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Friday, December 17, 2010

PEOPLE & VOICES - Generation Ñ, The New General Market

The U.S. Latino market has reached a tipping point. Current trends suggest expanding influence will blur the lines and Hispanic and general markets will collide. The resulting merger will reveal a new, younger consumer market with a heightened element of Latino flair.
Approximately one in six Americans is of Hispanic descent or origin. More than half are under the age of 26 and by 2020, the number of Hispanic teens is expected to increase by 62% as compared to 10% growth in the number of teens overall. Hispanic youth are a powerful consumer force underlining the Latino presence in general consumer market culture. Typically English speaking, or English preferred, socially connected and heavy technology users, Latino teens, "Generation Ñ" are leading the way in general market infiltration.
However, one of the most startling facts is that for the first time, Hispanic births have surpassed the total number of Anglo births in many counties across the nation. The future of the general market may be upon us.

To keep up with the Hispanic baby boom, more businesses are courting young, tech-savvy Hispanic consumers and incorporating online communities and social networks within their corporate marketing strategy. As these domains increasingly become a fundamental component for professional success, local companies are looking to experts on the forefront of this industry to understand the extent of the benefits Web 2.0 tactics have to offer.

Technology and innovation have been driving forces for increased interconnectivity. Many young, socially connected Hispanics are on the forefront of this new society. Their affinity for Internet technologies will advance Latinos as business strategies are increasingly built within online models.

The growing impact of the Hispanic community online is an area requiring enhanced corporate attention. U.S. Hispanic purchasing power is projected to reach as much as $1.3 trillion by 2015. During the past decade, the rate of growth was more than two times the overall national rate. That is a rate worth targeting. The considerably young, up-and-coming Hispanic population has been dubbed media mavens for their avid technology and Internet usage and thus can be successfully reached through online strategies.

Some entrepreneurs and consumer brands have been aware of the vitality of communicating with Latinos through technology for years. In June, Sprint rolled out EVO, the First 4G phone in the U.S. To lead this consumer technology race, Sprint has coupled the power of crowd-sourcing and social media with Hispanic kids. Sprint is co-opting Latino youth to help propel EVO's brand message. Sprint's EVO efforts began with young Hispanic consumers by initiating interaction with its product. Since EVO's HD video allows consumers to capture and share live video via the Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, social media maven took to the product immediately as ambassadors to other Generation Ñ influencers. By sourcing and leveraging young Latino consumers Sprint receives better insight into the culturally relevant nuances of Generation Ñ and the overall Hispanic consumer segment.

Entrepreneur Eddie Batiz has built his career on empowering young people through media, technology, and information, particularly among Hispanics. Through www.compralatino.com Batiz is tapping into the online retail market among Hispanic consumers by using an "Amazon meets Mercado Central" model. The Compralatino model is transparent and empowering for many of its users. Batiz has been at the forefront of online communities and social networks by not manipulating or degrading his customer's conversation. His users receive positive word-of-mouth around their brand through a viral loop model: turning selected consumers into spontaneous carriers of the message.

Hispanics will continue to be a critical part of the U.S. economic system. This segment's affinity for technologies that ease communicating across geographic boundaries, allow interaction, build communities for like-minded individuals and provide entertainment will affect the way companies approach business.

Marketers with established working models for communicating with Hispanics through technologies can guide the corporate world over the threshold into the new age of technological advancements.

Those who have a stake in understanding the U.S. market should pay enhanced attention to the nuances and complexities of the Latino population. U.S. Hispanics assimilate while maintaining strong ties to cultural traditions and value systems. The resulting assimilated segment is permeating boundaries and forever changing the American consumer market.