I Got Yer Influencers Right Here

Why You Should Pay Attention to the Young Latino Consumer

By Published on .

Gary Bentz Gary Bentz
Many marketers drool over the under-19 age group. But did you know that 1 in 5 people in this target segment is Latino?

Let me rephrase that: that's 20% of the new American generation. In other words, there are over 16 million young consumers that are currently redefining the industry as we know it. That's greater than the population of all but 4 states in this great nation. And almost half the population of Canada (33 million), just to paint a clearer picture.

This is the group that dictates industry and category trends, the new brand adopters, the ones that are reconditioning the market and the way brands address us Latinos. They are sports, fashion, music and entertainment influencers among their peers. They represent $20 billion in consumer buying power and are projected to grow six times greater than the rest of the teen market.

Also...

In 2006, Latinos under the age of 20 accounted for more than 38% of the total Hispanic population in the United States.

The average percentage of the Hispanic teen population in the top 10 Latino markets is 43.1%.

Eighty percent of the teen population in Los Angeles is Hispanic.

Now that we got all that demographic mumbo-jumbo out of the way and we can all agree that this is a group to recon with, may I ask if your clients are winning the impressions war against this target?

If anyone thinks this is an emerging market, you're dead wrong. If you assume that they act and react like a so-called minority group, you just don't get it. Young Latinos know who they are, understand the world they live in and perfectly function in their all-inclusive social environment. These are smart, computer-savvy, educated, proud and capable bilingual and bicultural consumers. They are vested, accepted and celebrated by their peers, regardless of their heritage. Our future generation is defined by their home -- and to the great majority, home is here. Not south of the border, not across the Atlantic, nor in the other Americas.

Ask yourself, are you basing your impressions on media numbers or on strategic/creative communications? Are you placing and posting your ads based on circulation vs. content? Are you giving creative license to your team to develop "relevant" campaigns that really impress those you are trying to engage?

These questions are two fold. If you're a general-market agency, are you representing your client's best interest in spending their marketing dollars accordingly -- against the real composition of this segment? (Especially now, since I've shared with you some pretty impressive numbers.) And, if you're a Hispanic agency, are you allowing your team to find the best way to really reach this consumer with original creative tactics and not just Spanish "transcreations"? (I personally hate that term.)

Be psychographically inclusive in your creative communications and not exclusive to your demographic strategies. Decide if this is a viable consumer target and commit to reaching it the right way! Address them as Latinos in the mainstream, talking up to them and not down, making sure that their portrayal is representative of their aspirations and not their limitations. Because sooner than later you will be living in their world and wishing you would have evolved and grown "a la par" (meaning together)!
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