Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hispanic Marketing Trends: 2009 and Beyond

The future for Hispanic marketing in the United States is bright, full of "dualities" and opportunities. The future is indeed bright. While the media propagates bad news as their way of attracting attention, they ignore the positive trends in the economy. Hispanic marketing is one of them.

1. Economic crises are not new to Hispanics… Hispanics should be more optimistic in comparison to other cultural groups, thus leading the recovery with optimism... that is our only choice

2. On the other hand migration misinformation and increasing discrimination are setting a negative tone for the role of Hispanics in the US... the voices of negativism can not prevail

3. As a consequence of the above marketers should emphasize achievements and contributions of Hispanics to raise self esteem and build brand equity

4. Faster acculturation. Marketers should place more emphasis on what unites Hispanics beyond language. More leadership potential and higher aspirations for the future can mean a major transformation

5. Identifying the core of the new and emergent multicultural society… third culture…

6. A growing emphasis in communicating in Culture, while communicating in language will stabilize

7. A stronger emphasis on lifestyle segmentation as opposed to sheer acculturation

8. Increasing cross-over from Hispanic products and brands to the overall population… the Hispanization of America

9. Increased used of technology, particularly the Internet… over indexing in several categories… and this goes for all emerging minorities--- Hispanics are leading in the use of social media, and social media marketing is a great vehicle for incorporating Hispanic sensitive brands in the culture

10. Better appreciation of the consumer bicultural chemistry in the home… English and Spanish incorporated in the decision making… more collective than individual decision making

11. Almost 2 million Hispanic owned businesses… more of a focus on BtoB

12. Integrating marketing efforts in corporations and avoiding the marginalization of ethnic marketing… targeting needs to be more inclusive and precise

13. More cause marketing… as these consumers are increasingly green and socially aware

14. The future is in grassroots and high-touch marketing

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hispanic Marketing - What’s Next?

Having spent over 30 years in Hispanic marketing, I have been fortunate to see the evolution of this fascinating market. I founded one of the first multicultural market research companies, Hispanic and Asian Marketing Communication Research, and experienced first hand the explosive growth of a market and an industry. Now, as the Founder and Director of Florida State University’s Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication, I am training the next generation of Hispanic marketing leaders and I am continually asking, “What’s next”?

Marketing experts have been heralding the reign of digital communications for years, but few are aware of the importance of Hispanics in this digital era. Through my research dating back to 2000 when I conducted the study “The Digital World of the US Hispanic” and now as a professor at Florida State University, I have discovered powerful insights regarding Hispanics and technology in our research program “The Multicultural Marketing Equation.”

The fact is that Hispanics, along with other emerging minorities, are leading the technology revolution in this country.

Hispanics are one of the fastest growing and most active segments of the online population. They are using technology to enable social connectivity and enhance their cultural identity. In a recent study that I authored, I found that Hispanics, regardless of language preference and age, are more likely to be active on social networking sites than non-Hispanic Whites. Hispanic market growth and technology adoption are converging, making digital communications the next frontier in Hispanic marketing.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Professionals: Online Course on Hispanic Marketing - Spring 2009

After four successful semesters, an online course in Hispanic Marketing Communication will be offered again this Spring by the Florida State University Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication. The Center, headed by Dr. Felipe Korzenny, is pioneering education in Hispanic Marketing Communication.

The online course is available to anyone interested and is particularly recommended for professionals currently addressing the Hispanic market, or those who would like to start a Hispanic marketing initiative. The course, during the last four semesters, attracted students from many industries across the United States and provided a forum for learning and discussion about strategy that enriched the practice of many these professionals. The course has become an opportunity to share experience in an integrated framework.

Students in the course have testified that participation in it enriches their experience via online discussions with other professionals, case studies, readings, and guest lectures. Joining the group is more than studying the discipline because it encourages thinking and sharing of practices and ideas. The course creates synergy for communication and links professionals that otherwise could not meet each other to discuss their common Hispanic marketing problems and solutions.

The Spring 2009 session has duration of fifteen weeks (classes begin January 6 and end April 24) and includes topics such as language use, Hispanic cultural insights for marketing, and case studies relating to Hispanic marketing. The course will also address research and marketing strategies. A certificate of completion will be issued to all non-degree seeking students who satisfactorily complete the course, and eligible students can receive three hours of undergraduate/continuing education credit. THOSE INTERESTED ARE ENCOURAGED TO APPLY IMMEDIATELY AS REGISTRATION IS LIMITED. REGISTRATION IS OPEN NOW! For application information contact Jennifer Boss at or by phone at 850 644 7551.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Using Social Media to Understand Social Influence

Social media, or social networking as it is commonly known, is powerful beyond what anyone can imagine by looking at the surface of it. Those of you who have studied social networks can relate to this. Imagine being able to identify those who are opinion leaders, bridges between communities, leaders, and isolates, by looking at their social media behavior.

Social media is about influence and power. Who contacts you the most? How many people contact you? How central are you in your network? What are the topics of conversation in your network?

The metrics that can be derived from studying modern networking sites can be a goldmine for marketers. What are some applications?

  • Who is credit worthy?
  • Who is an opinion leader?
  • Who influences whom?
  • What are topics about which different individuals influence others?
  • The strenght of community bridges to pass ideas along to other communitities
How many times do we wonder where to place a message so that it has impact? Social networks are more powerful than "one-way" media because they reflect communication behavior. Social media marketing is about communities that go beyond geography.

The moral of the story is that there is a lot to come when it comes to network metrics.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Use of Social Networking Sites Among Diverse Cultural Groups in the US

Social Media Marketing depends on the popularity of social networking sites. In the study referred to in my prior Blog we also asked our large multicultural sample of respondents to "please indicate the social networking sites you visit regularly." We listed MySpace, HI5, QuePasa, Habbo, Orkut, FaceBook, Friendster, Bebo, Classmates, WindowsLSpaces, Xanga, Flixter, Tagged, Netlog, Reunion, Broadcaster, Cyworld, MyHeritage, Friends, Reunited, Linkedin, BlackPlanet, and SecondLife. We also provided the option "none."

The chart below illustrates the preponderance of use of MySpace and FaceBook among these emerging minorities:
The first observation is that Non-Hispanic Whites, as in the prior blog, show a lower incidence in visiting these sites regularly when compared with the other cultural groups. Interestingly both popular sites fare best among Hispanics who prefere English and Asians than among anyone else. Hispanics who prefer Spanish and African Americans, however, are still more likely to visit these sites than Non-Hispanic Whites. Again, it is emerging minorities that are leading the future of the digital era in the United States.

The following Chart illustrates that culturally targeted sites do better among specific cultural groups:

Sites that have a preponderance of particular cultural groups, or who target specific cultural groups appear to do well with them. The International Site HI5 and QuePasa do realtively well with Hispanics who prefer Spanish. Friendster, populated by a larger number of Asian Americans does relatively well with Asians as compared with other cultural groups. African Americans are more frequently regular visitors of Black Planet. Thus, cultural targeting seems to have great potential among those who strongly identify with their culture. Interestingly, none of these sites seemed to do particularly well with Hispanics who prefer English or with Non-Hispanic Whites. In the case of Hispanics who prefer English this may be because there are few sites specifically catering to them.

Perhaps even more surprising is that members of all of these online cultural groups visit social networking sites with regularity as the following chart shows:
This last chart illustrates that very few individuals in any of these groups use none of the social networking sites we listed in the questionnaire. This emphasizes the importance that this new social medium has for most online consumers.
Social networking is growing fast and becoming very popular among most Americans. Emerging minorities, however, are leading the trend. Social Media Marketing efforts can capitalize on this knowledge to establish their brands and territories in these social circles.

The moral of the story is: Go market where people are associating with others, and become part of their socio-cultural identity. As culture is rooted in social interaction, brands can become part of these complex patterns of interaction.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Social Media and Emerging Minorities

The new multicultural landscape of the United States is showing some interesting trends, at least with our recently collected data. The Florida State University Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication with the support of DMS Research (an AOL LLC Company), collected data in March of 2008 from a national online sample with over 500 cases in each of the following cultural groups: Hispanics who prefer English (HE), Hispanics who prefer Spanish (HS), Non-Hispanic Whites (NHW), African Americans (AA), and Asians (A) in the United States.

The results are quite interesting. When asked about how often individuals in these groups visit Social Networking sites like FaceBook and MySpace, the following distribution was obtained for TWO OR THREE TIMES A MONTH OR MORE OFTEN:

Hispanics who responded in English and Asians are the most avid users of Social Media with about 35% of them using these outlets 2 or 3 times per month or more often, while Non-Hispanic Whites are least likely to use these media with only 17% of them using them with similar frequency. Hispanics who responded in Spanish and African Americans are in between at about 25%.

What this new and original data seems to say is that emerging minorities are quite a bit more likely than the traditional mainstream of American society to be reachable with Social Media Marketing. It is fascinating that many traditional marketers still talk about "the General Market" when refering to Non-Hispanic Whites and seem to still orient most of their campaigns to this segment. It is revealing that it is precisely those who are not considered the mainstream are at the forefront of the use of Social Media, and apparently eager to participate in what it has to offer.

The lesson of the story is: Those who are forgotten may be your biggest opportunity.

Related links with additional resources:

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Why Social Media Marketing to Reach Hispanics?

There is a lot of talk about social media, user generated content, and Web 2.0. Marketing and outreach via social media to Hispanics is a very promising touchpoint. First let me clarify that we are not talking about the traditional field of social marketing in which the product is usually a social service, or a product that will improve the life of users with relatively little or no benefit to the one generating the message, like a health promotion campaign. Well, that is not what I am talking about here. I am talking about Social Media Marketing, like using LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace, Blogger, Plaxo Pulse, or any other social media now visited online, to create brand awareness, product/service purchases, and perhaps brand loyalty and a continued brand relationship.

Social Media Marketing is particularly interesting in the case of Hispanics. After conducting several studies with different cultural groups online ( ) we have discovered that Hispanics are particularly interested in new technology, having their own personal blogs and websites. This is likely due to the social nature of Hispanics who see Social Media as a way to keep in touch and maintain relationships. As these new technologies are important to Hispanics, Marketers and other entities who want to reach out to Hispanics online can set up their interactive sites in the multiple Social Media outlets available, and create buzz about something. Clearly, this has to be an attractive and useful site, but once a take-off point of interactivity has been reached, the site feeds itself and creates further enthusiasm about the brand, topic, product, etc.

Social Media Marketing is not expected to be solely attractive to Hispanics. Hispanics, nevertheless, have a strong propensity to affiliate and create networks. Now that interpersonal communication is moving from face-to-fact to virtual, Social Media marketing has great potential for creating legitimate emotional links, particularly among Hispanics.

A strategy for Social Media Marketing has to be carefully formulated, managed, and orchestrated to be effective. Companies like Captura Group ( ) are examining the conceptual underpinning on the use of Social Media Marketing to create loyal following among Hispanic consumers.

On the Web everything is transparent. A company or entity cannot succeed with a Social Media Strategy by misleading consumers. Legitimacy and truthfulness are crucial for establishing long term relationships. That is the virtue of this new medium, that it is a legitimate way of creating long term, honest, relationships.

Interactivity on the Web is now making Social Media Marketing more power than television, radio, newspapers, and magazines ( ). The future in marketing to Hispanics is here.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Of Hispanic Time, Calendars, and Tradition

Latin American calendars are a cultural tradition that can provide an interesting marketing tool to marketers in the United States. The notion that time has different dimensions for Hispanics than for other cultural groups is relatively well known. There are those who talk about "Latin time" and those who talk about "mañana." "Mañana" or tomorrow represents how many of us, Hispanics, think about what we need to do in life.

Tomorrow is a great time management tool because it allows one to postpone all things that are not emergencies, thus piling huge numbers of activities into a very small tomorrow. Tomorrow presents interesting possibilities as those who expect things tomorrow may forget about them or the activity may have lost interest. Thus tomorrow saves effort because one does not waste time doing things that tomorrow will show are not important.

Now, calendars represent a related but more complex story. Latin American calendars are not just for providing the date and to keep us organized. They are cultural icons that symbolize how we feel about time. Latin American calendars display cultural and historic pictures in their pages. They illustrate the past and the pride associated with it. In many ways, calendars are decorations that we cherish as we try to pile things up into tomorrow. We can see how much more time we have for enjoying the present. Looking at the calendar gives us a glimpse of the past that we respect, celebrate the moment, and look at a "mañana" that is slow to come.

I remember growing up with calendars that the grocery store, the butcher shop, the phone company, the electric company, the shoe store, the restaurant, and others had given my family at the end of the year. These were presents given to us so that we would remember those nice merchants that helped us decorate our walls with so many images of our tradition, our tastes, and our cultural pride.

Traditional Latin American calendars can be of great marketing value in this modern era, where Hispanics are still proudly honoring the symbology of their culture, while most others are just rushing into the future. Large and small marketers can establish an emotional bond with Hispanics by providing them with these traditional calendars as tokens of appreciation. They serve as a continuous reminder that a specific business or brand thinks about us and shares with us the images of our culture.

I have come across An exploration of this site will provide good examples of the different types of art and motifs that Latin American calendars offer.

While time flies for so many people, it is good to have a traditional calendar that can help us keep time still for just a little while.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Identifying the core of the new and emergent multicultural society

You have probably heard the expression "I am not from here or there," or in Spanish "no soy de aquí ni soy de allá." The core of the emergent multicultural society in the United States is composed of people who are not from here or from there. Most members of this emergent society, of most cultural minority backgrounds, do not fully share the cultural experience of their heritage, and they do not fully feel part of the traditional "American society." Thus, the cultural ambivalence they experience. It is being in between worlds, and in a synergistic way combining them.

Interestingly when members of these different cultures share the experience of "not being from here or there" they have something in common. It is a sense of being different, or sharing difference. That is what anthropologists (Ruth Hill Useem) have called third culture kids. Third culture because it is not the first culture or second culture that prevail in their minds, but the third culture of the experience of being different and mixing aspects of both.

The richness of the experience of being different appears to be the common denominator of diverse cultural groups in the US. In an interesting way, a country of immigrants has the intrinsic quality of deriving from a "third culture." Perhaps this heritage has been taken for granted in common discourse, and new emergent "minorities" are becoming the core of a new era in which being different is what makes us similar, one more time in history.

Not being from there or from here is perhaps the core of a brave new world.