Hey Marketers, Latina Moms Aren’t as Conservative as You Think

New research from The Mom Complex reveals more outgoing traits

The Mom Complex, a unit of The Martin Agency that focuses on how to market to mothers, recently turned its attention to Latina moms, which represent a fifth of all U.S. mothers and are responsible for a third of last year’s domestic population growth.

In its research, which included a segmentation study, opinion parties and secondary white papers, the unit found choice examples of smart marketing to Latina moms. It’s clear, however, that big brand categories like pharmaceuticals are falling short. Mom Complex founder Katherine Wintsch explains why.

Certain brands have distinguished themselves in marketing to Hispanics. What is it about Huggies’ Hispanic efforts that impressed you?

The name of [one past] campaign was "El Tren de Vida," which basically translates as train of life, which in Spanish stands for the daily rhythm of life. I thought it was particularly insightful because it was all about the ups and downs of your daily life and being a parent. So, it’s just kind of real and interesting. Part of it was a partnership with Walmart and they put cameras and had booths at different retailers and events, where moms could share tips and tricks for dealing with young kids as well as stories. And in exchange for that, as a mother I get diaper bags, tote bags, potting training books—stuff that’s actually helpful as a mother.

What categories could do better?

The worst offenders to me are cleaning ads and cooking ads. Those categories where marketers just tend to reduce the role of mother to be cooking, cleaning, happy, smiling. Even when they try to do it with a Hispanic mom, it still falls on deaf ears.

How does this relate to your research?

Back to the segmentation study, we have these four segments of moms. And what’s interesting is that Hispanic moms are 25 percent more likely to be what we call a high-flyer mom than what we call a cornerstone mom. So, the mistake is to think that Hispanic moms are these tried and true, bread and butter, cornerstone, traditional, conservative moms. They’re actually not.

What’s a high-flyer?

Just more social, outgoing, driven by brands and status and how they’re perceived. Not in a bad way. But most people make the mistake of assuming, “Oh, Hispanic, they’re probably more cornerstone.” And they’re not.

What does it say when few car brands stand out in marketing to Hispanics?

Most car advertising feels like it’s from the '60s. The way they depict families tends to be a white mom, white dad, 2.5 kids. And it’s just not what the country looks like anymore. So, I think car manufacturers need to look at the changing family dynamics in this country and also the role of the car.

What about the pharmaceuticals and telecommunications categories?

Again, I think they’re traditional. It’s mom as caregiver and dad is not in the picture. It just feels behind the times overall. That [pharma] category seems to be a repeat offender—very traditional, I’ll say—which I think is unfortunate because of the top five values that our research revealed of Hispanics, nutrition is in the top five and health. And when you look at pharma and their ability to play in that area, it’s a shame.

Given the explosive growth of the Hispanic population, it’s puzzling that marketers are failing to reach them.

It is. I think marketers today embrace that Hispanics are important. But they’re not taking the time to really understand their lives. So, I think there’s an acknowledgment of, “Oh, we’ve got to do this.” But [also there’s] a knee-jerk reaction of, “Let’s translate it into Spanish,” versus it’s a planning function, it’s a research function. You know they’re important and now really understand their values, behaviors, attitudes.

And, of course, there isn’t one type of Latina mom, right?

Yes. Just like there are segments within moms in general, there are segments within the Latina [community]. It depends on how long they’ve been in the country. It depends on how they raise their children. It depends on how many times they’ve moved over the course of their life. … Even within a high-flyer mom, what’s fascinating is that an Hispanic high-flyer mom has more in common with the general market high-flyer mom than an Hispanic high-flyer mom has with an Hispanic cornerstone mom because it’s about their values. And so, companies, instead of having all these divergent messages, would be better off to say, “You know, we target high-flyer moms of all kinds,” meaning black, white, Hispanic, Asian. So, we’re just trying to change the paradigm in the conversation to say, figure out the values that the moms that you talk to have and then figure out how to do that culturally.

It’s not necessarily all about media spend, either.

That’s another misnomer in minority marketing, [which] is, “Oh, well, we spent $100 million on that last year.” But was it good? I’d rather do something small on YouTube as a brand that’s really meaningful.

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