How Your Small Business Can Engage the Fastest Growing Market Segment in the U.S.

The economy today is a true global marketplace and savvy businesses understand that they need to diversify their customer base. On this week’s episode of The Playbook, host Mark Collier, business consultant for the UGA Small Business Development Center, is joined by Patricia Pinckney, principal at RIMA Strategy and Marketing. Patricia is going to discuss the Latino market in general and specific strategies companies need to engage in order to reach the fastest growing market segment in the United States.

Transcription: 

Mark Collier:
Hi, everyone. Welcome into the playbook on ASBN, I’m your host Mark Collier. Each week on The Playbook, I sit down with emerging entrepreneurs, seasoned business owners, and resource experts to deliver relevant information to the ASBN audience. So I’m joined today by Patricia Pinckney, principal at RIMA strategy and marketing. Welcome into The Playbook Patricia.

Patricia Pinckney:
Thank you so much for having me. I’m glad to be here, thank you.

Mark Collier:
All right, the Latino market is one of the fastest growing markets in the United States and I’m anxious to learn more about what your company does and your strategies for assisting businesses in their target marketing initiatives. So give me an overview of your company and what you do and how long you’ve been doing it.

Patricia Pinckney:
I’m one of those people that always knew what I wanted to do. Well, I say always, but from a very young age. So I remember watching Bewitched-

Mark Collier:
I remember, I loved that show growing up.

Patricia Pinckney:
You liked it?

Mark Collier:
Yes.

Patricia Pinckney:
I loved it too, I loved watching the reruns and of course I was fascinated by the magic, but also about the work that the husband Darrin did, marketing. So what I didn’t know then was all the work that takes to have a successful marketing strategy, everything that goes behind the scenes and because I knew what I wanted to do, I started working with companies, I looked for big powerhouses in marketing, like Procter & Gamble and Coca Cola and that’s where I started my career learning from this big companies about what it takes to have successful marketing efforts. That’s when I learned, of course, that research concept development strategy, all of those things are key, the base being, knowing your market, of course, and detecting growth trends at an early stage.

Patricia Pinckney:
That’s where I think most of your audience would know and has done that, being a small business owner or working on business is detecting those strengths. So when my career evolved, I realized that smaller companies, medium and smaller sized companies didn’t have the resources for that big company marketing sometimes-

Mark Collier:
That’s a very good point.

Patricia Pinckney:
They sometimes struggle through that. So what I do now, is helping bringing that big company marketing to smaller ventures and as a chief fractional officer, like a fractional chief marketing officer I mean, then I can help organizations grow and do that successfully.

Mark Collier:
All right, so as a career marketing professional, you detailed that for me, what led you to decide to specialize in the United States Latino Market?

Patricia Pinckney:
Well, because I have been working with different companies and different industries. I started to see and doing my work as detecting growth opportunities and knowing there are different audiences, being that B2B or B2C, we started seeing that there was more and more demand for Latino-based strategies, multi-cultural in general and specifically Latino. It was part of the market growth and I was curious and of course I have started to got my hand in research, reputable, quantitative research that talks about multi-cultural markets, specifically Latino, I’m being Latina myself, I could see how some of these organizations, our clients-clients, let me put it this way, would have some misunderstandings about the culture and that would limit their success in this market.

Patricia Pinckney:
So bringing a lot of research to the strategy helped our clients and that’s when I started and just to give you an idea of the big opportunity that this is and how I started noticing, a few years ago I was at the Mortgage Bankers Association convention and there were over 2000 attendees, small lenders and big bankers. The number one concern was how to address the multi-cultural market and specifically the Latino or Hispanic opportunity and let me just make a pause here, I am going to be using U.S Latino, Hispanic and Latino interchangeably, because I want to make sure that your audience knows that we’re talking about the U.S Latino population, we’re not talking about Latin-America, we’re talking about Hispanics who live in the United States.

Mark Collier:
Who live in the United States, fantastic. So as a piggyback to that, why is the Latino market such a great source of growth in the United States? What’s happened over the years and where’s it headed in the future?

Patricia Pinckney:
Sure. Well, we know that the GDP is an indicator of the health of a country-

Mark Collier:
Yes it is.

Patricia Pinckney:
And the growth, the index growth of that, we hear for instance in the news lately, how China is becoming an economic power and their GDP is growing tremendously.

Mark Collier:
Correct.

Patricia Pinckney:
Well just to give you an idea, if we would take Latinos, Hispanics who live in the United States, out of the United States and make them a country, it would be the eighth largest economy in the world with 2.6 trillion GDP.

Mark Collier:
That is a very interesting statistic. So the eighth largest country in the world, just the Latino market in the United States?

Patricia Pinckney:
In the United States, and we have that market in the United States, mostly untapped. So not only the size of the GDP is bigger than hot markets like Brazil or Korea or Canada, but also the trend is big, for instance-

Mark Collier:
It’s still increasing.

Patricia Pinckney:
Yes, exactly. The growth index is higher than China’s. So if we would take that cohort and make it a country, it’ll be the fastest growing in the world.

Mark Collier:
So aside from the metrics and the numbers and the economic indexes and all that, what is unique about the U.S Latino culture? And why is it important for organizations to understand this cohort?

Patricia Pinckney:
Yes, that’s a very good question, and that is, well, we all agree that the U.S is a multi-cultural country-

Mark Collier:
It is.

Patricia Pinckney:
I think there’s no one in this country that would say that’s not the case, it’s the reality, but we tend to see cultures as the color of our skin and probably our language and food and music and that’s true, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Imagine there’s an iceberg and then there’s that tip that we see, and then all the rest of that iceberg is under water-

Mark Collier:
And that’s unknown.

Patricia Pinckney:
It’s unknown-

Mark Collier:
It’s an unknown.

Patricia Pinckney:
Exactly, we make assumptions. Those are the things that you were talking about before, we make assumptions about that. Well, that’s really where the culture is and so understanding, basically the definition of a culture are those values through which we see the world and that are self-conscious or unconscious in terms of filtering how we see the world, what’s important to us.

Patricia Pinckney:
What is all of that, that’s why it’s very important for organizations to know. For instance, most of the… Sometimes I won’t say most, but sometimes when I talk to a smaller business or even midsize business, they would say, “Well, we already have a Latino strategy. We translate our documents to Spanish.” And if you look at the numbers, 80% of Latinos speak English, or as a first language or very well. So they might be leaving… So it’s great that you have initiatives in Spanish, but you might be leaving most of your market out of your strategy.

Mark Collier:
Because just translating an English strategy is not having a multi-cultural strategy, it’s not.

Patricia Pinckney:
Exactly, so what are those values that are under there? We don’t have five hours to talk about them or three months to talk about them, but we can say, for instance, family’s very important to the Latino cohort, that is one of the most important values and although, of course, for all of us in every group, our families are important, they look a little different. For instance, families sometimes live in multi-cultural homes, multi-generational homes I want to say, multi-generational homes, where the grandparents and sometimes they take care of the younger children more than in other cohorts. The elderly are seen as people that are very respected, usually they have earned a higher respect in the value of the family. So even though family is important for everyone, the way that families interact in the Latino community are a little different, probably closer ties and including multi-generational [inaudible 00:10:25]

Mark Collier:
So for small businesses that want to engage in the Latino-Hispanic cohort and integrate this group into their overall marketing strategy, what are some of the initial steps that they would need to take in order to achieve that?

Patricia Pinckney:
Well, again, I will start with reliable quantitative data and that’s important relating and also another big part of it is, and I’m sure that you see this with the companies that you work with, hire people from these groups-

Mark Collier:
That’s right.

Patricia Pinckney:
Hire, but not only as workers, hire them at levels that they can-

Mark Collier:
Make some decisions.

Patricia Pinckney:
Make some decisions and there’s this story that I love and there are so many, but one of the stories, and again, I’m going to go back to the big companies because big companies usually have those resources, but we want our smaller ventures to also follow the same guidelines and we still have a way to go, don’t get me wrong I know that, but some of the companies that are doing it, and I don’t know if you’re familiar with how Frito-Lay launched the fire Cheetos-

Mark Collier:
No, I’m not aware of that story.

Patricia Pinckney:
Well, this was a janitor that was working at Frito-Lay and he was eating Cheetos and he thought, he was in his kitchen, I believe I might be paraphrasing some of this, but he thought that it was not spicy enough. So he got some of his spices in the kitchen and make them, and he had heard the CEO at that time telling people to bring their ideas, to share their cultures with a company. So he thought, oh, I’m just going to just call the CEO and tell him that this tastes really good. He and his wife were playing at the kitchen with that and he brought that idea. It’s a long story, it’s beautiful but-

Mark Collier:
That’s a great story.

Patricia Pinckney:
To make a long story short, the CEO flew to meet him, they tried it and now it’s a multi-billion source of income for Frito-Lay.

Mark Collier:
For Frito-Lay, see those types of CEOs and higher level executives, the ones who are able to reach out and engage other employees from other cultures, those are the companies that are going to do well. So that makes perfect sense.

Patricia Pinckney:
Absolutely and value, we must value each other. I think that part of what’s that underneath that iceberg is all the richness that include of seeing things differently and bringing different points of view to one strategy. So this is really good for our country. So another thing that I would advise your clients is change their mindset and understand that by reaching out to the Latino community and to minorities in general or multi-culturals, it’s good for their business, it will grow. It’s going to be better for U.S and for their organizations.

Mark Collier:
So for small businesses who desire to capitalize and market more to this fast growing segment, how do you work with clients and how can they contact you?

Patricia Pinckney:
Sure well, as a fractional chief marketing officer, I like to meet my clients where they are. So we have… I like this mindset of having different offers so they meet the needs where they are. So depending on their size, the need for our services, we have different modular, I would say, services. From webinars and we have these sessions called Ask Me Anything sessions and we open the mic for people to come with their questions, with their challenges, ideas, and we discuss and we become consultants for that session, for instance, or we have packages, training, where we train the organizations, because this is very interesting Mark. Although I’m a marketing person and strategy in general and initially I worked with the CMOs, CEOs, COs, what I have been seeing in the market is that human resources get involved at some point-

Mark Collier:
Absolutely, they need to.

Patricia Pinckney:
Yes and they call us because they want… This is part of the economic workforce and this young cohort that is the… They want those to be their employees. So they call us and so we have trainings for the whole companies. We also present sometimes this information, not this information, a lot more, of course, but strategy to boardrooms or their high-level teams and of course we have tailored services where we can work directly with a company and become part, like an extension of their teams and the difference between a consultant and a fractional CMO like myself, is that we roll up our sleeves and we become part of their teams because our objective, my objective is for my clients to be successful.

Mark Collier:
Very good, Patricia Pinckney, principal at Rima Strategy and Marketing. This has been a very enlightening discussion on the growth and the phenomenal growth of the U.S Latino Market and I’m sure the viewers are going to get some very good information from this.

Patricia Pinckney:
Thank you, Mark, thank you so much. Let me give you my email address so your viewers and you of course can always contact me-

Mark Collier:
They will scroll it on the bottom there, along with your website address and anyone who wants to get in touch with you will be able to do that.

Patricia Pinckney:
All right, thank you so much.

Mark Collier:
All right.

Patricia Pinckney:
Thank you Mark, its been a pleasure.


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