Are Your Clients Seeking Growth? Fix Their Hispanic Blind Spots.

Contributed by Sandra Diaz, Founder of DIAZ&CO

Despite rising diversity and interracial marriages in the U.S., we’re still, for the most part, a segregated society. It is evident in the polarized opinions espoused in traditional news outlets and social media channels.

In fact, a 2013 American Values Survey quantified the extent of the issue: the personal network of the average white American is 91% white, for black Americans it is 65% black and among Hispanic Americans, 46% Hispanic. 

Couple that with the lack of diversity among agencies and their clients: according to a 2017 playbook by 72AndSunny, the advertising industry is 81% white and only 19% people of color. And, an analysis of the data of 16 Fortune 500 companies that share detailed demographic information about employees revealed that 73% of their senior executives, men and women, are white.

This means you, your peers and your clients lack exposure to cultural mindsets other than your own. It creates blind spots that limit your clients’ ability to deliver growth.

A lack of personal experiences of diversity is currently impacting your and your clients’ business in three ways:

  • It prevents client-agency teams from crafting the right approach to influence consumers, building connections to gain their trust. No credibility = no sales.
  • It inhibits client-agency teams from challenging your companies’ go-to-market assumptions. No questioning = no disruptive innovation.
  • It perpetuates beliefs and behaviors that block end users and client-agency teams from the best solutions. No change = no economic/societal progress.

Here’s an example of how a lack of cultural fluency impacts business: I was approached by a brand that had received a retailers’ request to launch a product for Hispanics that was not aligned with their brand equity. Fulfilling it was critical, as this was a major customer where Hispanic stores represented 40% of the total number of outlets. 

Once I helped my client analyze their sales in Hispanic vs. non-Hispanic stores, we found out that 80% of their items sold better to Hispanics. If they had known this going into the meeting with the retail buyer, the product launch request would have been solved in two minutes. In addition, we discovered an opportunity to improve display sell-through by 50%, as they were featuring the 20% of the items that were not relevant to Hispanics. Clearly, tweaking the items on display was a more immediate way to drive incremental sales compared to the expense and uncertainty of launching a new product.

When fixing diversity blind spots, I usually recommend focusing on Hispanics first since Bureau of Labor Statistics projections show they will drive 91% of 2014 to 2024 civilian labor force growth (i.e., will usually be a brands’ biggest source of new customers).

However, before adopting my recommendation, validate first how Hispanics are impacting your clients today. Consider the percentage of sales they source from highly Hispanic areas, the percentage of their target market that is Hispanic, how much Hispanics spend in their category, the level of competition for Hispanic customers in their industry, and your clients’ Latin American presence.

If your agency-client team agrees that Hispanics are your initial priority, be careful to avoid these pitfalls:

  • Pursuing a Hispanic initiative to solve diversity issues rather focusing on how Hispanics can contribute to improving business performance. Dollarizing that impact is key to keep your organizations focused on fixing Hispanic blind spots.
  • Thinking engaging Hispanics is just about Spanish translations, participating in Hispanic events, or launching products and services for Latinos, rather than seeking to be relevant to Hispanics across both mainstream and targeted tactics.
  • Focusing only on marketing communications and advertising channels rather than reviewing your clients’ entire value proposition and consumer journey to ensure brand experience is consistent across Hispanics and non-Hispanics.

Having a blueprint to fix Hispanic blind spots will spare you mistakes, save you time, and allow you to speak knowledgeably about the opportunity with peers and clients. Once you are ready to lead the development of a specific Hispanic action plan for your clients, check out the 4A’s Engaging Hispanics for Growth online course to learn the best ways to approach these key elements of your recommendation:

  • 5 Questions to Assess Hispanic Impact
  • 5 Ways to Quantify Your Hispanic Opportunity
  • 7 Cost-Effective Ideas to Generate Insights
  • 3 Approaches to Engaging Hispanics

After you go through this process you will gain expertise to capitalize on Hispanic market growth while reevaluating your clients’ overall go-to-market strategy, both of which will ultimately result in better performance across all initiatives for all customers.

Sandra Diaz

SANDRA DIAZ |  Founder of DIAZ&CO., equips teams to do more with less by simultaneously meeting the needs of mainstream consumers while catering to U.S. Hispanics. Drawing on over 15 years of experience as a marketing executive at L’Oréal, Sears, Sara Lee, and Colgate Palmolive plus a Kellogg MBA, Sandra and her team deliver strategic solutions and business training that empowers DIAZ&CO. clients to effectively capitalize on Hispanic market growth.