Suggestions Shared On Why CUs Should 'Move Early' In Targeting Hispanic Market

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Credit unions can avoid being overwhelmed by the enormous challenge of reaching a burgeoning Hispanic market by following some simple steps, according to one expert.

In remarks before the Texas league's annual meeting here, Brent Murphy, managing partner of Redan Bilingual Media in Dallas, said it's no secret why more credit unions are trying to reach the Hispanic population: it's growing four times faster than the general population.

Hispanic purchasing power is also growing-at an annual compound rate of nearly 9% between 1990 and 2007, he said, growth that has attracted many organizations beyond just credit unions.

The struggle lies not in identifying the market but tapping it, he observed, before sharing these suggestions during a standing-room-only breakout session.

"Your first step is to choose a starting point," Murphy said. "I've seen too many organizations give up before they even started because they think it's just too overwhelming."

Murphy pointed out that many companies have poured millions of dollars into ad campaigns in an attempt to "court" the Hispanic market-only to realize that grassroots activities are far more effective. Aligning yourself with the right community partner(s), he says, is a very powerful tool and can be just as effective, if not more so, than traditional marketing methods.

"But be strategic in how you engage in community events," he offered. For example, you would be better off to participate in a health care fair than you would an enormous festival where you have to compete for attention.

He cautioned the audience that the Hispanic culture is not one that responds quickly, so you should not expect a quick return on your investment.

"Many companies jump in and out of this market too quickly because they set their goals too high in the short term," he said. "If you are not looking at this in the long term, then you would be better off taking your money and investing it in a different market."

If you are willing to make the long-term investment, Murphy said the efforts will pay-off. "Early movers have the advantage of building strong consumer loyalty," he tells the audience. Murphy addressed the challenges and opportunities in reaching out to the Hispanic market, and said a common mistake made by many companies is underestimating the role culture plays in the purchasing decisions of the Hispanic consumer.

Before embarking on a marketing initiative, Murphy offered the following advice:

* Understand the basics of the Hispanic consumer and Hispanic culture.

* Develop an awareness of key opportunities in Hispanic marketplace.

* Identify a starting point for creating a Hispanic Marketing Strategy for your company.

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