The Hispanic population boom in the US has sent companies scrambling to win a piece of the lucrative pie.

According to the The Selig Center for Economic Growth, Hispanic buying power for 2002 totaled $580 billion, with a predicted compound annual growth rate of 8.7%. (The standard rate for non-Hispanics is 4.8%.)

The center's study predicts that by 2007 the dollar power of Hispanics will rise to $926.1 billion. The Hispanic community clearly holds a great deal of economic clout, which certainly explains why marketers are vying for its attention.

Unfortunately, many marketing campaigns are ineffective. Here are the top three reasons.

1. Advertising for Service-Related Products, But Not Educating

There are 39.9 million Hispanics in the US, and half of the adults among them are foreign-born. Obviously, many Hispanics in the US are native-born, but they are typically served by standard marketing campaigns in English.

The market segment that suffers from a tremendous void in services is the foreign-born Hispanics who have been in the US for five years or less. Often, they have limited or no English skills. Most significantly, they have a poor understanding of American systems in general. These immigrants rely on friends and family members to explain, or assist them to access, various services.

If your company is conducting a campaign in Spanish, this segment is most likely the one you are trying to reach. If so, simply translating your materials into English is a mistake.

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image of Blaire Borthayre

Blaire Borthayre is a Mexican-American consultant in the field of Hispanic marketing and CEO of Hispanic Marketing Resources (