The U.S. Latino/a Market Needs A Better Elevator Pitch

The Quest To Understanding 50 Million Americans

We are driving trends not being absorbed by a culture. We are shaping American culture. When pitching (an interst discovery engine platform) to investors, I also need to do make room to speak about the value of the U.S. Latino Market as many investors are not aware of the power of this market.

The astounding success of the Latino community is not well known and conversations often focus on acculturation which is highly irrelevant once you understand the market size.

Companies like to know who they are targeting in a simple way. The message needs to be succinct enough so that it can travel up the chain of command and continue to carry weight. The problem is that this simplicity creates narrow thinking and turns potentially big campaigns into cheap localized (and often wrongly translated) copies of the mainstream marketing campaign.

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The Market section of this post is a summary of the current standing of 50 million Americans that are undervalued. The second point deals with why big brands are confused when targeting the Latino and Latina market and the success of Yahoo! US Hispanics. The short answer is that they have folks who understand the general market but do not know how to deal with a differentiated market. We need more people who can relate to the market and evolve with it. Next we deal with how to fix it and why The US Latino Market Needs A Better Elevator Pitch.

We analyze the fact that Latinos In Power Have A Responsibility to bring others along and how we are failing at fulfilling that duty. We need to band together and claim our rightful place in the new and more colorful America. In order to accomplish this we need to focus in building businesses and not so much in politics though that is also crucial for our success.

Last but not least, I urge you to believe in your community and follow that belief with tangible actions to help others move up the ranks of business.

The U.S. Latino Market

There’s a market as big as India’s right here in the United States and it remains largely untapped and severely undervalued. That market has $1 trillion dollars of raw purchasing power right now and it is projected to grow to $1.5 trillion by 2015. This market has been forgotten, underserved and undervalued for decades. The dismissal has a few pillars that are more folk tale than hard science. So rather than emotional rebuttal of folk tales, I want of offer my point of view as a market observer and entrepreneur living in the Silicon Valley.

The numbers

A sobering data point is that 1 in 6 Americans identified themselves as Latino/a. Latino purchasing power is about 9.6% of the total in the US and is growing at an astonishing rate. By 2015 it is projected that the purchasing power of Latinos would be $1.5 trillion. Please, don’t take my word for it, check out the Forbes article, The Next Media Jackpot: The Fight For The $1 Trillion Hispanic Market and draw your own conclusions and consider what Alex Ruelas, cofounder of the Austin-based ­marketing agency LatinWorks says: ”The Hispanic ­market is no longer being viewed as a niche, minority market for a lot of companies. It’s becoming a fairly major part of the mainstream, and it’s helping to reshape the overall ­universe of consumers in a way that’s a bit surprising to people.”

Consider this, “Hispanics lead the Recovery by Occupying Walmart, not Wall Street. Research indicates that online consumers, and Hispanics in particular, are influenced by value-added impressions that target them specifically. We need only look at Amazon to see how successful this approach has been with the general population. It is a model that other retailers can follow as they extend their online efforts to target and serve the Hispanic market. As the fastest adopters of new technology, Hispanic consumers provide myriad opportunities to reach them online, via mobile devices, and through social media.” –– Glenn Llopis.

Why Are Big Brands Confused About The Latino Market?

The categorization of a diverse demographic into a single low value profile is widely accepted as industry standard –– and that is wrong. This diminishes the value of a consumer. It must be noted that it is partly a self-inflicted wound. Not making it a priority and hoping that large brands would simply notice us is not working. We need to simplify the message and make it appealing to big brands and industry verticals like entertainment and fashion.

In a recent article about the success of the Yahoo! US Hispanic, Javier Garcia defines the diversity of these audience as an asset that needs to be understood and that needs to be addressed by a multi-channel and bilingual marketing strategy.

Latinos In Power Have A Responsibility

Latinos in power have to own the responsibility of paving the way for the rest to follow. There needs to be a lot more people like Sol Trujillo speaking out for Latinos as the next engine of growth in the US.

Find Role Models Not Heroes

Cesar Chavez is fantastic and he is a great role model and in addition a hero. But culture moves faster and we need symbols of our progress and future while respecting our past. Google honored Cesar Chavez and I was ecstatic. But we are more than Cesar Chavez. We are Calle 13 and Elena Ochoa. We are Sonia Sotomayor and Geraldo Rivera. We must highlight the role models of today who are actively creating a brighter tomorrow. Jennifer Lopez, Sofia Vergara and many other multidimensional Latinos that offer a clear path for the rest of us to follow.

Focus In Business Not Politics

Yes, we have an immigration problem. Yes, it is unjust and something should be done about it and yes we should all be part of the solution. But there is a reality in this country: business dictates policy. We are, to a great extent part of the 99%, fighting every day to build a better future. We chase the American dream and we expect no volume discount. We came here to work hard and to build a better future for us, our families and the ones that will come after us. We need to build ourselves into a financial pillars of our communities and then build a road and lend a hand to others that want to follow your lead.

Believe, Then Act

Stop seeking “mainstream” approval. If anything, mainstream publications are validating Latino influence as you can see in the covers of Time , Rolling Stone and Forbes Magazines. We are shaping what being American means. Our hunger to improve, our deep confidence in the American Dream and a fast growing community influence mainstream American culture in a deep way. From subtle signs in e-commerce, like the success of a large internet retailer (owned by Amazon) that is using a Spanish word to sell to moms and dads across America. Latinos need to stand up and represent us at all levels of business and politics.