Is it 1980? From the looks of the results of the survey we at Orc?¡ just commissioned of senior advertising and marketing executives in February 2010, we feel like we're in a time warp.
Given what is sure to be a historic effort by the U.S. Census this year to count the American people, we thought it was an excellent timeframe to get a pulse on the opinions, plans and marketing practices of top U.S. businesses, as it relates to Latinos. There is no doubt that like in past Census efforts, the number of Latinos ÔÇô predicted to be 50 million ÔÇô will be big news.
How will senior marketers respond to the changing face of American consumers in 2010? The survey's key finding: 82% of respondents said they have no plans to start or increase marketing to Hispanics--but from 78% to 89% agree that Hispanics impact on U.S. culture, particularly in food tastes and technology (where Latinos have always been early adopters and still are the fastest growing online demographic).
Rather than shake my head at the findings and talk about how I wished American businesses had changed over the last 20-30 years, I suggest we focus on the bigger story: The opportunity.
Tech savvy Latinos are young trend setters with disposable income. What does it say to us when El Paso is the texting capital of the U.S.? Time to dispel myths about Latinos and the so-called digital divide. When Hispanics are the heaviest users of wireless through mobile phones and laptops, there is no divide. And why is youthfulness so compelling (62% of Latinos are under 18 in Hispanic households)? Young people ÔÇô young families ÔÇô spend money.
More so than ever before, Latinos can be a key driver of business for American companies today. Businesses ÔÇô small and medium-sized included ÔÇô all need to develop more effective strategies for moving the needle.
Of course there are many examples, our clients included, that have long understood and reaped the benefits of tapping into the Latino market. But at a time when American businesses are fighting to regain market share, the opportunity to effectively engage the Hispanic market as a growth strategy is just too compelling to ignore.