February 2007 - Global Outlook: Latin America

Coming to America

By Dr. Nadia Ashrafian

International marketers enjoying success in DRTV in Mexico and Latin America often look at the U.S. market with trepidation. However, the U.S. Hispanic market offers a lucrative opportunity with relatively few barriers to entry.

Traditionally in the DRTV industry, once a product is considered a “hit,” it becomes the marketer’s responsibility to find new markets to drive additional sales and revenue. For those in the Mexican and Latin American markets, a product often originates in the U.S.-with the show then adapted to Spanish, tested in new regions and rolled out in those countries where the tests performed well, until the sales cycle has run its course.

In the past few years, another market has been added to the list of Spanish-speaking populations around the world: the U.S. Hispanic market. Of course, this market has existed for decades, but recently it has experienced near-exponential growth, in terms of the size of the market, the amount of income earned by this group and-perhaps most important-the amount of money spent by U.S. Hispanics.

Consider this: if the U.S. Hispanic market (including Puerto Rico) were a country of its own, it would be the second-largest Spanish-speaking country with 45 million people, trailing only Mexico in size. This “nation” also would have nearly $768 billion in disposable income, a figure that is projected to swell to $1 trillion by 2010! To those marketing products in Mexico and Latin America, I implore: please tell me you plan to align your future growth with this large and very lucrative market, which speaks the same language and has consumer patterns that are very similar to what you already know. It is time for the Latin marketers to take full advantage of what U.S. Hispanic could mean for their bottom lines.

Imagine the possibilities. Perhaps you have considered adapting successful shows that you have in Spanish to English and running them on U.S. DRTV-only to scrap the idea because of production costs or the risk of the show being lost in clutter. Something amazing has happened, something so naturally and easily accomplished. A very lucrative part of U.S. market has opened up for you: the U.S. Hispanic market. The language is essentially the same (although a neutral or Mexican accent is recommended since the U.S. Hispanic population is 70 percent Mexican-a very important consideration if you use testimonials). Your existing Spanish show can work with very little alteration-and with appropriate offers for this market.

The media world of the Spanish market is growing rapidly. In certain markets, Spanish language stations are on the top of the list, even compared with the English stations. DRTV in the Spanish media is performing exceptionally well, as marketers such as Body By Jake, Savvier, Reliant International, Sylmark, Amazing Goods, Time Life, Ronco and many others can attest. There is no doubt that DRTV works in the U.S. Hispanic market. The question is whether you are ready to dive in and expand your horizon-and your path to profit.

Dr. Nadia Ashrafian is CEO of Capital Media Inc. in San Juan Capistrano, Calif.


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