Thursday, October 25, 2007

Facebook Insights

As I think about my Internet usage in comparison to that of my peers, I realized how many times a day we all check our Facebook accounts. Regardless of how many times we check our Facebook accounts, I do not know anyone who actually acts on the advertisements they see. Some of my peers had no idea that there were advertisements on Facebook at all. With the outrageous amounts of money being invested in this developing company, investors would hope that their advertisements are being viewed and acted upon. I am sure that many of us see the advertisements, perhaps out of peripheral vision at most, but I have never met anyone who responded to an advertisement they saw on Facebook.

Perhaps this problem is due to the fact that Facebook is a social network where students can log on and view updates of their friends and classmates. Facebook is known for allowing its users to send messages, find friends, view profiles, and upload pictures for all their friends to see. Recently, Facebook has been recruiting and hiring new employees to add new features for their users as well. Are these features really adding value to the service though? Many college students find these new features not user friendly and a pain to get rid of. It leaves you wondering whether Facebook really knows its customers.

If Facebook is having trouble identifying its customers needs, that would explain why many of us are not impacted by the advertisements they use on their site. It many not be the type of advertisement or even the company, but perhaps the location of the advertisement or even the format of the advertisement. If these advertisements remain on the sides of the page, Facebook users will not shift their attention from looking at friend’s love lives and updates to look at the latest iPod product. Another reason that these advertisements are not as effective as they should be is that there is no direct connection between the student viewing the advertisements and using the service. Other online services will only allow their users to move forward to view their profiles or webpages after they view an advertisement. In this case, the advertisement is forced upon the user.

In summary, Facebook has done a good job in listening to their users by adding the new applications to their service. However, some of the new applications are not what the users were expecting. When Facebook users logged on for the first time, many of us were expecting more to this simple service. Now, we have too many options and too many applications to use in one visit to the website. This paradox of choices has turned many of Facebook’s first faithful users away and has also hindered investor’s futures.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Understanding the Hispanic Market

When identifying the needs of Hispanic men and women, we are looking at an interesting topic. It is obvious that most Hispanics care about their families and often put their families first. It is publicized that Hispanics are always late and care little about time constraints or deadlines. It is also interesting to note that many people believe that Hispanics have much larger families than other races. All of these stereotypes are necessary to understand and analyze when marketing to Hispanic men and women.

I can give numerous examples to contradict each of the stereotypes; however, I would like to qualify them to understand that we can learn a lot about the Hispanic market by understanding how these needs are different or the same for Hispanic men and women. Both Hispanic men and women put their families before many other priorities. Often times, Hispanic men and women will put work, school, and well-being below family. For marketers, this means we must introduce products that benefit the family instead of the individual. Companies can almost guarantee the success of a new product if it will improve the lifestyle of the entire household rather than that of only the mother or father. Products and services that can benefit the entire household are challenging to create, but they are an important need of both the men and women of this segment.

There are characters in movies and books that portray Hispanic men and women as running late everywhere they go. This idea can relate back to the “family comes first” understanding. Hispanic men and women would rather be late to work or school if they know their family needs them. In fact, there are numerous things that are more important to many of us than arriving to a meeting on time or running 5 or 10 minutes late to class, regardless of our ethnicity. Instead of focusing on this stereotype, marketers should instead look to other themes of Hispanic’s buying patterns. Focusing on products that satisfy work-life balance may be a solution that meets both the family need and the time issues.

Finally, large families are present in all cultures, but seem more prevalent in Hispanic families. This need relates to the idea that family comes first and also to the need of work-life balance. Today, many Hispanic men and women marry and work for several years before starting a family. Marketers must find a way to promote their products to those newly-wed Hispanic men and women and to those Hispanic couples who have been married for decades. It is important to note that the men will often buy different products than women. Many times, husbands will be sent to the grocery store so that the wife can make dinner or watch the children. Still, women are always looking for that escape to shop for themselves. Considering both of these ideas, new marketing campaigns should be on the rise to satisfy the stereotypes of Hispanic men and women but also to the idea of the “new” Hispanic family.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Contract for Paper Topic

Having interned with Target Corporation for two years, I have become particularly interested in how companies target the Hispanic markets. I have always been fascinated by marketing and advertising efforts towards Hispanic men and women. Many of us have seen very effective commercials, but it is difficult to say which ethnicity they are targeting, if any. It is evident that a large majority of US retailers employ specific Hispanic marketing efforts, but these efforts can sometimes go unnoticed if the viewer can not pick up on them. Sometimes firms use Spanish at the wrong time or make the mistake of using the same strategies in Mexico as they do in Cuba, which are two separate Hispanic markets. I would also like to use my research to find out how the marketing efforts for targeting Hispanic men differ from that of Hispanic women and see what research is being used to seek insights of the Hispanic culture and their needs. I also hope that I will find a trend between many of the leading retailers in their successful Hispanic marketing strategies. My key focuses will include, but are not limited to, discovering success stories from various companies, looking at how much money different companies budget for the Hispanic markets, finding out if companies that are successful in targeting Hispanics are also successful in targeting other ethnicities, and researching how these companies track their success.

Looking at the history of the needs of Hispanics, it is easy to understand why Hispanics are a large part of the pie when it comes to consumer spending in the United States. We all know most Hispanic families are larger than the average family, and it’s no secret that Hispanics usually like to spend their money instead of save it. With that in mind, one would think that marketing to Hispanics would be a breeze because they are more likely to spend their money already. However, customer insights challenges remain in the Hispanic marketing departments of many companies. Sometimes these companies feel they know the needs of their Hispanic segment, but they are simply not addressing the need in a manner that Hispanics will respond to.

The book, Hispanic Marketing Grows Up by Juan Faura, compares Hispanic marketing to Occam’s Razor. When applying strategies to Hispanic marketing, the best approach is the simplest one according to Faura’s application of Occam’s Razor. Faura addresses the fact that many marketers today focus too much on the “Hispanicness” of their consumer instead of engaging the consumerism of the Hispanic culture. He believes that marketers are ready to move on to the next step in marketing Hispanic segments and shares primary information he attained while conducting interviews for his book. In order to understand the needs of the Hispanic market, we must also know where they came from and what kinds of challenges they are facing now. His book notes that mainstream America and assimilation are looked down upon in the Hispanic community, but many Hispanics know that some form of assimilation is necessary. Faura’s book also discusses why Hispanics often prefer advertisements to be in English and how to market to those bilingual individuals. As “the fastest growing, second largest, $600 billion-dollar buying power population in the United States1,” Hispanics are a large community to target and to discover new needs.

1Faura, J. (2006). Hispanic Marketing Grows Up: Exploring Perceptions and Facing

Realities. Paramount Market Publishing.