Outside Insights | July 2011 | By Guest Author

What Not to Do When Marketing to Hispanics

Too often, companies fall into these six traps with their marketing efforts to the Hispanic consumer base.

Marketing to Hispanic consumers must be a top priority for today's businesses.
image used with permission.

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Companies today are where they were in the 1980s—at an impasse of how to capitalize on Hispanic consumers. This time, however, companies are struggling to grow an existing Hispanic customer base rather than capture it. Among factors in play are contradicting data espoused by outside influences; a more sophisticated, widespread, less language-based consumer; a shortage of well-trained, executive-level talent; and company executives unwilling to break from traditional approaches.

If companies continue to focus only on external advertising and marketing tactics, they will miss on improving sales revenue, market share, and profitability margin because of their existing organizational inefficiencies and flawed ethnic-markets philosophy.

Companies must organize themselves internally to better identify, lead, and direct both internal and external efforts to best meet the needs of Hispanic consumers. Those who do not will allow their more savvy competitors to bypass them in winning Hispanic consumers’ hearts and wallets.

Here are a few common strategic and operational missteps made by companies in their Hispanic consumer efforts.

1. Most big ideas are small.

Big ideas, as they relate to Hispanic initiatives, are mainly focused on external assets that have not changed much over the past 25 years. Big ideas have not addressed opportunities related to distribution channel expansion, innovation, communication optimization, organizational and reporting structures, global integration, and other avenues that can significantly impact growth and profitability. Given the pressures on corporate bottom-line delivery, the inability to measure the business effect of expenditures creates vulnerability in the long-term viability of ethnic initiatives.

Make sure your Hispanic initiatives are big ideas that are understood and supported by the C-suite, not just marketing opportunities and advertising campaigns.

2. Companies allow individual brands to drive multicultural initiatives.

Following this philosophy produces dozens of stand-alone campaigns within a company that make it near impossible for board and C-level executives to support and understand, and keeps valuable information at the mid-management level. The results of this brand-driven structure are leadership follows rather than leads, and ethnic-market opportunities are realized in a sporadic and opportunistic manner.

Relevant brands should follow a plan to grow Hispanic sales revenue and profitability company-wide; they shouldn’t seek to generate brand-specific bumps in revenue and market share.

3. Multicultural positions become dead-end jobs and do not attract or retain the best talent.

Current and former heads of multicultural (Hispanic) marketing we’ve interviewed believe they must move out of multicultural marketing and into other divisions to receive the exposure, credibility, and training to advance their careers. They also believe that the best talent does not seek multicultural roles because it will stagnate their career goals.

The most significant finding is that multicultural heads are usually internal salespeople maintaining traditional efforts instead of valuable executives focused on strengthening and expanding relationships to meet long-term growth plans.

Your multicultural personnel should spend a majority of their time deepening and expanding relationships with distribution channels and Hispanic consumers.

Your multicultural personnel should spend a majority of their time deepening and expanding relationships with distribution channels and Hispanic consumers, and should not be too busy selling their value internally.

4. Domestic and international divisions do not help each other.

Companies’ international divisions are not consulted during short- and long-term U.S. planning to share knowledge, maximize assets, increase efficiency with spending, and define mutually beneficial strategies to be relevant with foreign-born U.S. consumers, especially among Latin American countries.

Find out the differences and similarities between your U.S. and Latin American consumers, and utilize that to save money and increase sales.

5. Companies simplify while partners complicate.

Companies continue to follow stereotypes and rely on few internal personnel and many external partners to develop their ethnic-market growth strategies. Meanwhile, in the general market, leadership relies on a much wider group of well-trained internal divisions and executives, as well as traditional consultancies to identify growth opportunities.  

You should develop the same bench strength to attack ethnic marketing as you do across your other divisions.

6. Research is plentiful, insights are limited or stereotypical.

Research is mistaken for insights far too often. As U.S. Hispanics evolve from a passive, minority status to an aware and self-confident consumer force, the evolution is creating generational contradictions in personal and professional beliefs impacting consumer behavior.

Be sure to capture and act upon the most relevant consumer insights to better address the rising ethnic consumer tide.

As you can see, there are significant opportunities to align your thinking and organization to best meet the current and inevitable change in ethnic demographics.

Anthony Eros is the founder of Eros Company LLC and can be contacted at anthony@eroscompany.com.


Way, way too many marketing buzz words and not enough real life... talk about limited insights and complicating something!

this was a relatively worthless article. Too much jargon and not enough substance. I was actually excited to see QSR covering what will prove an increasingly important QSR market segment, but then sorely disappointed when I actually read the piece. Next....

I was also excited to see this topic covered, but was quickly disappointed. This article seems to be targeted to enormous companies with enormous marketing departments and "international divisions." This wasn't helpful at all. Insider language and tons of jargon only alienates me as a reader, and I do marketing for a living!

actually vet the articles that you publish? Surely 30 seconds would have been enough for any editor to decide this article needed to hit the recycle bin rather than be sent to the professionals you are trying to reach.

Thank you for wasting my time.

To summarize, and in agreement with, the previous posts:To: The editor of QSR online,If you get articles like this that appear to have valuable insight and are just a collection of regurgitated worthless BS, here's "What to Do" with them:Throw them in the circular (physical or virtual) file, and do not waste valuable space in the magazine and your reader's time with them.This from a Hispanic who has Marketing as well as Operational responsibility.

article made No sense to me.

This is lame; no wonder did not reveal author name!

Garsh, I gyess I's not as dum as I's thinkin' I is while readin' this mess..

I, too, was excited to read the story, hoping for some advice that I could implement. I agree, I didn't get anything useful from this article. And, I also agree that it seemed to be geared to big corporations, I'm an independent owner of a single unit QSR. And, I would be grateful for advice that I can use.

Below the article is the following: "Anthony Eros is the founder of Eros Company LLC and can be contacted at anthony@eroscompany.com".The language on the company web site is as abstract as the language in the article, though there is a blog, which appears to no longer be active.One thing that the article seems to be driving at is that, for various reasons, companies appear to be missing the boat when it comes to capitalizing on the potential of their Hispanic customer base. As other posters have mentioned, the article seems to be targeted at large corporations. The web site seems to have the same focus.Because of the article's lack in both clarity and detail, it's difficult to pull everyday advice out of it. That's what I was looking for when I read it. But I'm not going to discontinue my subscription over it (it's free after all).

Like all of the other readers who have taken the time to comment on the article, I was hopeful about learning new information. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The author apparently meant well, but the vocabulary/insider jargon and organization of the article make the article useless, a complete waste of time.Market researchers and corporate marketing teams can do a great deal to provide better services and products for all groups, including Hispanics. I suggest that the author get down to the street level, and interact with real people, not just fellow "experts".

If anyone is interested in receiving the white paper in its original format and entire context, versus only the condensed version that prompted above responses, please let me know and it can be forwarded. Best, Anthony Eros

If you would like to receive the white paper I wrote in its original, unedited format, versus the condensed version that prompted these comments, please let me know and it can be forwarded. Best, Anthony Eros

I was real excited coming across this article being in a predominately growing Chicano demographic. En fin, something of substance I can use and apply in my practice. What 'not to do' would lead me to 'what to do', by what means and authority. A big letdown after reading just three paragraphs. Technical questions, perhaps, but one to which they could provide no answers. Mine, wouldn't even be remotely polite.

I will stop reading qsrmagazine.com if another article like this is published.

There are some great little gold nuggets within the ad and I found it interesting and relevant. Perhaps it presumes a basic business education with a marketing class or two, but I didn't find it to be jargon-filled at all. Thank you, Guest Author, for your insights. I think that the underlying comments are ill-informed and you seem to have a glut of people who are not independent thinkers this time around. Keep writing. You can't please all of the people all of the time, but not all of us are sheople either. Good luck to you in your journalism and marketing endeavors.

Maybe because I lived it, but it made sense to me what I read. If you are in Hispanic Marketing you'll get it. I did not learn anything new but appreciated the validation. The article is directed to Marketing executives trying to profit from a growing profitable target and are doing it wrong. The way most corporations are structured and therefore approach the Hispanic consumer is not efficient.

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