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Are We Still Crazy to Run a Hispanic Agency in 2024?

By Marcelino Miyares


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Ten years ago, my partner and I opened the doors of d2H Partners with one burning question: “Are we crazy?”

 

That was when direct response meant DRTV. This is not so much the case anymore, given the growing complexity of marketing in the 2020s. I am talking about CTV, OTT, ROAS, AI, and attribution just to name a few of the advances in the arsenals of account planning these days.

 

Add “Hispanic direct response” to this mix, and you get a feel for how much more poignant our initial question has become. d2H operates as a niche-within-a-niche agency. We not only target the U.S. Hispanic consumer market. We specialize in direct-to-consumer campaigns within this multicultural segment.

 

Looking back on these first 10 years, and despite the evolution of our trade, I can now share what we consider the five keys to our success, which is to say, a quick summary of our approach to our clients’ paths to profit in the U.S. Hispanic consumer market (HCM).


Authenticity and Best Practices

Let us start with what is at once the most obvious yet most subjective of premises. How do we convince advertisers that authenticity is absolutely not just about language and skin tone? Sound messaging and best media practices have less to do with reach and frequency — in other words, traditional media metrics — than with fluency and comprehension.

 

Reaching a Spanish-dominant, or even Spanish-preferring and bilingual customers, is less about the language of their media than in-cultural insight. By this, we mean insights about the cultural cues required to get them to watch, the inhibitors that get in the way, the motivators that incite them to action, and the cultural values that grant them permission to respond. None of this can be translated — particularly across all of the screens and platforms that we manage in our media mixes today.

 

Parallel Planning

Advertisers should focus on reaching all segments across all screens with equal impact, as opposed to trying to reach them all efficiently. If you stay on the total market course, you will literally miss the mark. Account planning for the HCM should start with a blank screen and offer strategic, not convenient, solutions to parallel media plans and platforms.

 

The traditional model defended by the large holding company agencies is to blend consumer segments into “total market” calculations with the most common denominators of messages dumbed down to allow for “representation” of all segments in any given market. We add value by illustrating that the total market approach is not as effective as a whole market approach. Social media platforms, FAST channels, and streaming platforms have pretty much obliterated the total market approach.

 

Closing the “Per Capita” Spending Gap

Total market planning comes with short- and long-term opportunity costs. The end result is an unbelievable gap in per-capita spending by segment. How can an advertiser expect the same ROI on any given Hispanic campaign when they spend seven times as much per capita (7X) in the general market as the HCM? Parallel planning requires proportional spending on every step of the customer journey.

 

Truth to Power

Spending is one axis of the English/Spanish-language media quadrant. The other is messaging. Speaking truth to power requires that we communicate micro-aggressions, flaws in authenticity, and other obvious cultural faux pas in their current advertising regimen. No doubt, this has cost us business. But it has also earned us the trust of those willing to listen enough to grow their business.

 

Strategic vs. Tactical Decision-Making

Effective multicultural planning goes way beyond short-term tactical band-aids. The decision to enter any multicultural segment ought to be a strategic one. It is about planning, not buying. It is more about insights than “profiles.” Focusing on the common denominators between customer segments may sound efficient in the C-suite, but in most cases, it ignores the cultural nuances that make multi-cultural marketing most effective when done right.

 

We at d2H like to say to that we build brands one sale at a time. This translates to winning over one Hispanic customer at a time. Building a successful advertising agency is tough under any circumstances. Add culture to the mix and it feels more like a gauntlet. Yet here we are — 10 years later — continuing to make our point that cultural competency should be reason enough to hire a multicultural advertising partner. The rest is just noise.

 

Marcelino Miyares, Jr. is managing partner at Los Angeles-based d2H Partners. He can be reached via email at marcelino@d2hispanic.com.


For more discussion about the U.S. Hispanic Consumer Market, check out the infographics section on our website, www.d2hispanic.com.

 

About d2H Partners

d2H Partners is a Los Angeles-based, full-service Hispanic advertising agency focused on D2C and B2B​ Spanish-language campaigns targeting immigrant, first-generation, and “billenial” Hispanics. d2H specializes in creating, adapting, and delivering targeted messages to Latinos to profitably enculturate your message, media, and metrics.



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