Posted by: Manuel Delgado | March 24, 2009

Be the bacon!

Starting a Hispanic marketing initiative is very difficult. It implies changing the way an organization does business and engages with the market. 
It’s not for the faint of heart, but for the “intrapreneur.” 
I heard of this term a few weeks ago in the South by Southwest interactive conference. One of the panels focused on how to be entrepreneurial inside a big corporation… or how to become an “intrapreneur.” 
While the conversation was about spearheading interactive marketing initiatives, it hit me that the most successful Hispanic marketing projects we’ve executed have been driven by intrapreneurs.
Many companies know of the Hispanic market. But in many cases it’s like the weather: everybody knows about it, very few do anything about it. 
It always takes a daring marketing manager that not only sees the possibilities, but is also willing to stick his or her neck out and spearhead the necessary internal changes to make things happen. 
Successful Hispanic marketing managers see themselves as country managers, in charge of a territory bigger than Canada. They’re also faced with the challenges that any country manager would face when entering a new area.
Author David Arnold in his book “Strategies for Entering and Developing International Markets” summed up the challenges for companies expanding internationally:
“Entering a new country-market is very like a start-up situation, with no sales, no marketing infrastructure in place, and little or no knowledge of the market. Despite this, companies usually treat this situation as if it were an extension of their business, a source of incremental revenues for existing products and services.”
Familiar, huh?
Hispanic marketing intrapreneurs have a few common traits, which are the ingredients for success: 
  • Make their business case: it’s about making money. Intrapreneurs always get lots of numbers together. They show not only how much money they will make for the company, but how and when.
     
  • Are in it for the long haul: any successful new market entry takes time and effort. Harvesting from Hispanic marketing initiatives will take several years, not a quarter. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Build an internal network: A successful Hispanic initiative needs to be a cross-functional effort. Successful intrapreneurs find advocates across the relevant organizations and recruit them for their cause. From marcomm and PR to call centers and distribution, they think through the areas of the company that need to change and find people that can make those changes happen. 
  • Find a champion: Intrapreneurs need air coverage to help them move the big rocks. They usually look for someone high in the organization that may is willing to be an advocate if they get stuck. The best bet is to approach executives with a tradition of innovation, or that lead an organization that will benefit directly from Hispanic marketing successes. 
  • Sell, sell, sell: Our intrapreneurs usually become the “Hispanic” guy or girl, and spend a lot of time selling the initiative internally. They talk to people about it. They make their enthusiasm contagious. Having a great idea is less important than articulating it so people can understand it, get excited about it and come along for the ride. 
  • Find an agency that is right for them: I’m not just saying this because, well, I work in an agency. Many agencies will help you acquire the knowledge you’ll need to sell the initiative internally. They can become your marketing team and will be fundamentally important when it’s time to start execution. If you’re starting up, and unsure of your budgets, a smaller agency will make sense. If you secure large budgets and belong to a large organization, a larger agency will be best for you. 
At the end of the day, it’s all about commitment to your Hispanic initiative. The difference between being committed and being involved can be best explained with a plate of bacon and eggs. 
In a plate of bacon and eggs the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed. 
With commitment, persistence and vision, a Hispanic marketing initiative will be successful and make people rich and famous (hopefully in that order). 
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Responses

  1. Manuel,You just hit the point. Hopefully others will follow and will understand the value of good, committed initiatives for Hispanics.Good point. Thank you..


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