Minority populations in the United States are growing at a rapid pace, and continue to gain wealth and cultural influence. There's huge opportunity for companies to make inroads in these markets - if only they knew how to reach them! The largest and still one of the fastest growing minorities in the US is the Hispanic population. Marketers are dying to know how to effectively reach Latinx people in North and South America.
YPO member Andres Farias knows how to get the attention of the Latinx market. The Mexican native has built his career on helping companies reach this expanding, evolving market. After graduating from Universidad de Monterrey, he started Evek & Asociados, a below the line marketing and promotional agency in Monterrey and Mexico City, Mexico. Farias is also the founder and CEO of EVO Marketing, a digital marketing company that targets the affluent Hispanic market in Houston and Mexico. Farias has worked with brands like Porsche, Coca-Cola, Absolut Vodka, and Oscar Meyer. He's also the founder of ZENICS, a production house specializing in virtual reality. Additionally, he sits on the board of Calixe, a management consulting firm in Monterrey, and Pro Magazine, the entrepreneurship and innovation magazine of Monterrey. Farias has attended business programming at MIT, Stanford, and Harvard.
On an episode of my podcast 10 Minute Tips from the Top, Farias shared insights into effectively marketing to Latinx populations:
1. Don't assume homogeneity.
Hispanics are a diverse population, with demographic realities that make them especially interesting as a target market. "If a brand comes to Mexico, they really need to do their homework. A lot of brands have failed entering the Mexican market thinking that doing the same thing that they do in the US is going to work in Mexico," Farias warns. He asserts that this is true even if that same strategy is working well for the Hispanic community in the US. Additionally, what works in a small country in Central America may not work in Mexico. Farias also notes the interplay between old and new in countries with high immigration. He says, "A lot of people go to the US, and of course they have to adapt to a different culture, country, everything. But people stay true to their traditions and values at the end of the day." If you want to market to any of them effectively, you need to be paying close attention to what makes that particular group tick.
2. It's about more than just language.
Farias believes in establishing trust with clients. "Credibility plays a huge role in my industry," he explains, and companies need to show they've made an effort to get it right. Farias shares a funny story about an American airline that tried to grow its Mexican client base by promoting their fancy new seats, with a slogan in English that bragged, "Now you can fly in leather!" Unfortunately, the airline wasn't careful, Farias says, and "The copy translated into...'Now you can fly naked!'" He goes on, "Imagine the chaos of a company that didn't do their homework and thought that just by translating a message, it would take the same meaning." Farias explains, "By doing it right, people see you and perceive you as a company or brand that really cares." When it comes to marketing, don't cut corners. It may backfire spectacularly!
3. Family first.
Farias believes that traditions can be very powerful tools for marketers. "Hispanics are very conservative. They're very family-oriented. A lot of decisions are [made] as a family," Farias states. "Appealing to those traditions of family, of values, of being conservative - a lot of people are very religious as well - is a smart strategy," he argues. Farias also shares that mothers play a powerful role in Hispanic culture. "The mother - 'la jefa,' as a lot of brands call her - makes the decisions in terms of what products to buy, what to cook..." So if you want to appeal to Hispanic buyers, make sure you get mom's stamp of approval!
4. They're changing, fast.
Just like other groups of immigrants before them, younger Hispanic generations in the US are becoming more socialized in an American way of life. Farias says that companies need to account for these generational differences in their marketing. It's a task that can be challenging with limited marketing budgets. "When you have a brand that is looking to create an experience with their target market, you really need to know where the best touchpoint is, where we can connect with our target market, to really create an experience and get them to try our product," he says. He goes on, "You need to create a strategy to appeal to your market and to create a bond...You need to invest in this relationship with your consumers. It's all about working smart, not about working hard." Making this commitment to your customers will pay off, in the short and long terms.
On Fridays, Kevin explores industry trends, professional development, best practices, and other leadership topics with CEOs from around the world.