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Understanding 50 Million Americans, That Happen To Be Latino.

The market is a summary of the current standing of 50 million Americans that are undervalued. The second point deals with why big brands are confused when targeting this market and the success of Yahoo! US Hispanics. The short answer is that they have folks who understand the general market but do not know how to deal with a differentiated market. We need more people who can relate to the market and evolve with it. Next we deal with how to fix it and why The US Latino Market Needs A Better Elevator Pitch. We analyze the fact that Latinos In Power Have A Responsibility and we are falling behind. We need to band together and claim our rightful place in the new and more colorful America. To do this I argue, that we need to focus in business and not so much in politics. Last but not least, I urge you to believe and then act. 

The Market

There’s a market as big as India’s right here in the United States and it remains largely untapped and severely undervalued. That market has $1 trillion dollars of raw purchasing power right now and it is projected to grow to $1.5 trillion by 2015. This market has been forgotten, underserved and undervalued for decades. The dismissal has a few pillars that are more folk tale than hard science. So rather than emotional rebuttal of folk tales, I want of offer my point of view as a market observer and entrepreneur living in the Silicon Valley.

 

A sobering data point is that 1 in 6 Americans identified themselves as Latino/a.  Latino purchasing power is about 9.6% of the total in the US and is growing at an astonishing rate. By 2015 it is projected that the purchasing power of Latinos would be $1.5 trillion. Please, don’t take my word for it, check out the Forbes article, The Next Media Jackpot: The Fight For The $1 Trillion Hispanic Market and draw your own conclusions and consider what Alex Ruelas, cofounder of the Austin-based ­marketing agency LatinWorks says: “The Hispanic ­market is no longer being viewed as a niche, minority market for a lot of companies. It’s becoming a fairly major part of the mainstream, and it’s helping to reshape the overall ­universe of consumers in a way that’s a bit surprising to people.”

Consider this, “Hispanics lead the Recovery by Occupying Walmart, not Wall Street. Research indicates that online consumers, and Hispanics in particular, are influenced by value-added impressions that target them specifically. We need only look at Amazon to see how successful this approach has been with the general population. It is a model that other retailers can follow as they extend their online efforts to target and serve the Hispanic market. As the fastest adopters of new technology, Hispanic consumers provide myriad opportunities to reach them online, via mobile devices, and through social media.” –– Glenn Llopis.

 

Why Are Big Brands Confused?

The categorization of a diverse demographic into a single low value profile is widely accepted as industry standard. This diminishes the value of a consumer. It must be noted that it is partly a self-inflicted wound. Not making it a priority and hoping that large brands would simply notice is not working and will most likely not work. We need to simplify the message and make it appealing to big brands and industry verticals like entertainment or fashion.

In a recent article about the success of the Yahoo! US Hispanic, Javier Garcia defines the diversity of these audience as an asset that needs to be understood and that needs to be addressed by a multi-channel and bilingual marketing strategy.

When you compare the U.S. Hispanic market versus the U.S. general market, Hispanics tend to embrace and consume more, so they’re generally over index in a lot of things. They also behave a lot like the general market, but in general terms we see a more engaged type of audience. For example, Hispanics may be enjoying “American Idol,” but they also may be going to Yahoo! Colombia or Yahoo! Argentina for the latest news. So it’s like this mix that you really need to know how to program towards. [...] The U.S. Hispanic market has the mix so it’s trickier. You need to come up with content that resonates with them, calls their attention. The trick is how do you find that angle on the particular event that reaches everyone. If we cover baseball, maybe one of the pieces that we write we focus it on a Latino player and not necessarily on the team.

The US Latino Market Needs A Better Elevator Pitch

Many times when pitching Interesante.com to potential investors, I actually need to do a pitch about the value of the US Latino Market. My pitch often focuses on things that reflect the astounding success of the Latino community coming together rather than focusing on acculturation. We are driving trends not being absorbed by a culture. We are shaping it.

Companies like to know who they are targeting in a simple way. The message needs to be succinct enough so that it can travel up the chain of command and continue to carry weight. The problem is that this simplicity creates narrow thinking and turns potentially big campaigns into cheap localized (and often wrongly translated) copies of the mainstream marketing campaign.

Latinos In Power Have A Responsibility

Latinos in power have to own the responsibility of paving the way for the rest to follow. There needs to be a lot more people like Sol Trujillo speaking out Latinos as the next engine of growth in the US. Be this,  Sergio Romo who threw the series-winning last strike out in the 2012 World Series against the Detroit Tigers, strode through the city during the team’s celebratory victory parade wearing a t-shirt with the words: “I just look illegal.” or the latest Rolling Stones Magazine cover.

Find Role Models Not Heroes

Cesar Chavez is fantastic and he is a great role model and in addition a hero. But culture moves faster and we need symbols of our progress and future while respecting our past. Google honored Cesar Chavez and I was ecstatic. But we are more than Cesar Chavez. We are Calle 13 and Elena Ochoa.  We are Sonia Sotomayor and Geraldo Rivera. We must highlight the role models of today who are actively creating a brighter tomorrow. Jennifer Lopez, Louis C.K., Sofia Vergara and many other multidimensional Latinos that offer a clear path for the rest of us to follow. People like Solomon Trujillo who speaks regularly about the business value of Latinos.

Focus In Business Not Politics

Yes, we have an immigration problem. Yes, it is unjust and something should be done about it and yes we should all be part of the solution. But there is a reality in this country: business dictates policy. We are, to a great extent part of the 99%, fighting every day to build a better future. We chase the American dream and we expect no volume discount. We came here to work hard and to build a better future for us, our families and the ones that will come after us. We need to build ourselves into a financial pilars fo our communities and then build a road and lend a hand to others that want to follow your lead.

Believe, Then Act 

Stop seeking “mainstream” approval. If anything, mainstream publications are validating Latino influence as you can see in the covers of Time , Rolling Stone  and Forbes Magazines. We are shaping what being American means. Our hunger to improve, our deep confidence in the American Dream and a fast growing community influence mainstream American culture in a deep way. From subtle signs in e-commerce, like the success of a large internet retailer like casa.com (owned by Amazon) that is using a Spanish word to sell to moms and dads across America. Latinos need to stand up and represent us at all levels of business and politics.

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