Top U.S. marketers under-invest in Hispanic marketing

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Article after article on Hispanic direct marketing emphasizes the same points over and over, namely, that Hispanics prefer to be marketed to in their "native" tongue -- Spanish.

These same articles emphasize that Hispanics are a growing segment of the population with tremendous purchasing power whose mailboxes are relatively empty in comparison to the general marketplace.

Furthermore, the authors emphasize that navigating the waters of Hispanic marketing demands an expertise that can only be acquired from years of frontline, in-the-trenches experience.

For the most part, all of these statements are true. But one must realize that many of the authors have their own agendas and seek to position themselves as the "gurus" in order to garner new business.

Reality is that today it is easier than ever for a marketer to get his piece of the Hispanic pie. Transliteration services abound and can easily and inexpensively turn your general market creative into effective Hispanic marketing materials.

Just like in any business, there is a range of quality from one provider to the next. Clearly, if you were testing an insert or a space ad, you would want a transliterator with knowledge of the medium and the specific market you intend to reach.

For some, the solution lies in retaining an agency that specializes in Hispanic marketing. Such agencies take the full responsibility for creation through execution.

In most cases, these agencies are smaller and more regionalized and their fees are far less then mass marketers typically pay for outside services from general marketing agencies.

Hispanic agencies are tuned to the language and imagery that motivates purchasing behaviors in Hispanics which is often nuanced and different than you might expect for the general market.

Classic direct marketers who employ their own creative departments need to go outside for the creative and marketing expertise. They must recognize that the modest investment in testing this market can yield very exciting returns often many times greater than the ROI they receive in the general market.

Furthermore, the loyalty of Hispanics is an established reality. Once becoming a customer, the Hispanic consumer will welcome your marketing material and see you in a positive light, tending to buy from you again and again generating significant lifetime value.

Time and again I have conferred with marketers who express a sincere desire to tap the lucrative Hispanic market and other multicultural markets including African Americans and Asian Americans among others.

Like deer caught in the headlights, the eyes on these highly experienced general market practitioners tend to glaze over as they look at the sheer size of the multicultural market and contemplate next steps.

They express the need for an all-embracing solution that can carry them into the future. They are concerned that if they enter the market and fail they won't get a second chance.

Some remain immobile but many begin the process of testing targeted programs. They quickly learn that multicultural marketing is a friendly place and a predictable one. It responds to the same forces as the general market.

According to a new study just released by the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies, at a time when corporations are looking for new marketing opportunities and only hoping to grow sales in mature industries, many companies are missing a major opportunity when it comes to reaching Hispanic consumers.

The study reveals that the majority of America's top advertisers are significantly under investing in their efforts to reach Hispanic consumers.

So, in short, it's time to stop debating the merits of entry into the Hispanic market and to begin creating an action plan to gain a market share before the other guys do it.

All the support and experience you need to build a successful program are out there right now. You can choose from more mailing lists than ever before, numerous insert programs, print mediums and targeted broadcast as well. And you can find a plethora of professional consultants and service companies who can make it happen quickly and easily.

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