Cross-Cultural U.S. Hispanic Campaigns Must Be Strategic, Not Superficial

Guest Post from Chiqui Cartagena, vice president of corporate marketing at Univision Communications Inc.

Some people have confused total market strategy with what I call “rainbow marketing,” which is an effort to mainstream multicultural marketing. These efforts are often driven by simple casting choices in commercials — “let’s make sure we have one of each color in the ad, and voilà, there’s your cross-cultural spot.” In my opinion, this does not work because it is based on a superficial approach, not a strategic approach.

On the other hand, total market strategy is a seven-step process that, if done correctly, can yield incredible results. This is a process that is starting to be used by leading marketers and media planners who recognize the need to reach all potential consumers who fall within a brand’s target market, regardless of race, ethnicity or language preference.

Multicultural’s Multiple Meanings
You see, the concept of “multicultural marketing” was born in the nineties, when ethnic segmentation tools became sophisticated enough to really help marketers and agencies better understand who was consuming their products. But over the years, the term multicultural became a way of “segregating” consumer segments by size: If they weren’t big enough, they didn’t matter. The reality is that the so-called “general market” really became a euphemism for “whites.” Smart marketers now recognize that ethnic consumers, whether Hispanic, African American, or Asian, are an increasingly important part of the mainstream, the new mainstream, as Guy Garcia called it in 2004.

Glenn Llopis, founder of the Center for Hispanic Leadership, got it right when he recently said, “Many organizations want to make Hispanics part of the ‘mainstream’ — but they must know how to integrate their intentions with proper intelligence and know-how.” In the same article written for Forbes magazine in November 2012, he adds, “Ignoring the Hispanic market represents slow death. On the other hand, those who invest wisely will dominate their industry for the next twenty years! Those who don’t are putting their businesses and brands at risk. The Hispanic market can no longer be viewed as a tactical option, but rather must become a strategic imperative. The Hispanic market must stop being managed and approached as if it were a diversity initiative. You must either be in or out. There is no gray area here.”

I truly believe that total market strategy is the right way to execute successful marketing initiatives for Latinos or any other ethnic community.

Learn More On Multicultural Marketing
This is an excerpt from my upcoming book “Latino Boom II.” And this discussion on total market strategy will be reviewed in my presentation at AAF Cincinnati’s “Marketing to a Multicultural Nation luncheon on Wednesday, January 16, 2013.

For additional Hispanic consumer research and insights from Univision, please visit Univision Hispanic Research, and follow us on Twitter at @Hispanic411.

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Chiqui Cartagena is vice president of corporate marketing for Univision Communications Inc., the leading media company serving Hispanic America. She is also the author of Latino Boom: Everything You Need to Know to Grow Your Business in the U.S. Hispanic Market and “Latino Boom II: Catch the Biggest Demographic Wave Since the Baby Boom” on sale March 1. Univision recently announced it will create an internal agency to unify the look and feel of the network and its properties.

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David Germano
David Germano

David is the VP of Content Marketing for Empower Media Marketing, and runs Empower's Content Marketing division, Magnetic Content Studios. For more than 14 years, David has been helping brands develop sustained content marketing strategies and operate like media to build their own audiences. David is often speaking on the topic, and is a guest contributor to Content Marketing Institute.