Over the past two decades, multicultural marketing discussions and strategy have evolved in many aspects. This can be observed in the US, where marketing has shifted from a segmented approach targeting specifically either the Hispanic, African American, Asian American or General Caucasian populations to what is now labeled a Total Market Approach. The definition of Total Market is loosely defined as an integrated approach that is inclusive and covers all segments of a geographic population. This shift in marketing strategy was evident in the latest Retail 360 and ANA Multicultural conferences. Of course, whether a company takes a segmented or integrated approach depends heavily on its products, business strategies and target customers. However, it is this writer’s belief that certain segments and geographic regions still merit a segmented approach.
An example of this is marketing to Hispanics in the Southeastern US.
Historically speaking, concentrated populations of Hispanics in the Southeastern US are a relatively new phenomenon. When comparing Hispanics in the southeast to the national statistics, they tend to be foreign born (50% vs. 33%) with less educational background and expendable income. However, there is a growing Hispanic middle class who built flourishing businesses providing products and services to Hispanic and non-Hispanic communities alike. Examples are witnessed everywhere — supermarkets, restaurants, cleaning services, housekeeping, and credit unions. Affluence continues to grow as the second generation of bilingual Hispanics acquire higher education levels and better paying job opportunities. In addition, US born Hispanics from other regions of the country are attracted to the southeast as this ethnic population becomes more established in urban, university and high technology areas.
An implication of this socioeconomic shift is that there are business growth opportunities, which can be leveraged through a segmented culturally relevant marketing strategy and targeted advertising. In other words, as the Hispanic population grows, companies who start building relationships with this community will also enjoy business growth and success.
Some variables you may want to consider when thinking through your business, branding and marketing strategy for the southeastern US:
In-language communication – given the higher percentage of foreign-born Hispanics in this region, in-language communication can ease the burden of translation for potential customers especially when it comes to financial services and healthcare.
Values – many Hispanics are very group oriented and family centric. Children often are the focus of the family that means a lot of decision making is based on this consideration.
Leverage passion points such as sports, food and music
Soccer is to Hispanics what football is to Americans and Cricket is to Indians Watching a soccer game is an event for family and friends to get together.
Hispanic’s take their cooking seriously. They create their food with love, taking particular attention to the consideration of flavors.
Music is an essential to Hispanics socially. Where there are Hispanics, there is music. According to Nielsen, the average Hispanic spends $135 on music a year, more than the General Market who spends $105 a year.
Establish a consistent presence in the Hispanic community – Hispanics can become loyal customers and appreciate companies that reach out and build positive relationships with their community. Examples of this are having a presence at social events such as fairs and festivals with high Hispanic attendance or visibly initiating / supporting social initiatives such as scholarships and sports/music camps for Hispanic children and young adults. There are many positive means for outreach; the key is consistency in your presence and offerings.