Triangulating Consumer Research, Secondary Data and Business Insights for an Evolving Hispanic Market Architecture

12 Mar 2010|Miguel Winebrenner

The recent activation of the 2010 Census should be a reminder to all of us on how far Hispanic market thinking has evolved since the last iteration of the Census in 2000. Over the course of the past 10 years, thousands of customized research projects have been commissioned by companies, secondary data from Pew and others has been widely distributed, blogs have been written and twittered daily… the list goes on.

All of these efforts have advanced the conversation from what now seems like very basic (yet key) insights like “Hispanics are loyal consumers” and “they live in large households” to far deeper discussions about this culture. At Cheskin Added Value for instance, we’ve analyzed the trajectory of multicultural marketing relative to CSR, how Isabel Allende’s “House of Spirits” casts a light on Hispanic female empowerment, the emergence of a new American mainstream, and other trends that in one way or another map to how these consumers’ brand relationships and purchase behaviors are evolving.

No question, there has been a lot of deep exploration of this market, and there is more that needs to be done. However, the opportunity for success in the next 10 years will highly depend on how we are able to harness all of this information.

In Hispanic marketing, we usually keep key information in three silos:

– Consumer Research (ad hoc studies, syndicated studies, etc)

– Secondary Data (Census, ACS, etc)

– Business Insights (CDI, BDI, sales, media spend, etc)

Some of the greatest work I’ve been involved in has been in deepening our understanding in the consumer research silo. But by far the most actionable work has been in triangulating consumer research with secondary data and business insights. A great product innovation that is derived from research can take new forms depending on the company’s ability to mass produce it, the profit margin, distribution, size of intended target, the geodemographic and competitive landscape, and others. I’ve seen great consumer insights being tempered by business insights, good secondary data given more color and texture using consumer research, etc. It’s hard to argue to that they’re all not interconnected.

This sort of triangulation is not new, but it’s becoming more sophisticated given the plethora of information and the experience that Hispanic marketers now have (many with over 10,000 hours of direct Hispanic marketing experience, which according to Malcolm Gladwell in “Outliers” are essential to reach the expert level).

In accordance with this growing sophistication, it will be important to take a more nuanced approach to the consumer research silo. Much of the information we garner from this silo is product or company specific, but the marketplace seems to have abandoned large ethnographic work that gets at the ethos of Hispanic culture. By layering, say, what is means to be a Hispanic in California (with its own multidimensional culture) can enhance one’s understanding of their relationship to cars, health and beauty aids, packaged foods, leisure travel, insurance, and other products and services.

Once the 2010 figures are published, many agree there will be an injection of capital into the marketplace. My suggestion is that it will be best spent if marketers depart from silos and layer ethos, primary research, secondary data, and business insights in order to build go-to-market strategies that fit the evolving Hispanic market architecture.

I, for one, am excited about the boundless opportunities yet to be discovered in the next decade.

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