Suddenly, Hispanics are the new flavor of the month. The mainstream media, politicians, and advertisers are all trying to figure out how they can reach and profit from this growing, young market and it’s no longer an underground campaign.
Earlier this summer at the annual Nielson Conference, the Chief Marketing Officer of Coca-Cola revealed that Hispanics are a key part of Coke’s growth strategy through 2020.
David Calhoun, the CEO of Nielson, was even more blunt at that conference. He said that Hispanics are the biggest source of growth for all U.S. companies and challenged business owners to spend 65% of their time “figuring out this Hispanic opportunity.”
Many of my clients and entrepreneurial friends always turn to me as the voice of “expertise” on how to reach this growing market. I am Hispanic — first generation — with a news background that took me through three TV markets with large Hispanic populations: Phoenix, Miami, and New York.
When I was an Executive Producer with WNBC, I co-founded the NBC/Telemundo Hispanic Forum, which brought Latino journalists from the English and Spanish news divisions together for networking and mentoring sessions. Today, I run a public relations firm — 3M Media Group — that gets publicity for clients ranging from nonprofits to personalities to small businesses.
You would think with my background, I would have thought of targeting Hispanics when it came to finding new business. But guess what: I didn’t take advantage of my insider edge.
It took meetings with three different clients (who are not Hispanic) before I realized I was missing out on reaching a key growth opportunity. My clients told me they wanted to reach my market, my people, my culture, and asked me how they could achieve that.
Sometimes, we need to get out of the coffee shop to appreciate the coffee aroma.
After the light went on in my head, I pitched one of my bilingual clients to CNN en Enspañol. Within ten minutes, I heard back from a news producer, telling me she loved my story idea. She just needed to test my client’s Spanish skills over the phone.
My client passed the test and before the end of the day, he was booked on Dinero, which airs at 8 p.m. on CNN en Español. My client was the sole expert for a four-minute segment that aired on national TV in primetime. This never happens so quickly in English TV.
So what does this mean to you as a person trying to grow your business?
If you speak Spanish, you already stand above the crowded publicity market. English news outlets don’t need to search for experts because everyone they want is eager to get on TV. Lawyers, accountants, financial consultants, nutritionists, doctors — they’re easy to find anywhere, but Spanish journalists need to look harder to find their equivalents for their audience. Make sure you are marketing those Spanish skills directly to the Spanish-speaking news market if you understand the language.
And if you don’t speak Spanish, it’s okay, but you should consider hiring a person who can speak directly to the fastest growing market. Understanding the Spanish market is not easy, since it’s made up from many different cultures and countries, but the language does unite us all.
So take the time to remember the business that creates noise, gets noticed. Add a little salsa to the beat and you might have a better chance of reaching this crowd, which is ambitious, young, and growing with influence and affluence.
Mark Macias is the co-founder of BigBirdFans.com. He produces social media videos for all kinds of clients and consults on publicity campaigns. You can read more at www.MaciasPR.com.