The Hispanic market seems to be the only one still flourishing these days in the face of economic doom and gloom.
Foreign-born Hispanics in the US have been historically unaffected by economic downturns. Why? Experian Consumer Research reports that 58% of Hispanics did not use a credit card in the last month and that approximately one-third opt for cash transactions, making them less likely to be affected by the credit crunch.
Hispanic households often have multiple sources of income from family members, allowing them greater percentages of expendable income.
In addition, many immigrants are accustomed to weathering tough financial times and don't connect with the sense of panic that other Americans are experiencing. They also do not rely on English-language media sources and subsequently are not manipulated by "the end is near" reporting. No wonder the Selig Center for Economic Growth projects that in 2009 Hispanic buying power will actually grow—to $1.1 trillion.
Smart businesses will take this opportunity to hire a Hispanic-marketing expert and win big despite the news reports. But everywhere you look, someone is hanging out a shingle claiming expertise in reaching Hispanics. So how do you make the right choice?
In 1849, America was gripped with Gold Rush fever. Thousands of people streamed into California, lured by the promise of riches "in them there hills." Fortune seekers were greeted by "guides" who claimed to be experts at finding elusive veins of gold. Most people went home with pockets full of pyrite, or fool's gold. Don't make the same mistake.
Follow these six steps to hiring the real McCoy and keeping your business afloat during tough times:
1. Don't assume that someone who is born with a Spanish last name has special knowledge about marketing to Hispanics. Hispanic marketing is a field of study. Being born Hispanic does not magically impart such knowledge. So don't be tempted to ask Mr. Perez in Accounting to fill the slot.
Blaire Borthayre is a Mexican-American consultant in the field of Hispanic marketing and CEO of Hispanic Marketing Resources (www.hispanicmarketingresources.com).