Add an 'H' to Your BRIC Strategy

Marketers Should Capitalize on New Growth Opportunities in Their Own Back Yard

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Chiqui Cartagena
Chiqui Cartagena
During the past couple years, as the economy and marketing budgets in the U.S. went into a tailspin, global brands have depended on growth in the so-called BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries to help prop up their bottom line. And although long-term growth for any global brand will no doubt have to be infused by a strong BRIC strategy, I'd like to remind marketers not to forget about the markets at home that have the potential to become new weapons for domestic growth.

When marketers look at Europe, they have no problem developing different marketing strategies for each country, but don't seem to apply the same rules when they look at defined segments in the U.S. At 75 million strong, the baby boomers are larger in size than England. And at 48 million, U.S. Hispanics are larger than Spain and are growing at a clip of over 1.4 million persons per year.

For sustainable economic growth in the U.S., brand marketers must add an "H" for "home" to their long-term growth strategies and start treating the different population segments of the U.S. as if they were "new" countries where their products and services have tons of room for growth.

For example, here's a new way of looking at the potential for the Hispanic market. Although we represent roughly 16% of the total population, a whopping 21% of all moms with kids are Hispanic, according to data presented last fall by Kraft representatives at the Hispanic Cable conference. Locally, the numbers are even bigger: 33% of all moms with kids in New York and 47% of all moms with children in Los Angeles are Hispanic. Smart, global marketers such as Kraft get this and continue to tailor their marketing efforts, investing more than ever before in order to attract and retain Hispanic women to their brands.

And while most of these brand stories and conversations are happening still predominantly in Spanish, marketers should always take into account their target audience's life stage in order to determine the ideal language and media mix for their marketing programs. Many studies, including the one AOL released recently (the Hispanic Cyberstudy conducted by Cheskin), have confirmed what many in the Hispanic market don't like to talk about: Younger Latinos are more English-dominant or bilingual, and their media habits certainly show that too.

According to Ad Age's 2009 Hispanic Fact Pack the most-watched network TV shows in prime time watched by Hispanics in English were "American Idol," followed by "Grey's Anatomy" and "Dancing with the Stars." And among the top 10 English-language cable programs watched by Hispanics were the iCarly Movie: "Date a Bad Boy"; "Jon & Kate Plus 8" and "Finding Nemo." While the Spanish-language share of Hispanic viewers is still dominated by Univision and Telemundo, these are trends that must be acknowledged, and for marketers targeting youth aged 16-plus, bilingualism is a reality.

On the web, the fast-growing demographic, of course, is Hispanic. According to the AOL/Cheskin study, on average, Hispanics online users are: 37 years old, with an annual household income of $50,000 and two kids under the age of 10. By comparison, the average general-market online user is 46 years old with an annual household income of $75,000 and one child -- who just graduated from college!

Shortly after the last Census results came out in 2001, corporate America suddenly woke up to the fact that Latinos were the largest minority in the country and were growing at unprecedented rates. Well, the growth hasn't stopped, but the marketing efforts have. If you were one of those companies that decided to slash or even kill their nascent multicultural marketing efforts when times got tough starting in 2007, now is the time to start putting together your multicultural strategy for 2011.

When the results of the 2010 Census come out next spring, any brand that claims to be targeting youth, young adults and families must have a plan in place to capitalize on the largest sectors of growth in the U.S. If not, I've got another H for you -- hello!

Chiqui Cartagena is the senior VP of multicultural marketing at Story Worldwide. She is also the author of Latino Boom!: Everything You Need to Know to Grow Your Business in the U.S. Hispanic Market.
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