It's fascinating data that speaks for itself:
Nearly four-fifths (79%) of 14- to 34-year-old Hispanics cannot identify a brand that accurately targets young Latinos, according to a major new study released at a New York conference—Me2: Understanding the Young Latino in America—last week.
Four-fifths of Latinos in the most attractive age demo imaginable don't think your marketing is working with them. Why might that be?
“It shows that this is a group that is not being well-served by existing media,” says Sharon Lee, co-president and co-founder of the unusually named Look-Look, a marketing company that conducted the study on behalf of Telemundo’s youth-oriented network, Mun2. “There is a huge opportunity here for anyone who understands their needs and learns how to engage them.”
That's a no-brainer. But why hasn't anyone been able to figure this out yet?
Here I am editing this entry. Latinmo
I'll tell you why. Because Latinos are a highly diverse (read highly segmented), highly complex group of people. Let me give you a real world example: my friend Monica is a first-generation Mexican-American twenty-something living in San Francisco. She is a marketer's dream, as she is extremely trend-conscious, loves gadgets and is willing to spend a little extra to get something newer or better. She has some disposable income that she is willing to part with.
How does a marketer target Monica? Well, they've got to get to know her first. Monica is fully bilingual. She speaks both Spanish and English at the native level. She "feels" more Latina than anything else, but responds mostly to Gen X American humor a la VH-1 specials and SNL. She treasures her heritage but is completely integrated into American life. She is truly a Mexican-American.
What does this mean? It means that Monica represents only one segment of the U.S. Latino market. While there are thousands more potential customers who will respond to the same things Monica responds to, there are thousands more will respond to just the opposite.
So, instead of one huge market, we have maybe ten mini-markets within the Latino market. Unfortunately, no one has been able to recognize this (at least as far as I know) or at least they haven't been successful at manifesting this knowledge.
Monica is not Western Union-ing money back to Mexico. Let that serve as a reminder that much of your Latino audience is completely different from the one you are attempting to market to in Spanish. Oh, she'll respond to an ad in Spanish (or better yet Spanglish), but it better be for something relevant; like high-end purse or a new iPod.
Until marketers realize that "Latino" is a term that we lazily use to define a community -- one that doesn't exist outside of the United States -- that is extremely diverse and comprised of people as different among themselves as they are from you, no one will truly conquer this market. Come out of your boardrooms and get to know your customer. Stop going to Hispanic marketing conferences and start thinking about who you're talking to and how.