The Tablet Revolution

By Alejandro Ruelas of LatinWorks.

Hispanics lead in mobile — and marketers must follow

The Yahoo! Advertising blog recently asked 10 agency leaders one question: “How will the tablet revolution change the advertising landscape and your business?” Here is the response from Alejandro Ruelas, Managing Partner and CMO, LatinWorks.

New communication platforms place tremendous pressure on ad agencies to figure out how consumers are digesting and disseminating information, and which devices they are using for purchases. While overall this results in innovative, technologically inspired ideas tailored to fit every screen in today’s consumer environment, few such ideas are finding their way into marketing solutions that target Hispanics, a territory mostly controlled by multicultural agencies.

One of the biggest misperceptions about Hispanic consumers — and there are many — is that they are behind the times when it comes to understanding and using digital technology. This miscalculation is reflected in the limited digital information options available to Hispanic consumers, and also in the fact that most major brands in the consumer electronics industry have failed to fully capture this most obvious of growth opportunities: a 50-million-strong consumer population ripe for the picking.

Recent reports from the Pew Research Center and BIGresearch confirm that Hispanics outpace their general market counterparts in ownership and rate of adoption of mobile communication technology, from smart phones to the latest trend: tablets. Additionally, their engagement levels are also higher than non-Hispanic whites for certain activities, including using their devices for navigating the Internet, online shopping and social networking.

Of course, not all marketers in the technology space are out of touch with this opportunity. The telecom industry, which powers many of these devices, is aggressively pursuing these consumers and helping to fuel technology purchases by Hispanics. The Hispanic media is also actively involved, and is starting to offer consumers more consistent access to programming, promotions and even e-commerce across multiple mobile platforms.

But that’s largely the extent of it, because although several corporations have identified the Hispanic market as a strategic imperative, significant digital assets are seldom seen in their marketing mix, as Hispanic marketing investment remains limited.

So how can multicultural agencies take advantage of the tablet revolution? They must persuade clients to approve and support work that expands the creative mix to include new digital platforms. Agencies must embrace consumer advocacy as part of their responsibility, putting pressure on Hispanic media to offer broader digital access. A return to the basics of consumer marketing must be considered; agencies need to take the time to redefine Hispanic consumer targets and closely analyze the issues brands face in the Hispanic marketplace.

Ultimately, multicultural agencies must first convince brands that Hispanic consumers are helping to drive the tablet revolution. There is no doubt that the future of marketing relies heavily on new technology. But what should also be obvious is that the long-term success of the advertising industry depends greatly upon a multicultural mindset, and brands must take advantage of the multicultural consumer revolution.

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