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Univision Marketing VP: If you want to grow your business, target Latino consumers

With the explosive growth of the United States' Latino population, marketers can no longer think of Latinos as a niche market. If businesses want to grow, Latino customers must be integrated into all stages of marketing, not added as an afterthought.

That's the message Chiqui Cartagena, VP of corporate marketing at Univision, brought to the January luncheon of the Cincinnati Chapter of the American Advertising Federation. The luncheon was held at the Covington Radisson.

She brought a few stats to back her up:
  • Latinos saw 56 percent population growth since the last census
  • 1 in 4 births today is to a Latina mother
  • 100 percent of population growth of adults 18-49 in the next 10 years will come from Hispanics
"There are 1.5 million new Hispanics joining the marketplace every year," Cartagena says. "Hispanics are now 17 percent of the population and soon will be 30 percent. The general market is the Hispanic market."

Univision, with major operations in New York and Florida, has the largest Spanish-speaking television audience in the world. The growing station often rivals the country's major television networks and is available by cable and satellite.

Cartagena is the author of "Latino Boom! Everything You Need to Know to Grow Your Business in the U.S. Hispanic Market." The 25-year marketing and media veteran has developed, launched and lead some of America's successful Spanish-language consumer magazines, including People en Espanol.

Instead of reaching out to Latinos at the end of the marketing process, successful marketing really integrates Latino consumers into all parts of marketing, including product development and messaging, says Cartagena. This is a major shift from the past.

Major brands, including Walmart, have dramatically shifted their marketing mindset, she says. Recently, the company said it expected 100 percent of its growth will come from multicultural markets, with plans to double its advertising spending in that area.

It takes much more effort than translating an ad or packaging into Spanish to create loyalty in the Hispanic market, Cartagena says. Among her recommendations were to:
  • Examine if your products and services are culturally relevant
  • Create culturally relevant themes in the marketing
  • Support your efforts with sufficient and consistent funding
  • Define and track success

"Embrace the similarities and the differences between the Hispanic and general market," she says. "It's really about growing your business. You need to present (products or services) that are culturally relevant to Latinos, then invite them in."

By Feoshia H. Davis
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