Strategic acquisitions can play a big role in corporate growth strategy. And recently, we’ve seen a number of them in the market research industry, especially in the panel sector. Since GfK Knowledge Network’s acquisition of Garcia Research’s Hispanic panel, Cada Cabeza, in 2010, there have been several large companies acquiring Hispanic panels to bolster their Hispanic sample offerings. Nielsen, Research Now, and most recently, Maru/Blue’s acquisition of the Hispanic panel, Tú Cuentas, just to name a few.
So, what’s driving this growing interest in Hispanic panels?There are several factors at play here:
- Demographics – Market research companies are responding to the increased demand from clients to deliver insights into the growing number of multicultural consumers in the U.S. of which, Hispanics are the largest.
- Commoditization of Online Sample – Online sample continues to become commoditized in the market research industry as sample aggregators andprogrammatic sampling become ubiquitous. For market research companies whose business relies primarily on sample sales, margins are becoming thinner thus making it difficult to stay competitive. Specialized sample, such as Hispanic sample, and more specifically Spanish-dominant sample provide a way for companies to extract more value from the panel side of their business through strategic acquisitions.
- Strategic Differentiation – As sample continues to be commoditized, the unique value proposition of a company focused on online sample begins to fade along with margins. Investing in a Hispanic panel creates strategic differentiation in a saturated market and helps bring renewed interest in the companies’ core offerings.
So, what does this mean for smaller firms who can’t just pick up and buy a Hispanic panel?If strategic acquisitions are not in the cards for your company, there are still steps you can take to integrate Hispanic sample into your current offerings, such as:
- Source A Strong Partner – Not all Hispanic panels are created equal. There are some important things you should consider when seeking a Hispanic panel partner.
- Be Transparent – Once you source a reliable partner, begin offering Hispanic sample as part of your services and let your clients know about it. Being transparent about your new Hispanic sample partnership and its benefits to the client will strengthen the client relationship,and ultimately, grow your business.
- Be Knowledgeable – Sourcing and transparency will allow you to offer Hispanic sample with confidence and a clear conscious. But as your clients’ market research partner, you should also have some basic knowledge about the Hispanic market. Pew Hispanic is a great resource to bolster your understanding of the Hispanic market, the nuances that make it unique, and the sample your selling.
Hispanic sample continues to be a critical part of the market research landscape. While I don’t advocate that companies blindly follow trends, the demographic growth of U.S. Hispanics has proven not to be a trend, but a powerful force that will continue to impact the U.S. economy for years to come. Obtaining key insights through Hispanic sample is the linchpin of competitive advantage for your clients. Either through strategic acquisition or a reliable partner, Hispanic sample should be a part of your firm’s services offering.