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Last year, I was approached by Lee Raymundo, MBA candidate at UCLA. He asked for an interview. He wrote:
“I read your article ‘Marketing to Second-Generation Latinos’ with
great interest and believe your insight would be of great value to me. I have
been trying to understand the behavior and culture of second generation Latinos vs. first generation and what ideals would most likely appeal to them. I understand that Bud Light is especially popular with this segment but have so far, struggled to understand why.”
He explained that his team was working with Budweiser, “on understanding the most effective way to reach the Latino community with a brand that resonates with this segment.” So, we addressed his questions. I gave him a general overview on the language preferences for first- and second-generation Latinos/Hispanics, which are basically related to acculturation.
Based on that particular interview and several other similar conversations, I have concluded that many professionals trying to reach Latinos/Hispanics assume that Latinos/Hispanics fall into one single market–an assumption that is too general.
“Latino/Hispanic” is a term used in census-taking to track people whose
heritage can be traced to 21 countries in Latin America plus Spain (Europe),
but should not be used—or misused—when marketing to a specific population under this umbrella term.Thus, every time I am asked to talk about Latinos/Hispanics, I always reply with the same question, “Which segment of Latinos/Hispanics?”
Most people do not understand the huge cultural, socioeconomic, and generational differences among Latinos aside from their country of origin, language of preference, and acculturation levels. Language is of utmost importance. Yet, it should not be understood simply as English vs.Spanish, but how well the target group speaks either language and how extensive is their vocabulary in either one.
Other questions include: Has the market segment been schooled and/or received college degrees in Spanish or in English? Do they prefer reading in English but speaking Spanish at home? It might be that English is the language they learned to read and write grammatically, but they prefer the emotional connection associated with the sounds and certain words in Spanish. Our accents and the extent of our vocabulary tell a lot about who we are culturally, where we come from, our education and socioeconomic levels–all of which are important marketing indicators for Hispanic marketing strategic planning.
There is also the “American Latino/Hispanic” layer, which encompasses all Latinos/Hispanics living in the U.S. and can be very subtle. For instance, most first-generation, Spanish-dominant Latinos/Hispanics in the U.S. know common English-language terms they use in their daily lives even though their primary language is Spanish at home and work.
Moreover, there are cultural dimensions that second-generation, bilingual and English-dominant Latinos/Hispanics do not give up and that includes collectivism—us, we, nosotros. That is the one specific example I gave to Mr. Raymundo. I told him that whatever message he is trying to communicate across the board with Latinos/Hispanics, do not market to them through an individualistic identity—me, I, only myself—because that’s crossing into assimilation terrain and an assimilated Latino/Hispanic no longer counts culturally as a Latino/Hispanic.
THE PREMISE: “America’s corporations can no longer ignore Hispanic marketing like Mitt Romney Did.”
THE RELUCTANCE: “Companies [have failed] to understand the importance of being culturally relevant because they first-and-foremost have their brand’s interests – rather than Hispanic consumer’s cultural values, preferences and passion points – at heart.” Armando Azarloza
THE CHALLENGE: “Companies are deprived of diversity in leadership, [thus] lack the imagination, creativity, authenticity and innovation to market to today’s fast growing demographic shift.”
AND THE GOOD NEWS: “Hispanic small businesses are growing at twice the rate of the national average – generating over $350B in annual revenues (that some estimate is closer to $650B).”
Fast and easy analysis does not always translate into accurate analysis. The infographic below from CutCue states that “U.S. Hispanics are very proud of their heritage and never forget where they come from.” This might be true for Latinos/Hispanics across generations—more specifically Latinos/Hispanics of Mexican descent who are the majority.
However, the next statement, “They are self reliant and have a negative view about asking for help” relates more to individualistic societies. In general, Latinos/Hispanics regardless of their acculturation level tend to be on the collectivist side. So, my question is—Which segment of Latinos/Hispanics is CutCue talking about?
My response to the post “Why Hispanic Communities Should be the Foundation of Your Hispanic Market Research” by Jose Espinoza:
“There is a big difference between research-based information and opinions. Thus, constant research is needed. “
The blog “Are Marketers Missing the Mark?” by Hispanic Market Weekly has stated that “An attitudes-based acculturation model provides a more focused lens for looking at Latinos and capturing the estimated $500 billion in purchasing power held by bicultural Hispanics” based on a report from Culturati Research & Consulting.
Let’s clarify that the largest percentage of bilingual Latinos/Hispanics do not need to acculturate; they enculturate instead. They acquire the culture in their first years of life through schooling and media in English. Acculturation is for people such as immigrants who move from one society or culture into another.
Ethnic marketing is prone to these wrong and misleading statements. Let’s also clarify that Hispanic marketers are not experts in cross-cultural theories or cultural anthropology and should not be haphazardly using terms that are outside their field or field-specific that they ignore. They need to either learn more about social sciences or leave such studies to the experts because they are “missing the mark.”
The Pew Hispanic Center has published a new report on the Latino/Hispanic population based on the U.S. Census 2011.
Some of the key findings are:
1. Hispanics today make up 17% of the U.S. population, up from 13% in 2000.
2. The share of the nation’s Hispanics who are U.S. born has been on the rise since 2000.
3. 65% of the U.S. Hispanic population is of Mexican origin.
4. Two-thirds of Hispanics live in Illinois, Texas, California, Florida and New York.
5. Minnesota, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Arkansas have seen the fastest growth since 2000.
6. The Hispanic population is the nation’s youngest major racial or ethnic group: Hispanics, 27; Blacks, 33; Asians, 36, and Whites 42.
7. The majority speak English “very well/only English at home.”
8. College attainment and enrollment have also been on the rise for Hispanics: 10% in 2000 and 13% in 2011 graduated from college; and 20% in 2000 and 33% in 2011 were enrolled as undergraduate, graduate or professional student.
By Mari D. González
I’m a graduate student in Intercultural Communication doing research on online marketing specific to Latinos in the U.S. and Mexicans in Mexico. I do a lot of reading on the topic and just finished reading Joe Kutchera’s book, Latino Link: Building Brands Online with Hispanic Communities and Content.
His is a complete read on the intricacies of the Latino market from a global and international perspective. He is not simply expressing his opinions. He does extensive research and lets the voices of other experts speak and share their valuable in-the-trenches experiences. Latino Link presents the real step-by-step, “how to” market to Latinos and to middle-class Mexicans who travel from Mexico to shop in the U.S. that I haven’t found in other books.
We already know the Latino/Hispanic market is large and expanding. The numbers are there–just check the Pew Hispanic Center website. Yet, we need to understand the complexities of comparing and contrasting this market within the context of the general market. And, beyond that, he compares the Latino market with Mexico as a stand alone and expanding online market. Kutchera talks about the “invisible consumer,” the affluent and middle-class Mexican buyer whose potential has not been recognized. Why? Perhaps, because most executives and so-called Hispanic marketing consultants have been fixated on the stereotypical Latino/Hispanic and the Mexican (in Mexico) consumer and continue to exploit the market based on such stereotypes.
What I enjoyed most is Mr. Kutchera’s ability to investigate without a preconceived premise or hypothesis. He is open to being surprised and finding new knowledge outside the box even from his own nephews who are habitual internet users and are the present and future consumers. As a consumer behavior researcher who focuses on the cultural and linguistic aspects of the Latino/Hispanic y en el mercado de Mexico, and the market in Mexico, I highly recommend Latino Link.
Edited by Connie Cobb
Last year, the August 13, 2010, Huffington Post’s Huffpost Tech, listed the following countries as the top Facebook users:
This year, as of July 5, Check Facebook, a Facebook marketing statistics site, contains a slightly different list of top Facebook countries:
What makes these countries top users?
- extensive access to Internet
- high population numbers
- users’ affinity for U.S. culture
- familiarity with the English language
- a high number of young users
- or, a combination of some or all these variables.
If you follow Internet use around the world, you might be familiar with the popularity of other social network sites such as Google’s Orkut in India and Brazil. With Brazil making this year’s list, one can speculate that users are moving from Orkut to Facebook. Yet, only 31.46% of Brazilian online users are on Facebook.
As for Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, and the Philippines, 100% of online users are on Facebook, which means no other social-network or online communication platform is competing.
Why isn’t China on the list? China’s government prevents Internet users in China from accessing Facebook. The most popular site in China is RenRen, which can be accessed in the U.S. and is supported by U.S. investors.
Another question: Are the top 10 Facebook countries selected based on the percentage of each country’s total population of active online users or on the total number of users?
For example, 30% of Mexico’s total population (112,322,757 x .3 = 33,696,825) are Facebook users but 70% of Canada’s (34,507,000 x .7 = 24,154,900). It appears that Mexico made the list based on population-number advantage, and Canada was dropped because of its smaller population.
Edited by Connie Cobb
I attended Latino2 Silicon Valley Conference on Saturday, June 11, 2011 in Mountain View, CA and these are my pictures.
LATISM is the largest organization of Latino/Hispanic professionals engaged in social media.
Ana Roca-Castro, LATISM founder, opened the event.
Giovanni Rodriguez, LATISM board member, explaining that Latinos are getting older slower, joining social media faster, and clicking more.
The largest age segment of social media users are females between 40-59.
Brian Solis on his way out. I was able to get this picture with him.
Juan Sepulveda from the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
Mr. Sepulveda took the social media off-line and lead us into small group discussions. His question was: With respect to technology, social media, and education, what should we start doing?
My unofficial mentor and a great colleague, Cynthia Mackey, and I at the end of the conference.
Latino2 was one of the most interactive, inspiring, and fun conferences I have ever attended.