer typically has a â€œsweet spotâ€ where they always perform well â€“ be it that annual sponsorship of the Fiesta Broadway or local radio. 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 â€“ 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.) to name a few.
Jumping over to the Hispanic agencies that develop and steward many of the Hispanic marketing programs, I would like to suggest 2 resolutions:
Agency Resolution 1 â€“ Find and Focus on Your Core Competency
As we move into the 2009, there is no doubt that Hispanic advertising agencies will be challenged like never before to defend their position vis-Ã -vis increasing competition from general market ad agencies and 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. As so elegantly articulated in Tim Williamsâ€™ book â€œTake a Stand for Your Brand,â€ Hispanic advertising agencies need to identify their core purpose and value proposition. Whether that is Hispanic youth marketing, or grass-roots marketing, an agency without a differentiated core competency will have a hard time in 2009 and beyond. Conversely, Hispanic ad agencies that commit themselves to core competencies and clear, differentiated purpose will thrive.
Agency Resolution 2 â€“ 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. Iâ€™m not suggesting you become a digital agency. However, that does not mean that Hispanic agencies can ignore the deep and systemic effect that digital advertising has had on advertising in general. In the general market, digital advertising has ushered in a new paradigm in accountability and measurement that is affecting all aspects of advertising, from broadcast TV to â€œbelow-the-lineâ€ tactics such as event marketing. With the aforementioned pressure on advertising budgets, direct response programs will only increase in favor vs. 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 their approach to align with this new reality.
Finally, as we look at the Hispanic media industry, I offer one broad resolution:
Media Resolution 1 – Invest in Digital
As Iâ€™ve pointed out for brands and agencies, digital is changing the advertising game. If you havenâ€™t put serious resources behind digital platforms, now is â€œdo or dieâ€ time. Hispanic media companies, from TV broadcasters, to radio stations, to newspapers, have had the luxury of advance notice and the lessons of their general market counterparts. If you think you can put your head in the sand and ignore broad shifts in consumer media habits towards digital and personalized â€œon-demandâ€ media platforms like the Internet, TIVOs, and iPods, ask the Tribune Company what will happen. Although the Hispanic consumer market traditional lags behind the general market in technology and new media adoption, this only gives you time.
To borrow a tagline from a very successful marketer in 2008, â€œchange is coming.â€ For those of us in Hispanic marketing, resolve to embrace that change and thrive!
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