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Cultural Connectors, Like Music And Sports, Central To Marketing To Latinos.

A recently publisher study by Kantar found 400 marketers have a dedicated Hispanic strategy while an eye-popping 1,900 said they didn't have any plan at all. At the final day of Advertising Week in New York, a panel of Latino marketing experts said brands that exclude this significant slice of the U.S. population from their media plans do so at their own peril. “The opportunity is there. We're starting to see a lot of brands come into the space but there is so much work to be done,” said Eric Garcia, VP of Audio Sales, at Univision Communications. “It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee.”

Claudia Romo Edelman, founder of the We Are All Human Foundation and its Hispanic Star Platform, set the stage for what’s at stake. According to the 2020 Census, there are 62 million Latinos in the U.S. and they make up 19% of the population. By 2050 the number will rise to 30%. If that’s not enough to entice marketers, the average age in the U.S. Latino community is 28 years old, a decade younger than the rest of the population. Eight in ten are bilingual. And, importantly for marketers, this group commands $1.9 trillion in buying power.

“If you are in business in this country and you're going to grow your brand and grow sales and go to market, you have to pay attention to this marketplace,” said Garcia.

As more marketers make commitments to increase their investment in Black-owned and Black-targeted media, Garcia advocated for ad spend to catch up with Hispanic media consumption. “I think for Hispanics, it's still lagging,” he said. “I don't know if it's an education process but I think we need to evolve from not only showing the data, but starting to roar a little bit and get the blood flowing because the messaging isn't there.”

The consensus among “The Hispanic Consumer as the Key to Unlocking Growth” panelists was that U.S. Hispanics want to be spoken to – in a way that is genuine.

Omar Minaya, the Ambassador of Hispanic Relations for the New York Mets and the first-ever Latino general manager in the MLB, stressed the need for marketing messages to be authentic. “You’ve got to have enough intensity to it and there has to be a consistency to it,” he said. “It cannot just be Hispanic Heritage Month. We're beyond that. It has to be all year-round.”

Marketers that are authentically connecting with this fast-growing, influential consumer segment are using “cultural connectors” like music and sports to do so. It used to be that Latin artists wanted to record with English-language artists. Now it’s the opposite: non-Hispanic artists looking to record with Latin artists. “You're starting to see these sort of cultural connectors, whether it's music, whether it's sports,” Garcia explained. “That's going to be the medium that's going to allow you to connect with this community. This community wants to see that your message to them is pure, and utilizing the proper vehicle to be able to do that will get you across the boat.”

Broadcast radio reaches 90% of U.S. Hispanics weekly, according to Nielsen. But Univision and other broadcasters aren’t stopping there. Broadcast and digital only content is being distributed across an array of devices and platforms for a population that over-indexes on digital.

“You're reaching millions of people [but] we're speaking to one individual who is probably listening to that on his own. That level of engagement is just exceptionally powerful,” said Garcia. “Hispanic media traditionally has been your grandparents’ Oldsmobile. We're seeing his spectrum become younger and younger every day and following the pattern of the market.”

Edelman reminded the Advertising Week crowd that Latinos are a business imperative for brands to grow. “If you want to get out of business, just keep on doing what you're doing,” she chided. “Otherwise invest heavily because you're not going to be alone. Sports are investing heavily and other companies are already being the first mover.”

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