What the Rise of Univision Means for Your Brand

"Every 30 seconds, a Latino turns 18 years old." Marketers, take note.

Eva Luna

Univision, the Spanish-language network, outperformed NBC in primetime last week, which makes twice in four weeks that it achieved the feat against the so-called "Big Four"—ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS. Univision is also claiming that on half of the nights in Q1 of this year, it garnered more viewers in the choice 18-49 demographic than NBC, reports the Los Angeles Times. (NBC, for its part, owns Telemundo, a Univision Competitor.)

Who should be paying particular attention here? Advertisers, of course. We reached out to Kelly McDonald, author of How to Market to People Not Like You: Know It or Blow It Rules for Reaching Diverse Customers, for some insights.

What are some statistics brands and advertisers should be aware of?

The 2010 census shows that there are now more than 50 million Hispanics in the U.S. Every 30 seconds, a Latino turns 18 years old. Hispanics now have the greatest purchasing power of any racial or ethnic minority, and Hispanics are fiercely brand loyal—more loyal than any other race or ethnicity.

How should smart advertisers and businesses respond?

The first thing is to realize that no longer is the Hispanic market a "secondary" market to be considered [only] if there are any "leftover" marketing dollars. The Hispanic market is here to stay and smart companies are allocating a dedicated marketing budget to reach this consumer.

The second thing is to understand who your high-potential Hispanic market is. Are they a recent arrival who is dependent on Spanish to conduct transactions? If so, then you'll need marketing materials in Spanish to reach this customer. If, however, they are more acculturated and English dominant, then marketing in English will be appropriate, but you'll want to reflect Hispanic values in your marketing messages.

The third thing is to think about operational readiness. By that I mean that if you market to people in Spanish, you better be set up to do business in Spanish. Do you have Spanish-speaking staff? Do you have the products and services that cater to Hispanic needs and tastes? For example, a bank can market in Spanish, but if that bank doesn't offer money-wiring services to Mexico and other Latin American countries, they may not be truly meeting the needs of their Hispanic customers.

Should companies have specific Latino-focused divisions?

For the media providers, developing a dedicated Hispanic division is smart. A sales associate who is trying to sell both General Market media options and Hispanic options may not be effective at developing integrated strategies for their clients. There are many subtleties to marketing effectively to the Hispanic market. That's why media companies are offering dedicated Hispanic divisions. They aren't losing money with this. They are growing their business—and their clients' businesses—by offering specialized expertise for a consumer market that is here to stay. Auto Trader developed Auto Trader Latino, and now, that division is the fastest-growing in the company and is enormously profitable.

Follow Fast Company on Twitter. Email David Zax, the author of this post.

[Image Courtesy of Univision]

Read More: Most Innovative Companies: Univision

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  • asg749d

    Wao - this is a wild assumption but, assuming that EVERY Hispanic in the US in under 18 right now, the phenomena of one Hispanic turning 18 every 30 seconds will last for 47.5 years! If the oldest is 18 right this minute and the youngest has just been born, they will be respectively 65 and 47 in 47 years. I see a sustainable demographic whose purchasing power is showing signs of improvement as time goes on.

  • Jose Velez-Silva

    We are in a new AGE where smart advertisers will look to Hispanics market not by language of preference but more “in culture”. Marketers cannot think that Hispanics could ONLY be reached via Telemundo or Univision but through an array of media outlets options that speaks to the culture in its many forms in a hyper connected world. At , you will see how we build brands without borders…

  • Larry

    Though many Hispanics in the USA are immigrants (1st generation), many more are younger - children, students, young, young professionals, etc. Their level of education varies but they often watch and listen to both English and Spanish TV, radio and music. It is not a singular approach but an approach that has to address this phenomena. Those who hold on to culture (Hispanics, Asians, blacks, etc.) have more than one world view and feeling in the USA. Hispanics are of many cultures (Spain, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Central America, South America, Carribian, etc.). The 'American Culture' is changing.

  • Raul F. Gochez

    Great article! My personal viewpoint is that, to a certain extent, there is limited good quality Spanish television programming available, so the big winner here is really Univision. Good for them!

    As for operation readiness, I completely agree. Most companies (including Hispanic companies), are not ready to make that promise yet.