Due Diligence Should Precede Resource Allocation
Many companies look at the data on the growing Hispanic population and its increasing buying power, and wonder if they’re positioned to leverage this market to enhance their company’s total market growth. The truth is that most companies don’t consider seriously enough that leveraging a new market segment like the Hispanic market requires a methodical and strategic approach that includes a due diligence process and ultimately, requires foundational change. They start by asking some of the right questions about the market such as:
o How large is the Hispanic market?
o How many of them buy our types of products and services?
o What do we need to say to them and how, to attract them to our brands?
And then, parting from sound strategic planning judgment, they dive head first into driving demand for their products and services. While defining and deploying a communication strategy is an important step, it is only part of the equation when trying to enter and succeed in a new market. I would argue this step is often too premature and should not precede a business strategy planning process. Before your company, takes steps to develop a marketing and advertising strategy in haste, consider that the end goal of driving demand in a new market is to build the total business and that takes accurate discovery, planning and implementation by the entire organization.
Can your company deliver?
So, before you do anything else, ask yourself if your company is in a position of competency and capability to deliver the same high quality experience that keeps your current customers happy, to Hispanic consumers which make most sense for your brand assuming you know who they are.
First off, to be effective, top management must position any new market opportunity as strategic growth imperative so key stakeholders within the organization prioritize and integrate the new market. By this I mean stakeholders see the need to allocate time, people and resources to the discovery and planning process for the new market, and of course, the operational implementation which will follow. Management must assign a high level project sponsor or team lead to organize a representative cross functional team to collectively work towards answering key planning questions, and who will mobilize the team to act on the necessary strategic, marketing and operational alignment work.
I’m a strong proponent of starting with a macro view so I always challenge my client teams to start by answering important questions about the external environment, or stated differently, the environment in which their company will compete for high potential Hispanic market segments. The following questions are a good start:
o Which segment of the Hispanic market is most profitable for you? Is there more than one focus segment?
o How active have other marketers been in targeting to these Hispanics in your category?
o What is the competition doing?
o Will you need to invest to build our category or can you just focus on building your brand?
o Are your products and services relevant?
o How high is the product or service threshold you must meet or surpass to be competitive?
o Given your chosen target segments, what does being linguistically and culturally relevant mean?
o Do you know how and where to reach your chosen target Hispanic segments effectively and efficiently?
Once the project team answers the questions above, the answers are used as valuable context as the team turns its attention inward to assess how their organizations should and can deliver its products and services to meet the needs and requirements of its high profit Hispanic targets in view of consumer, competitive and category dynamics, and always in keeping with the company’s total market strategy. While my questions are always specific to the client’s line of business, the following list of questions can serve as a good general base to help determine where your company’s offering is strong and where it may have some gaps:
o How do the external dynamics compare to your current category, competitive, targets and strategies?
o What can you leverage? Where can you win? Which Hispanic segments should you prioritize?
o Given the category and competitive environment, will your company need to invest to build its category or just the brand?
o Do you understand what this means in terms of resource allocation and ROI timing so you can set realistic expectations and metrics that support your overall direction and goals?
o What areas require the most attention to create and implement a holistic and integrated go to market strategy?
o Do you have the appropriate internal organization to lead and manage the initiative, including supplier partners?
o Do you have the capacity and infrastructure to create and modify your products and services for a better fit and an equally positive customer experience?
o Does your distribution system make sense for your chosen target market?
o Do you have the required diversity in your corporate and sales organizations?
o Do your hiring and training practices align with your total market growth objectives?
o After all is said and done, will you be able to deliver on your corporate values with integrity?
Plan for Success
I think we can all agree that substance always outlasts the superficial fix so avoid the shortcuts. To successfully and sustainably leverage Hispanics for total market growth, you must ensure your foundation is strong and enduring. If you can check off all the items on this list, you are on a strong path. If not, use it to call attention to the business requirements for achieving total market success among decision makers in your organization.
1. Having key business intelligence is critical for a complete understanding of your particular Hispanic market position. Notice I said business intelligence, not just consumer intelligence.
2. Assessing and integrating your company’s operations at every level to ensure a lasting and effective engagement with the Hispanic market is critically important.
3. Ensuring your strategies are customized to your company’s particular external and internal landscapes will help build the business with a foundation that is grounded in your company’s situation and priorities.
4. Successful new market entries need to be on everyone’s radar. Capturing a significant and rapidly growing consumer base requires a representative team, from all parts of a company, to learn and to deliver on focused, integrated solutions.
5. Don’t be myopic. Maintaining a 360 view provides far reaching insights, and will allow your company to develop effective, sustainable strategy and activations plans to capture and retain a growing share of this valuable market.
Terry Soto is President and CEO of About Marketing Solutions, Inc., a Burbank, California – based strategy consulting firm specializing in transformative business readiness and strategy consulting for profitable and enduring total market success. She helps her clients dramatically improve overall business performance by optimizing their strategies to succeed in the Hispanic market. firstname.lastname@example.org