Using 2020 Census Data to Improve Marketing to Hispanics

A look at 4 steps toward better engagement

As of late, the advertising industry has been holding important conversations around the effectiveness of multicultural marketing, which has in turn put a spotlight on culture agencies that specialize in connecting with communities on a more authentic level. But these conversations can only create progress and impact if they encompass the full scope of multicultural, which is unfortunately not the case, even as we approach Hispanic Heritage Month.

Many of these conversations are leaving out how brands should set themselves up for success with the largest group in the U.S., according to the latest data from the 2020 Census: Hispanics.

Looking at this valuable data, I can only picture how most multicultural agencies in the U.S. are in the process of developing charts or an infographic that makes sense of the Census. Whatever visual they use, I hope they will all detail some key findings that support this, most notably:

• The Hispanic population is already 18.7 percent of the U.S., now reaching over 62 million
• Fifty-one percent of the U.S. population growth in the last 10 years has come from Hispanics
• The Hispanic population has grown 23 percent since the 2010 census
• One in four children in the United States is Hispanic

These numbers stand out because there has been no denying that the Hispanic community is on its way to possessing a large chunk of the buying power in the U.S. But from a marketing and advertising perspective, the investment in reaching and influencing this buying power doesn't quite add up.

Information published by the Hispanic Marketing Council, based on Nielsen's research, shows that the entire Hispanic marketing media investment in 2020 was only 6 percent of the overall marketing industry investment. If the Hispanic population is around 18 percent (18.7 to be exact), then we can conclude that only a third of the required investment is put toward the Hispanic community.

And that just doesn't make sense.

To engage this audience, which currently represents the biggest source of growth in the U.S., brand strategies and campaigns need to be undeniably upward instead of downward. What do I mean by this?

Develop brand concepts from the ground up.

Take into consideration relevant, meaningful Hispanic insights that translate into engaging campaign messages, all of which are anchored in culture and go beyond language. This will create a more meaningful and authentic experience for audiences while also demonstrating dedication to the consumer.

Stop retrofitting general market approaches.

Instead of adapting an old concept, start unlocking culture to authentically and fully engage with Hispanic audiences who are providing growth for the brand. Pepsi is a good example of a great turnaround once they went back into Hispanic specific campaigns, in addition to making structural changes to establish a Hispanic business unit with its own P&L.

Let the experts guide you.

It's not so simple to learn the correct styles of emotional storytelling that will break down those barriers to audiences. The right agency knows what stories to tell and how to tell them correctly. They must be well equipped to incorporate those intangibles, subtleties and nuances that can make a world of difference when properly addressing the Hispanic community.

Diversification is the name of the game.

Look at a marketing budget the same way you look at a portfolio investment. See the entire pie and forget the crumbs. It's time to put your money where your mouth is, but more importantly where the growth is already coming from.

Hispanic Heritage Month and the latest Census data offer a timely opportunity to better understand and develop a wider reach among one very influential segment year-round. It is also a reminder for brands to have the same amount or revisit their dedication to Hispanics while considering their overall commitment to the entire multicultural investment mix, including African American and Asian American. If they don't manage this balance, they are sacrificing crucial ROI that other brands are seeing after taking this approach for years, such as McDonald's, Toyota and Nestlé.

Simply put, if you're not investing in Hispanic content, your marketing efforts are incomplete. The continued growth and impact of this community will be directly proportional to the pace and scale of its purchasing power, so investing in this loyal, fast-growing and highly influential consumer segment is what makes the most sense.

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