As National Hispanic Heritage Month wraps up, over the past few weeks (and arguably years), both English and Spanish media have bombarded viewers, readers and listeners with bilingual marketing efforts. These efforts are not falling on deaf ears, and Latino consumers are listening. However, the question now is Where is business-to-business in the Hispanic marketing effort? The silence should raise alarm.
It has taken consumer brands decades to make some inroads with the U.S.-Latino consumer population. This population is still a sticky segment for marketers and brands, but efforts show there is a slow upward trend of understanding demographic subsegments, cultural and bilingual sensitivities (think Wells Fargo, Hyundai and VW). Consumer brands are coming around to understanding that it is now tablestakes to be talking to this demographic—a realization that has still not resonated with most B-to-B brands and marketers.
There’s a strong case to be made for B-to-B brands and marketers to follow their consumer counterparts—not just from a dollars-and-cents perspective, but from a basic population growth perspective.
From a bottom-line standpoint, Geoscape research indicates that the number of Hispanic-owned businesses is expected to grow to more than 3.22 million in 2014—an increase of 43 percent since 2007 and more than double the growth rate for all U.S. firms. Furthermore, these Hispanic-owned businesses are projected to bring in $486 billion in revenue to the U.S. economy—just this year. As these businesses grow, so will their demand for B-to-B products (think financial, industrial, logistical and technological services). Don’t assume these businesses are exclusively small and not worth the effort. They range from family-owned offices with a few dozen employees to businesses with thousands of people.
Telecoms see the value in this space and, according toAdvertising Age in this year’s “Hispanic Fact Pack,” Time Warner Cable, AT&T and Comcast Corp. take the top spots for TV media spend in Hispanic mediums. Is it a coincidence that these same telecoms have competitive business-to-business product lines? My guess is no and others should follow their leads.
Population-wise, no doubt you’ve read the statistics: 163 percent increase in population between 2010 and 2050 (or 30 percent of the total U.S. population) and over a trillion dollars in purchasing power. As the saying goes, there is power in the numbers. Marketers know these numbers and at least know there is an opportunity. Google recently conducted a survey of senior-level marketers to see if the U.S. Hispanic audience was on their roadmaps. They clearly see there is room for growth but were only “somewhat” or “not at all” advising clients to invest. Imagine the same survey conducted at the B-to-B level.
As B-to-B brands and marketers consider the What’s in it for me? question, when it comes to Hispanic targeted marketing, the question that should be posed is What do I lose by ignoring this segment? The answer: potentially millions of dollars.
Melissa Pitts – Account Executive, gyro New York
Melissa Pitts is an Account Executive at gyro New York. Prior to joining gyro, she worked at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas and in the United States Senate where she worked on policy pertaining to foreign affairs, trade and defense.
She has written extensively on B2B marketing and advertising as well as Latino issues in the advertising industry. Her work has been published in Forbes, The Huffington Post, and Americas Quarterly.
She has a Masters of Arts in Graphic Communications, Management and Technology from New York University and a B.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Arizona.
Follow her at @mpittsm