Whole Foods and Marketing to Hispanics
At its most basic premise, the case for businesses expanding their marketing beyond so-called general market strategies and methods to appeal to a multicultural consumer base is a simple one. Not only has the ethnic segment been the fastest growing in the United States for quite some time, it is estimated by David Burgos and Ola Mobolade (co-authors of the book, Marketing to the New Majority) that “By 2042, The United States is expected to become a majority-minority country”. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, this is already the case for the population that is under 18 years old (51% racial/ethnic minorities including foreign-born whites vs 49% whites), (Burgos & Mobolade, 2). Please note the two accompanying charts under Exhibits 1 and 2 at the end of the paper.
Between 2000 and 2010, the multiracial population grew 19% in one decade alone! It would seem foolish (if not downright careless!) for an organization not to adjust their marketing campaigns to appeal to this fast-growing segment. The business community is making a mistake if it believes this growth trend is abnormal and likely to level out in the future, as the multiracial population is estimated to grow by 194% between 2010 and 2050 (Burgos & Mobolade, 6). Even if this growth estimate is somewhat aggressive, even half of this rate would be tremendous growth! As Burgos and Mobolade state, “The demographic shift underway in the United States is unstoppable”. Those companies that either consciously or ignorantly choose to ignore this multicultural audience in its marketing campaigns are doing so at their own risk. As Burgos and Mobolade write, “marketing communications strategies that fail to adapt will fall behind. The New Majority will select brands that reflect their transcultural realities while still acknowledging their ethnic nuances, leaving less culturally competent brands to history” (Burgos & Mobolade, 105-106). Not marketing to ethnic minorities is basically the equivalent of letting sales revenue slip through your fingertips, which is obviously not something any business (regardless of the size and stature) likes to do!
Regarding the demographic statistics mentioned above, Hispanics currently represent the largest racial minority segment in the U.S. Not only that, the U.S. Census Bureau projects the U.S. Hispanic population to number 133 million by 2050, which is more than double the 50 million number for 2010 (based on 2000 Census figures). Here are the projected population figures and growth rates for the three main racial minority segments (please note the additional chart depicted in Exhibit 3 at the end of the paper as well):
U.S. Population* Growth Projections by Ethnic Segments
*Population in Millions
Source: US Census Bureau, based on 2000 Census figures
This being said, while it is important for companies to appeal to African and Asian Americans in their marketing efforts as well, one could argue it is downright crucial for companies to target Hispanics if they want to grow their revenue in the future. Although intelligently-managed companies have been marketing to Hispanics for some time now, this segment still represents a relatively untapped source of growth for many organizations. While language barriers and lower than average buying power (on a per-person basis) represent two of the main challenges when it comes to marketing to Hispanics, companies are making a stereotypical mistake if they believe this to be the case for most Hispanics, as this is certainly not the case. Research has shown that the language barrier mostly only applies to first-generation immigrants to the U.S., those who are said to be