Aug. 2013
Welcome to the "AY CARAMBA" side of the force.

The Hispanic market, what could be there for you and a few ideas on how to get it.

Do You Want Your Brand To Win The Next Reelection?- It's not news that Obama won because of Hispanic support in key states. Yes we can, yes we did and yes we will do it again!

The Latino segment of the population seems to say: if the famous and paranoid short story "Casa Tomada" had not been written by Julio Cortázar in Argentina in 1946, it could have easily been written last year in the U.S. by Noam Chomsky.

Where Are You In The Evolution Of The Hispanic Market?- The Hispanic market started with marketing-focused agencies that enjoyed their moment of relevance as far as the construction and justification of that market was concerned.

But now, to grow in the Latino market you may need to add a more creative, appealing layer.

Why? Because 16 percent of the U.S. population is Hispanic, but 16 percent of international award recipients sure aren't and certainly, 16 percent of U.S. advertising expenditures aren't Latino-focused.

To reach the next plateau, you need to capitalize on your brand in that gap. That's the business reason to embark on, or at least to try to embrace, creative advertising in the U.S. Hispanic market.

Whatever The Language, Do You Have Something To Say?- As our grandmothers use to say: If you have nothing to say, it's better to say nothing. But this is advertising, meaning that you are interrupting to sell, so you better find something meaningful to say.

Specially here because it's not the "Spanish-speaking market," it's the last frontier of the richest and most segmented market in the world - the U.S. market - and you have a lot of money and no excuses.

Is It Market Research Or Is It A Burning Bush?- Information itself is not power; the proper articulation of that information could make you powerful if you properly execute the entire procedure.

We all know that in the Hispanic market most of the time the decision-makers are entering into unknown territory. And we also know the results of saying the same thing again and again or saying too many things at once.

In a nutshell, the collectivization of the decision-making practiced by corporate America should be faced with a strong agency culture/personality.

This isn't being a "rebel." This is the reason the client hires an advertising agency, and you need to synergize all the forces in the agency with the client. Otherwise, you may end up transforming the research findings into the main message, and that's not always the best option, because it could turn the "standard error" into the biggest mistake of your career.

Why do you need an agency for the Hispanic market? Like the former president of AHAA (and agency owner) once said: "Do you think you can do it better? Come and get me. I can show results!"

And the bottom line is that we are in advertising where money talks and everything else flies through the window.

That's the truth, but not all of it. To be honest, many professionals have gone from the Hispanic market to the general market; it creates a problem when they try to go in the opposite direction.

It seems that even the planners aren't ready to face the client when they show the work to their "Hispanic market experts" (usually people with a Latino surname but not much expertise in Hispanic marketing).

Trust me, nobody without the proper training and experience can foresee these "experts" feedback because they behave as the "experts" in social medias and we all know that there are no experts in something as new as social medias.

Why The Hispanic Media Isn't Talking To Me.- All over the world, no matter what the language, race or geography, people "don't watch TV" or at least they complain about it.

The Hispanic market is not the exception. And let's not forget that every subgroup feels that TV represents "the other:" too Caribbean, too Mexican, too Norteña, too Colombian, too Castillian, and on top of these divisions, there's the lower class and upper class/"snob" dialect, etc.

So don't get caught in this mess; there are real differences among the Latino subgroups, but there is a bigger difference between all Hispanics and the "mainstream" in the U.S. It's your job to celebrate that difference to drive attention to your brand.

Are We There Yet? Marketing Focused Agencies Now And Then And AGAIN.- In the beginning, marketing-focused agencies were kings. And it's easy to understand why marketing executives in the general market needed to see every decision completely justified in their ads, since this was completely new.

That was then and this is now: we don't need to justify 100% of what you see in our ads. So again, please stop treating marketing and research as if they were Holy Cows. Or your competition could mark your brand as a T-bone or more appropriately, "carnitas."

If you don't think it has changed, and you need more confirmation, consider that "Inglés sin barreras" is selling Spanish-language courses on Hispanic television! There you can see a grandma (obviously) saying "M'ijito, sí lo escuchará su abuelo."

Some Guidelines If You're Still New To This.- OK, this is just a guideline. I'm sure everybody has their own question to add, and I invite you to do so on some form of social media (I don't quite get why they're called "social;" every communication media is social by definition):

   &bull What language should I use to address my Hispanic target?
   &bull Which is the more adequate channel?
   &bull How much should I invest in this segment?
   &bull How should I adjust my message to get it across to this segment?
   &bull Should I create products or brands only for Hispanics?
   &bull I can't go far from the DNA of the brand but should I stay close to the general market campaign?

Again, Why Should I Care?- If you're still reading this article, chances are you already care. The purchasing power of this Hispanic market has almost doubled since 1990 and it's projected to reach $2 trillion by 2020.

If you're in a multinational company and you have offices in Latin America, you know that the U.S. is now the biggest Hispanic market in the world.

On top of that, we also have a North American Academy of the Spanish Language (ANLE) for advice. Hardly anyone has heard of ANLE, probably because few have imagined there was such a thing as official "U.S. Spanish."

So here goes my first style question for the ANLE: Is it appropriate to say "¡Órale che!"? Or is it just too soon?