Diversity Efforts Need to Be Better Represented in the C-Suite

Marketing needs more Latino CMOs

Last month I completed my first year in America. My role here is to help marketers generate growth by finding consumer segments that are prominent in their category but still have not become loyal to one brand.

Coming from Latin America, I needed to learn specifics in order to help. It became clear from day one that Latinos are still a largely untapped audience. This despite the fact that there is a pile of statistics that says there is a big opportunity to establish a true connection with this highly desirable audience. After all, Latinos over-index in many categories, especially when it comes to their families. This includes the home, construction, food, drinks, apparel and cars. At the same time, they are over-indexing in digital behavior. This means they are prepared to become part of a one-on-one relationship that matters.

At the same time, it became clear as to why Latinos aren’t properly being targeted. Simply put, most brands aren’t staffed to do so.

I’ve been to seminars, meetings, associations, some that are specific to Latinos and some not. I’ve interacted with brand marketers, agencies and media buyers about the untapped growth opportunity. But stunningly, many of the general market campaigns still fail to properly address the Latino community. Translations are not enough. It involves packaging, distribution and content that really builds a relationship, especially digitally.

It will be a long journey before business leaders truly reflect the representation of the population, but it would be great if we moved quickly.

I was wondering why this happens. Why do so few general market brands have the case studies and proof to show they are doing it right?

When I attended the ANA Multicultural Marketing and Diversity conference, the Google Multicultural Executive summit, the AIMM events, the Univision and YouTube Upfront, among others, there were different people in attendance. The successful case studies were presented by companies run by Latinos that have headquarters in Latin America or even leadership that also have relationships with Latinos in any way. Each told a stronger story.

What I often see in the speeches of Latino leaders (beyond a lot of important data) were the extra ingredients of belief, passion and pride. The formula for growth must include these ingredients because they make people feel something, inside and out. It’s a contamination of energy that connects the business and the market. It goes beyond just the professional role; it is personal. It is based in real data with an emotional, authentic touch.

I know that it will be a long journey before business leaders truly reflect the representation of the population, but it would be great if we moved quickly.

Consider this: According to the ANA CMO scorecard from 747 members, which range from Apple to Verizon, just 5% are Hispanic or Latino. This is a huge gap compared considering Latinos make up almost 20% of the U.S. population.

That is why it is important that America has a Hispanic Heritage month. It reminds us to value Latinos and even serves as a reminder to marketers of the audience they are missing.

We have a lot do and will get there thanks to the growing use data, the awareness of Latino culture and those magical ingredients. And with that, I wish you all a happy Hispanic Heritage Month!