I made the bold prediction almost a year ago today that Hispanic marketing was in for big changes in 2011. I have to admit I think I will be proven wrong.

I think 2011 will result in even more changes than I boldly forecast last year. I think by the time 2012 rolls around, we’re barely going to recognize the Hispanic marketing space that has seem tremendous growth — more people, more media companies, and more agencies — but changed very little since 2000. Here are my revised, emboldened predictions for Hispanic marketing in 2011:

Prediction #1 The death of the Hispanic advertising agency

2010 was definitely the year of the full-on assault on Hispanic advertising agencies — starting with the Home Depot controversy in April, Crispin Porter’s absorption of Burger King Hispanic in August, and the Association of National Advertisers conference controversy in September. 2011 will no doubt see a continued push by general market agencies into the Hispanic market. Not only will they continue this push by staffing up on Hispanic advertising talent, but also through acquisitions.

I have firsthand knowledge of at least a few such acquisition plans from some big ad agency players. Moreover, advertisers, particularly those in “minority-majority” markets such as Southern California, will begin to follow El Pollo Loco’s lead and consolidate their Hispanic and General Market advertising accounts. Factor in the fact that Hispanic ad agencies have been painfully slow in building digital capabilities — they’ve made a valiant “too little, too late” effort during the last 12-18 months — and the writing is in on the wall: the start of a slow death for the Hispanic advertising agency model as we now know it.

Prediction #2 Hispanic PR officially becomes Hispanic Social Media

2010 was also the year that Hispanic PR agencies took the plunge and fully embraced social media as the future of their industry. The success of the inaugural Hispanic PR & Social Media Conference and the LATISM Latino2 tour highlighted the coming of age of Hispanic social media. Hispanic bloggers and social media influencers have established themselves as the key centers of influence in the Hispanic community. This was coupled with the continued change in Spanish print media, which has started to feel the decline in readership resulting from consumer’s shift online and the recession.

Looking ahead at 2011, I see a continued decline in Hispanic print coupled with an equally sharp rise in niche and “long-tail” Hispanic publishers — whether they are bloggers, Facebook influencers, or small Websites — with what were formerly “Hispanic PR” agencies and professionals positioning themselves as the expert guides of this growing and increasingly prominent Hispanic social media space.

Prediction #3 — Digital leapfrogs “Hispanic”

During the boom years of Hispanic digital (2005-2008), the Hispanic digital media market looked a lot like the Hispanic traditional media landscape — a handful of prominent Spanish-language portals / mega-publishers that owned the market — Batanga.com, Univision.com, Terra.com, and Starmedia.com — surrounded by a lots of small upstart ad networks — Gorilla Nation, HispanoClick, Consorte Media — and a couple of key general market publisher extensions into the Hispanic market — ESPNDeportes.com, CNNEspanol.com, etc. — that got the scraps.

During the last 12-18 months, the Hispanic digital media market has fragmented, led by the technology such as behavioral targeting, demand side platforms (DSPs) and ad networks with immense scale and reach. While the Univision.com’s and Terra.com’s of the Hispanic digital media market will not be going away anytime soon, their days as “market makers” are numbered.

Looking ahead, as Hispanic digital media consumption becomes more social (Facebook) and personal (mobile), and mirrored Spanish Websites /microsites become a relic of the past — recent research and Best Buy’s well chronicled experience shows that Hispanic consumers have come to view Spanish sites as inherently inferior to “main” English language sites — the Hispanic digital marketing space will be unlike anything veteran Hispanic marketers have grown accustomed to seeing in their analog Hispanic world.

Prediction #4 The multicultural mainstream becomes a reality

Multicultural consumers already make up 35% of the entire U.S. population. Guess what will happen to that%age when the 2010 Census numbers come out this spring? Welcome to the new multicultural mainstream — a new America where close to 40% of the overall population is multicultural: Hispanic, Black, Asian and multi-racial. DMAs like Los Angeles, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C., are already “minority majority” markets — Hispanics, Blacks and Asians make up more than 50% of the total population.

Expect new cities like New York and Chicago to join the list. This will only put more pressure on advertisers, particularly regional ones, to reassess how they allocate marketing resources to ethnic groups like Hispanics. My theory is more of the “El Pollo Loco” phenomenon from Prediction #1 as advertisers consolidate their Hispanic and other multicultural marketing efforts with their general market ad agencies.

Prediction #5 The birth of the Hispanic Youth Market

The last two years have seen a steady increase in dialogue among marketers about the Hispanic youth market (Hispanics under the age of 24). The statistics are already mind-boggling:

  • In 13 years, 50% of Americans under 18 will be minorities (Source: U.S. Census Bureau)
  • 80% are U.S.-born (Source: University of California, San Francisco)

I predict that the 2010 Census figures regarding Hispanic Youth will be the most unexpected — and growing! Yet the Hispanic youth market represents a conundrum for Hispanic marketers — a growing market that increasingly identifies and shows pride in its Hispanic heritage but consumes very little Spanish-language media and sees the world through color-blind lenses. This will be the toughest nut to crack for marketers and advertising professionals of all stripes — general market, Hispanic, digital, direct response, social media and everything in between. Yet I see Hispanic youth as the biggest marketing opportunity to come out of 2011.

Think of 2011 as the year of creative destruction in Hispanic marketing — some things will die, a lot will change, and brand new opportunities will sprout from the ashes.

SOURCE Jose Villa/MediaPost

3 thoughts on “2011: The Year Of Creative Destruction”
  1. Your Doom and Gloom views are so useful to our Industry. In full disclosure you should mention your involvement with the management team of Hispanic PR & Social Media Conference in Prediction #3.

    So your thoughts are very self-serving Mr. Villa and tipical of toxic thought.

    Gene Bryan / CEO – HispanicAd.com / HispanicPRpro.com / HispanicCMO.com

  2. Hi Gene,

    I completely understand and respect if you disagree with my opinion (you’re not the only one). In many ways, I hope I’m wrong about my predictions regarding Hispanic ad agencies’ future. I also feel it’s important that you know that I do not want the industry to “die” – I just feel that the trends are not positive at this point.

    Although it may not have come across, I am still optimistic about the future of the industry – but I feel that Hispanic ad agencies need to transform themselves. How, exactly, I’m not sure (if I knew the future I wouldn’t be working and writing articles). Maybe they need to start pursuing general market opportunities. Maybe they need to acquire general market ad agencies. Maybe they need to expand from simply targeting Hispanics to include other multicultural audiences. However, the status quo won’t cut it in an environment like the one we’re in today.

    The reason I titled my article “creative destruction” is that I feel that a new industry will sprout from what we now know as Hispanic advertising. Our industry needs to be open to what that new industry might be. I think the Hispanic youth market will be a big part of that rebirth.

    As to your other point, I mentioned the Hispanic PR & Social Media and LATISM Latino2 conferences because I attended both those conferences in 2010 (our perspectives are inevitably shaped by our experiences, right?) and I feel they are indicative of a growing Hispanic social media industry (my point in mentioning them). While I wasn’t involved in planning the 2010 Hispanic PR & Social Media conference, I was invited to serve as Vice-Chair of the 2011 conference, a non-paid advisory position I am fully transparent about.

    Lastly, you say my article is self-serving. To a certain extent that is true. I have strong opinions about the multicultural advertising industry that guide how I run my ad agency (Sensis) – which is a for-profit enterprise. However, I have always been very sensitive to avoid self-promotion in every article and blog post I write (including this one). My goal is to provide fodder for enlivened debate and spur dialogue – ultimately improving our industry for everyone.

    I am sorry you feel my opinions are toxic. That is truly not my intention.


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