That’s how long I’ve been working in the Hispanic Market.
When I think about it, I can’t avoid paralleling that time with the life of my kids: Aldo (13), Andrés (11), Isabela and Natalia (both 8). Because when you have kids, you truly see time passing by:
From 0 to 13 in 60 seconds.
I can just imagine their embarrassment—a symptom of their short lives—when they see I included them here, by the way.
During my adolescent career in this amazing industry, there have been a lot of changes. Among the more obvious, the new ways to communicate with people, to get them to prefer our clients’ products or services. I say people because the word Consumer is so one-dimensional, isn’t it? But I’m not going to spend any time talking about the new digital world we are living in, etc.
The main point of this column is Time, more precisely, and how the relativity of it has affected the industry. We are in the middle of the Age of Instant Gratification. The Speed of Life has shaved a few seconds off Usain Bolt’s record, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to slow down any time soon.
We demand immediate downloads for our music, movies, apps and even our Instagram pictures. We get frustrated waiting two minutes for our computer to reboot, so we can have all the knowledge of the world at our fingertips; or for our phones to connect to a satellite that is flying miles above us, so we can text a friend that we’re going to be ten minutes late.
These are “miracles” nobody expected to be possible twenty years ago, but now we take them for granted.
In advertising, we barely have time to see how a communication program is working when we need to start adjusting it to perform better. I read somewhere that the average tenure of a CMO is 18-24 months. That trickles down to agencies, having to show great results at a faster pace. There is little time to react to the new technology when the newest new technology is already here. And in my opinion this may lead to a lot of programs that have incredible tactics but not necessarily a platform to connect with people at a deeper level, in a long term-relationship.
Marketing to Hispanics has never been more exciting, though. We are living an incredible moment in history. More advertisers understand the power of this segment, and more ad agencies are taking it seriously.
The times when having a Latino last name was enough to get you in the door are no more. Now Results is the name of the game. Fast Results, mind you.
You have to show a deep understanding about the cultural differences and similarities. And then acknowledge that Latinos don’t live in a vacuum, that they are influencing everything, not only food and music.
The faster you get this as a marketer or agency, the more effective you will become in the long run, ironically.
I’ve had the time of my life these first 17 years living at this fast-paced rhythm. And also I can’t wait to see what we make of the next seventeen.
As you can imagine, I have learned many things along this amazing journey, but let me end with this one: in marketing, just as in love, fast is not always better.