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Hispanic Marketing in Quotes

English: CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Commi...

By Mari D. González

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).”

Quotes from Forbes’, November 12, 2012, article by Glenn Llopis

Generalizing Hispanics

By Mari D. González

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?

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Research and Opinions in Hispanic Marketing

By Mari D. González

Below is my response to the post “Why Hispanic Communities Should be the Foundation of Your Hispanic Market Research” by Jose Espinoza:

“Because there is a big difference between research-based information and opinions. Thus, constant research done by in-group professionals is needed. “

Missing the Mark on Culture

English: Black Hispanic and Latino Americans

By Mari D. González

The blog “Are Marketers Missing the Mark?” by Hispanic Market Weekly states that “An attitude-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.”

Key Findings on the 52 Million Hispanics

Percentage of Hispanic or Latino residents by ...

By Mari D. González

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.

The Latino and Mexican Online Consumer

Mexico City - Diana Fountain near El Ángel de ...

Mexico City – Diana Fountain near El Ángel de la Independencia (Photo credit: Anirudh Koul)

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

Accents Are in the Ear of the Beholder

Joven chino-mexicano en la Alameda Central

Image via Wikipedia

By Mari D. González

Personally, I love accents. They tell me that the speaker is non-native, definitely bilingual and thus, intriguing. Accents define a person socioculturally and correlate to the individual’s upbringing and ethnic, national, or group identity. Some accents are more difficult to understand, some are less melodious, and some might annoy us. Some simply take time to get used to. Yet, our evaluations are subjective and relative to our individual context or opinion.

As a medical interpreter, I am accustomed to accents others might wish to avoid. In California, there are immigrants in many different professions. From time to time, I interpret for doctors from China and India who are not understood clearly by patients with good English fluency. I have concluded that such difficulty is due to the patients’ lack of familiarity with people from China or India. Or, perhaps they are not as intrigued as I am by different accents.

Why was I prompted to write about accents? I just read a white paper on Hispanic marketing written by a South American author who speaks to the need to “diminish [one’s] accent” because “having a Spanish accent [is seen as] a minus.”

My Mexican colleagues do not discuss “accent reduction,” though they may promote better pronunciation as the way to be better understood. As a Peruvian, the white paper’s author is speaking for Peruvians and to Peruvians, not necessarily for or to other Latinos/Hispanics or for that matter to the ones who make up the majority among them, Mexicans.

According to the Pew Hispanic Center country of origin profiles (2009), Mexicans make up 65.5% of Latinos/Hispanics in the U.S. and Peruvians 1.2%. The latter are not a significant presence in any large U.S. metro area unlike Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, Salvadorians, and Cubans. Thus, this isolated “accent” perspective is too limited to consider as an overall Latino/Hispanic concern.

Based on personal observations, Peruvians demonstrate a greater desire to assimilate than Mexicans. As a Mexican myself, I find offensive to even bring it up because it indicates a desire to fit in instead of integrate. Mexicans have a different perception of assimilation and actually oppose it. This opposition might be the response to the never-ending socioeconomic friction that began with the clashing of the two cultures when the U.S. – Mexican border was in dispute and, following a war, was re-defined.

The background of the current state of Latinos/Hispanics in the U.S. is the Chicano Movement, whether we agree with it or not. The Chicano Movement is a point in history that precedes where we are as a cultural group now. It marks the second developmental stage of group identity formation, which is conflict.

The first stage is identification with the dominant culture. In other words, a desire to eliminate what makes one different from members of the dominant culture or assimilation. The author is implying being at the first developmental stage of group identity formation or having a preference for an Anglo Orientation according to the research by Vasti Torres.

I suggest that the author of the white paper become familiar with the writings of historian Rodolfo Acuña and philosopher Gloria Anzaldua, researchers such as Hayes-Bautista or Amado Padilla, and the more contemporary journalist, Gregory Rodriguez—not  because they relate to Peru’s history but because they relate to the history of Latinos/Hispanics in the U.S. and because such history left a huge mark in the consciousness of our predecessors moving them into the second stage of identity formation.

I’d love to see more research-based versus opinion-based information on the topic of assimilation, ethnic identity and the relevance of accents. We can certainly produce it. We need more new and fresh facts about these topics instead of recycling what goes viral online.

UPDATE: In 2018, we are seen a fairly good integration by the majority of Latinos/Hispanics–the millennials–into the US society. This demonstrates two facts, 1) Hispanic Marketing is facing out because the general market is becoming more Hispanic/multicultural, 2) younger Latinos/Hispanics have integrated into a society that is less white and more ethnic and multicultural.

Reaching out Latinos: Conversing with an Hispanic Marketer

By Mari D. González

We Marketers and Latinos who study intergenerational and broad-based Latinos/Hispanics can be both intrigued and frustrated by their complexities. Latinos/Hispanics in the U.S. keep growing not only in numbers but in intricacy. Thus, over-simplifying them as a group simply does not cut it. Early demographic predictions indicate that “the final figure could surpass 55 million, or 17% of the U.S. population.” (Ruben Navarrette, March 2011, CNN Opinion). Complete U.S. Census data has not been released as of today.

We need both hard data and a continuous dose of culture to speak as up-to-date and savvy professionals. We need to be informed by statistics but also through collaboration, conversations, self-observation and self-directed research.

Below is my short exchange on Facebook’s Hispanic and Online Marketing group with one of its members and a Hispanic Marketing Consultant.

Mari: Because Latinos/Hispanics in the U.S form a very large and culturally heterogeneous group, one of the complexities relate to “what language marketers should use” when targeting them –Spanish, English, both, and/or the hybrid Spanglish. As you indicate, segmentation is also generational; 18-25 year-olds prefer “bilingual/Spanglish.” I recommend that you check what Univision radio has done, at least in the Bay Area. They have 2 very popular radio stations, La Kalle (bilingual/Spanglish with a good mix of English and Spanish pop music) and Radio Romántica (boleros, groups, rancheras in Spanish only). What Univision may have concluded is that the Spanish-dominants are from an older generation and/or hold onto their country-of-origin values.

HM: Hi Mari and thank you! I will check out your blog and look into your suggestions. Generationally speaking, I’m wondering how the 35-50 year old Hispanics like their content as well, since they make up the largest growing segment of online users. For me, radio is a slightly different animal. It seems I also need to get a current assessment of our main market, Miami, and break down the current profile of online users who live in or travel to this diverse city. And judging from Facebook’s research, their top Hispanic users come from Spain, Mexico, Colombia and Chile. So I’ve got to overlay this somehow since these countries also represent a growing portion of the local Hispanic market. I believe the Colombians are now the second largest socioeconomic group behind the Cubans [in Miami, FL].

Mari: How do 35-50 year-old users prefer content? It all depends on the platform. Is it more professionally-oriented? Then it will be English. Is it more social? Then, it will be a combination of English and Spanish, and of their culture of origin and their culture of residence con un toque Colombiano, Cubano y/o Mexicano [with a Colombian, Cuban and/or Mexican touch]. However, there is this “Latino” encompassing layer that gives us a group identity. So spice it up “con un toque Latino” as well.

Edited by Connie Cobb

Univision Network No. 1 last week

Mari D. González

Does Univision, the largest U.S. Spanish-language TV network, understand that the largest Latino/Hispanic segment -young and bilingual- want relevance and quality in media?

The emerging young Latinos/Hispanics have been complaining about the lack of quality of programming at Spanish-language TV networks and that the English-language networks neither represents them nor includes them.

With the news that Univision has taken the No. 1 spot on viewership not only among Latinos/Hispanics but across the board, perhaps Univision is finally listening to this powerful market subgroup.

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