Entering Emerging U.S. Hispanic Markets

By Richie and Lucia Matthews

There is great motivation for brands to invest more public relations and marketing dollars into the established American Hispanic markets. However, the following points leave little room to second-guess the benefits of investing in “emerging” U.S. Hispanic markets.

Respond to Hispanics’ Needs and Behaviors

In 2000, the majority of U.S. Hispanics lived in California, Texas, Arizona and Florida. Although these four states have maintained their Hispanic population status, they did not develop as much as other American markets such as the South and Midwest.

All but six states in the U.S. experienced Latino population growth of over 40 percent between the years of 2000 and 2010. In the last ten years, southern states such as North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and Tennessee, have almost doubled their Hispanic population. Many Midwestern states saw huge increases in the agriculture and manufacturing communities.

The National Basketball Association is a good example of an organization that has expanded its marketing plans to fit the changing Hispanic market landscape.

Sakia Sorrosa, the Multicultural Marketing V.P. for the NBA said, “This Latino influx into non-traditional markets has had a significant impact in our Hispanic attendance. In markets like Denver, for example, 24 percent of all attendance is now comprised of Hispanic fans; in Philadelphia, that number is 18 percent; Milwaukee 11 percent; and Salt Lake City 9 percent.”

Pointing out how many NBA franchises are benefitting by aggressively responding to market forces, Ms. Sorrosa added, “These teams in smaller markets have even started customizing their in-arena and grassroots programming to cater to this audience with programs like Latin Night celebrations, food offerings, and special guest appearances.”

Expand Marketing Plans to Fit the Changing Landscape

Arvest Bank, which is headquartered in Arkansas, one of the fastest growing Hispanic population booms in the country, has over 240 branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas.

Manuel Ocasio, Hispanic Marketing Director for Arvest Bank, expresses the importance of properly identifying emerging Hispanic markets using behavioral not just population data, “Although the Census results show where the numbers of the Hispanic markets are growing, the annual ‘American Community Surveys’ offers better insight of Hispanics’ needs and behaviors. This is relevant information to companies that are looking at increasing household and customer base.”

Ms. Sorrosa affirms Mr. Ocasios’ focus on behavioral targeting when entering an emerging market by stating, “We are very attuned to the generational, cultural, and migrational changes that have occurred and will continue to occur as this population continues to grow.”

One of the major shifts seen over the last few years is that of migration patterns.

“Whereas 10 years ago, we were talking about the top 10 DMAs, today, we’re talking a about a population that is widely spread across the U.S. and living outside of larger cities in more mid-to smaller-sized cities like Denver, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, and Philadelphia,” said Ms. Sarrosa.

Developing a unique Hispanic value proposition and getting the C-Suite on board is key to appealing to these new audiences.

Offering a Unique Value to the Market

Once a market has been identified and before it should be approached, the company has to offer a unique value to the market, and the C-Suite needs to be on board.

Manuel Ocasio shared that, “There needs to be buy-in from the leadership. The leadership of the company sets the tone and drives proactive attitudes towards the emerging markets in their trade markets.”

Addressing Arvest Bank’s unique value to emerging Hispanic markets, Mr. Ocasio added, “We have a money transfer ATM card called “Unidos”. The product allows any Arvest Bank customer with an Arvest Bank account and a Unidos account to send money to loved ones to almost anywhere in the world including Latino America.”

With 50.7 million Hispanics in the United States, creating an impact with the Latino consumer is no longer an option but a necessity. Because of the shifting Hispanic market landscape happening in both large municipalities and rural communities around the country, part of the new marketing necessity for many organizations is to invest in emerging Hispanic markets around the country.

Richie and Lucia Matthews are each speakers, contributing columnists and co-directors of DIÁLOGO whose focus is how to leverage the power of online Hispanic communities using social technology to create impact. With offices in New York, San Diego and Mexico City, DIÁLOGO is an award-winning public relations and social marketing firm that builds brands with Hispanic audiences and dialogue. Lucia may be contacted at lucia@dialogo.us

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