Thursday, February 25, 2010

Relevance in Hispanic Print: Implications for Marketers

I have been thinking about the growing importance of Hispanic youth in the United States and how these young people are being served by the media. It is puzzling to think about ways in which print publications can be truly Hispanic in character and at the same time relevant to the culture and the growing segment of young Hispanic people educated in the United States.
I have been receiving a complimentary subscription to "Café Latino Lifestyle Magazine." Reading it recently I was struck by a partial answer to my question above. The cover of the last issue I saw featured "BlackTino: Children of mixed marriages define their own identity." I am interested in the topic because cross-cultural marriages and couples are on the rise, but also because there are many Hispanics from Latin America that are of African background. That I thought was an item of interest to those of us who share a Latin background in the United States. It speaks of our diversity.
Another article in the magazine was about the controversy of whether or not the US Census 2010 should be boycotted by Hispanics. The balanced views reported in the story were very informative to me and definitely a topic of importance to all of us. Other articles were about Santeria, Latino online dating, coming of age among Latinas, and many others. All of them of interest to me and even though many of the articles are directed to a younger profile.
Café is published in Chicago and it is in English. So, I thought, perhaps the key issue about Hispanic oriented print in the US is relevance to our current lives, and the language could be Spanish or English depending on the preference and ability of the reader. But, again, relevance seems to be the key point, particularly cultural relevance.
Marketers should pay attention to the issue of relevance. Are the publications in which they are advertising relevant to the lives of the consumers they cater to? Being Hispanic/Latino in the United States is a unique EXPERIENCE. Serving the needs of that experience and identity creates relevance. Relevance sells publications. Advertising in those publications, if also relevant, can be successful in connecting with us.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Births vs. Immigration: The New Hispanic Marketing Challenge

A review of the US Bureau of the Census data shows that the increase of the US Hispanic population is now highly driven by births rather than immigration contrary to past patterns. The following table contains data from the 2008 American Community Survey of the US Bureau of the Census. It documents the nativity of US Hispanics by sex and age:

United States
Margin of Error
Under 18 years:
Foreign born
18 years and over:
Foreign born
Under 18 years:
Foreign born
18 years and over:
Foreign born
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2008 American Community Survey

While the above figures are unlikely to include all undocumented individuals, it provides directional guidance as to the developments in US Hispanic growth. All Latinos in the US under 18, males and females were at the time of the study 34% of the population, an impressive proportion that further emphasizes the youth of this market. 

Within those under 18 years of age, a staggering 91% were native born, and that provides a good indication of what type of growth to expect in the near future. Sixty-six percent were those 18 years of age and older. Among that older segment 53% were foreign born. While foreign born are still the adult majority, the obvious likelihood is that they will suffer further declines in favor of their native born counterparts. 

Marketing implications include:

- Young people will become more influential in purchase decision for the household as these US born kids have more experience with US products and services and the overall consumer landscape.

- These young people will claim a new identity that marketers will need to understand if they are to touch their feelings and thoughts. This new identity will be the product of roots from Latin America, influences from the US, and the synergy of living a Latino life in the United States.

- These overwhelming changes in population trends should compel media content producers, advertisers, and marketers to better cater to a new emergent way of being.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cultural Marketing For The 2010's

The decade of the 2010's will require more cultural sensitivity than ever before. Not that cultural sensitivity was not needed much earlier in the US and around the world, but conditions are ripe now for understanding how culture can enhance profits and better marketing.

Cultural marketing is not something nice to do to show good citizenship. Cultural marketing is a profit making enterprise. Let me explain. If we accept that emotion is at the core of selling, advertising, and marketing, then culture is a shortcut for reaching the emotions of many people at the same time. Culture consists of objective and subjective designs for living that are passed from generation to generation. The components of culture are what we are raised with in our early years. We are taught what is right and wrong and what is good and bad. When we are enculturated we are given lessons that become warm feelings that generally persist until we die.

The beliefs, feelings, and values that encompass subjective culture are shared by many people in our culture. That is why marketing to Hispanics as a culture makes sense. It is not so much because of the external manifestation of culture like food and dress, but because Hispanics share so much in common because of historical roots that overlap with religion and language.

Marketing to Hispanics as a culture is a way of connecting with these consumers at deeper levels. It is a way of communicating why a product or idea makes sense from the perspective of the consumer and evoking the deepest emotions that become ingrained in the process of enculturation.

Clearly, the same can be said about almost any other cultural group. Marketing to a culture in cultural terms is about touching those cords that have been instilled in us since childhood. While I understand that eventually marketing will be a one-on-one relationship, cultural marketing is a good interim way to bridge the gap between marketing to the masses (as if they ever existed), and understanding the individual's values and deep rooted perceptions of the world at the most personalized level.

Cultural marketing is a shortcut that minimizes the trajectory and produces results. It needs to be authentic and honest because it is about relationships. It requires that the marketer understands the culture. It is not a matter of making a gesture, it is an endeavor of commitment and dedication. Cultural marketing is not about obvious portrayals of families, soccer, or salsa music but about understanding the underlying perceptions that members of a culture share. While portrayals of soccer, families, and salsa music can be very important as tactical elements, underlying subjective elements of the culture can provide true insights for positioning and strategy.

Cheers to all for the 2010's and the challenge of doing cultural marketing right.

By the way Cesar Melgoza and I will be doing a Webinar on this topic if you are interested:

"Why In-Culture Marketing is Critical to the Long Term Success of Any American Enterprise" on February 11th, 2010 1:00-2:00 p.m. EST.

Understand why marketing to high-growth segments such as Hispanics, Asians and African Americans is key to securing growth for corporations across industries. Get facts and figures that impact corporate strategy at all levels of management and see why in-culture marketing should be mandatory for most corporations. All proceeds will be donated to FSU’s Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication.

To register or for more information visit