Success in the U.S. Hispanic Market

Starts with Enculturation – Not Diversity

Which comes first for success in the Hispanic market – corporate diversity or marketing enculturation? I’ll get to the latter in a moment. Diversity is a worthy and necessary cause to be sure. Its benefits to any company and our society extend far beyond just sales and marketing. Marketing leaders recognize that diversity on their teams is critical to sustainability in an increasingly multicultural marketplace. We would argue that diversifying a workforce is an evolutionary step – by definition slow and steady. If you are like most advertisers, you want more customers right now.

Enculturation is not about the state of diversity in any given company. It is rather, about the diversification of addressable markets with an actionable marketing vision. Enculturation offers marketers a more entrepreneurial opportunity to diversify advertising efforts today, that does not require the arduous process of remaking corporate culture.

In fact, we would argue that the expertise required for the enculturation of marketing and advertising campaigns will drive the diversity of any marketing team. Decide to do things right and you will want to find the right partners to get you going.

Conventional wisdom suggests that enculturation is about “multiculturalizing” or “Hispanicizing” advertising and marcom messages to be more relevant to fast-growing consumer segments. It is traditionally thought about in terms of authenticity in language and creative. We approach enculturation as a media and metric-driven approach to direct- to-customer advertising. Before we ever deal with the creative element, we start with proof- of-concept analytics and testing at the top of our funnel.

Here’s why. Advertising hall of famer Stanley Marcus once quipped that “Consumers are statistics. Customers are people.” In today’s data-driven world there could be no more universal marketing insight. Nor a more self-evident cause for the enculturation of our advertising campaigns, regardless of the diversification going on in our marketing departments. There is a call to action in this message.

The most tectonic shift in marketing today is neither how nor where to advertise, but to whom? The U.S. Hispanic Consumer Market has nearly doubled in the last 19 years. From 35MM in 2000 to 64MM today (Claritas– the Hispanic American Market Report, 2019). The same study notes that the population of non-Hispanic Whites is decreasing by 165 people per day, while the Hispanic population is growing by over 4,000 future customers per day. Now would be the time to start rethinking your short-middle-long-term advertising plans.

D2C or d2Hispanic campaigns are unlike retail and brand advertising campaigns in that they are “performance” ecosystems. The customer journey is more direct, direct response is more measurable and ROI performance is immediately actionable in real time from a media perspective. To this extent, the media mix precedes the creative.

Our responsibility is to right-size your commitment to Spanish-language or in-culture advertising in order to actively welcome Hispanic customers to your business one sale at a time. This is why enculturation feels entrepreneurial. We build companies one transaction, one lead, and one customer at a time.

Enculturate your advertising with the right media mix based on what the data tells you in real time. It does not have to cost you bandwidth or incremental staff. It does not even have to cost you major creative investment. Enculturation is about doing just enough, with the right partner, to get whatever you do, done right. For d2H enculturation is ultimately all about activating a richer lead pipeline of customers regardless of language. Here’s how:

1. Be strategic with your resources. Make enculturation a strategic commitment. It must be at least one leg of the stool regardless of how small the budget or effort may seem. There is always a path to getting it done right. Do not start marketing to Hispanic customers without a commitment to succeed. The difference among our clients, between the winners and the losers, is not the level of investment, it is the level of intention. The Hispanic market represents new customers en-masse. Deciding to enculturate and Hispanicize your advertising campaigns should not be a zero-sum budget game. Treat it below the line if you have to.

2. Focus on your Path2Profit. Given the displacement of general market consumers, this path is running more and more through the Hispanic consumer every day. In D2C terms this is not only about the potential ROI generated from a Hispanic campaign, but the accelerating impact that enculturation will have on your bottom line. Regardless of what you are being told, or the occasional call from the random xenophobe, the fact is that Spanish-language television and video content allows you to reach self-selecting bilingual and Spanish-speaking customers without alienating general market customers. If you have tested in the past and failed, you need to keep trying. And if you have never tested at all, you need to be honest about the opportunity cost and competitive disadvantages you are bringing on yourself.

3. Be authentic. Great d2Hispanic advertising campaigns appeal to logic and impulse. They also appeal to emotion and truth. Enculturation takes nothing more than for your messaging to ring true. It needs to appeal to the head and the heart from a cultural point of view – regardless of language. Authenticity unlocks customer engagement, word-of-mouth and response. It converts consumers into customers.

All in all, you do not need to change the DNA of your corporate culture in order to succeed in the Hispanic market. Remember that Hispanic customers are much more than just another data set. Diversity may or may not impact your bottom line in the long-term. Enculturation will.

Marcelino Miyares, Jr.- Managing Partner – d2HPartners, LLC © 2019