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July 2012 - Posts

  • The Secret to Hispanic Marketing

    Jul 03 2012

    Marketers often talk about the challenges of targeting U.S. Hispanics. While Hispanics are united by language, in reality there are many differences that can present obstacles to a successful campaign.

    A quick look at Miami and Los Angeles, two cities with significant Hispanic populations, provides an example of the nuances which make Hispanics vary from each other within the target. The Miami Hispanic population is primarily composed of Cubans with an infusion of South Americans. Many moved to the city looking for political freedom, are often more educated and have been able to secure employment as white-collar professionals. Los Angeles Hispanics are primarily of Mexican origin and from Central America. They made their way to U.S. for an improved standard of living. Lacking higher levels of education, California Hispanics tend to find employment as blue-collar workers. The significant differences among Hispanics can be easily addressed by what marketers practice every day. The secret to Hispanic marketing is no secret at all. It comes down to cultural relevance.

    Cultural relevance is not confined to ethnic marketing, it is found in any successful marketing campaign, whether the target is adult moms, children, millennials, pet owners, coffee drinkers or Hispanics. Cultural relevance requires a deep understanding of the consumer, gender, race, media habits, consumption patterns, insights, etc. In the case of the Hispanic market, cultural relevance will even dictate language preference because not all Hispanics speak Spanish. It's no secret that the same processes used for a successful general market campaign are also required for a successful Hispanic campaign.

    Hispanic Insights Examples

    • Many in our society have distrust for advertising and avoid it whenever possible. Yet some Hispanics welcome advertising as source for valuable information.
    • While non-Hispanic consumers may to turn to government agencies for assistance, some Hispanics avoid these agencies because of a distrust of government.
    • Acculturated Hispanics who prefer to speak English at home will turn to Spanish-language media for content; radio for salsa or regional Mexican music or Spanish language newspapers for information on elections abroad.

    Too often marketers complain about prior Hispanic efforts that weren't successful. Yet a closer look demonstrates that the campaigns lacked the cultural relevance found in successful strategic plans.

    More clients are taking a closer look at Hispanic audiences as new opportunities for growth, which stresses the importance of culturally relevant campaigns driven by strategic plans and consumer insights.

    The Phelps Group has Hispanic cultural expertise and can help clients apply it across marketing communications channels. If you have questions about Hispanic marketing or are looking for a resource, feel free to contact me directly at

    Alex Perez - VP, Total Market Strategist


  • Why we put more brains on our clients’ business

    Jul 02 2012

    Great ideas can come from the source you least expect. In companies where ideas fuel the business it is easy to fall into a trap of non-disclosure. Someone comes up an idea and they want to own it, grow it and execute it. They want to perfect it before they show it.

    What most professionals don’t realize is that a good idea has the potential to grow into a great idea, and all it takes is a little collaboration. Inviting others to give their input opens the door for “outsight” --  ideas to help influence the project from an outsider’s perspective.

    The thinking is that the client and our self-directed, client-based teams make the decisions on the work. Not department directors. The cultural element that adds creative power and security to this model is an understanding that all work will be subjected to the opinions and feedback from the entire agency. We call it "putting more brains on the work." It begins with commitments from the associates when they join our group that they will expose their work as it moves through its stages of development. It's enforced by peer pressure. After all, our work is shown to thousands and often millions of people. So it’s smart to take the time to get the opinions of at least our associates.

    Some of the factors that led to the development of these feedback devices are:

    1. The speed at which jobs are produced nowadays often doesn't allow for copy testing. This increases the risk that the intended message may not be the message received or remembered.

    2. The cost of a mistake can be crippling considering the large number of people who see our work and can be affected by it, and the cost of the media required to reach them.

    3. We're capitalizing on the chance to improve the work by getting more minds on it – more ideas, more proofing.

    4. People working day-to-day on an account can develop personal and team tunnel-vision. Fresh thinking from outside sources helps eliminate this problem.

    Once again, our basic philosophy is reinforced: Find great people, bathe them in feedback and get out of their way as they make the decisions they're best prepared to make.

    The Harvard Business Review offers a good article on the subject.

    Do you feel it’s safe to share your ideas while in the embryonic stage? How do you ensure there is a collaborative spirit embedded in your team dynamics? Tell us about ways you have to make this happen.

    Joe Phelps | CEO