Everyone in marketing is talking about the potential buying power of the rapidly growing Hispanic marketplace and the need to develop programs that specifically cater to this audience. Despite all the talk, only a few brands that haven't aggressively marketed to Hispanics are taking the leap; among them: Intuit's Turbo Tax, NAPA Auto Parts, and Target. Adding to the drag, marketing budgets for brands that have traditionally targeted the Hispanic consumer have not expanded at the same rate as the population explosion. The following insights should provide a better understanding of the market to help ease the trepidation associated with putting dollars behind this very influential target audience.

1. Growing Audience

The commonly understood number of Hispanic consumers living in the U.S. today is 50 million. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, that number is not only going to grow exponentially to a projected 133 million by 2050, it's also going to grow in the acculturated segment (bilingual or English dominant), which means these consumers are growing up exposed to American brands and, as such, are a very viable target audience.

2. Purchasing Power

While Hispanics continue to play a key role in food service, agriculture, and blue-collar, non-technical jobs, data from the Selig Center for Economic Growth estimate that Hispanics have $1.2 trillion in purchasing power, which is growing at a faster rate than that of African American, Native American, and Asian buying power. The takeaway here: Hispanics have money to spend on the brands they like and want.

3. Unrivaled Loyalty

Hispanics are historically very loyal to their beliefs, friends, family, and all the things they are passionate about. Thus, brands that make a commitment to Hispanics by providing smartly-developed programs filled with contextual value will not only be embraced, but shared among their family and friends. The key to this approach is being consistent and recognizing an understanding of the acculturation levels that exist between those who have recently moved to the U.S. versus those who have generationally lived here.

4. Passion Points

At my agency, FORMULATIN, we have found that one of the strongest ways to establish a connection between a brand and Hispanic consumers is to tap into their passion points. While these could cover a wide expanse, we have traditionally centered on family, music, sports, beauty, and food. The key is to assess what's important to your brand and the Hispanic audience to determine which passion point(s) can connect the two.

5. Geographic Expansion

Though Hispanics have been especially dominant in the Southwest, South Florida, Chicago, and New York City, there has been significant population growth in non-traditional geographic markets such as North and South Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Colorado. Additionally, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are now eight states with more than 1 million Hispanics living within them. All this adds up to more opportunities, for Hispanic consumers and the brands marketing to them.

6. Internet Usage

With landlines in Spanish-speaking countries so poor, Hispanics quickly embraced cellular usage at the technology's infancy. The same can be said of Internet usage, with an estimated 78 percent online (up from 64 percent just three years ago per E-marketer).   For marketers this means that progressive online or social media programs should be as readily accepted and embraced among Hispanic consumers as the general market.

The stats pretty much speak for themselves: the Hispanic consumer marketplace is growing in numbers, regions, and influence. Any brand ignoring this would be foolish. As my Mexican-American mother used to tell me when I was growing up, "It's important to love both cultures." Brands would be wise to follow the same advice and, when developing marketing programs, think beyond the general market to consider what could or should be done to connect with Hispanic audiences.