Did Jose Villa Just Kill Your Business?

In a declaration distributed over the Thanksgiving holiday — appropriately, on Black Friday — José Villa, President of Los Angeles-based digital cross-cultural agency Sensis put another dagger into the fragile heart of U.S. Hispanic marketing.

Via the widely read MediaPost blog, Villa made the audacious proclamation that “Millennials and Gen Z are the Hispanic market.”

Using Geoscape data, a pie chart showed the following:

  •  Millennials now comprise 29% of the U.S. Hispanic population
  • Generation Z is now 36% of the U.S Hispanic population

That’s right. Some 65% of the Hispanic population falls into this group.

So, it’s natural for a digital guy who needs business to put marketer focus on this digitally savvy group, and hype up bilingual, bicultural blah-blah while ignoring some simple statistics that continue to get ignored by agenda-driven  business leaders.

  1. Who has the greatest amount of disposable income?
  2. Who depends more on Hispanic (i.e. Spanish-language media) than any other Latino group?

I challenge you to put “Gen Z” and “Millennials” as one of your top 3 answers.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are at a crossroads as an industry ready to tear itself apart over the digital revolution, increased use of English as a preferred language (but not an exclusive one), and advertisers who still only know what we as an industry tell them.

So let’s start telling them the truth and stop depending on agenda-driven save-my-business propaganda.

If not, the clients will be eating ostrich burgers with sofrito and adobo made from the contracts you lost.

Villa writes, “Most Hispanic marketing, however, is still focused on the 35% of older Hispanics and their Spanish-language media consumption.”

Well, did Villa ask perhaps why?

  1. The AARP Latino has far more disposable income. They are more likely to own or rent their own home. They likely spend more on travel, on health care, on clothing, on … well, just about anything.
  2. Older Hispanics are more dependent on Spanish-language media consumption. So, as a brand manager with a total marketing directive and limited budget, this would be more effective since younger Latinos can be reached on The CW and ABC, right?

Citing Nielsen and Kantar Media, Villa notes that 79% of major Hispanic media spend in 2015 went to TV (network + spot + cable) – “most of which went to Spanish-language broadcast and cable networks like Univision, Telemundo, ESPN Deportes and Discovery en Español.”

Here’s a serious question for you, José: Where else would be as wise as an investment in a total market world??

Villa continues about how the millennials aren’t getting their fair share of ad dollars, with regard to Hispanic efforts.

“While Millennials do watch Spanish TV, we know from our research that it is only a small part of their overall TV consumption – less than 1/3 of their average 15 hours of TV viewership per week. We also know that Hispanic Millennials and Gen Z spend most of their time consuming digital media. According to Simmons Connect (Spring 2016), digital makes up almost half – 47.3% – of Hispanic millennial media consumption on a weekly basis, or 45 hours per week! Yet almost 80% of Hispanic media spending goes to Spanish TV?”

As has been said many times in various ways, a Facebook “like” is not a sale.

We have put too much focus on millennials and Gen Z, a generation that has far less dollars than the Baby Boomers.

Yet we continue to be fixated on a Madison Avenue model that is stuck in the 1970s with respect to who the key target should be — first-time homebuyer, newlywed, baby on the way.

IN 1975 that could describe many a 27-year-old.

Today?

Give me a break.

“The reality is that the business of Hispanic marketing is still stuck in the past,” Villa writes.

That is incorrect. The entire U.S. marketing industry is stuck in the past by continuing to hyperfocus on a segment of consumers that may be trend-setting but aren’t the biggest spenders.

That must radically change if advertising agencies hope to stay relevant in the next five to 10 years. Otherwise, every major will have an in-house shop capable of doing the things you failed at in 2016.