Arizona’s Majority Minority
Surging Hispanic population growth creates opportunity, challenges
Arizona’s population is changing as fast as its landscape. At present, approximately 1.6 million Hispanics, or one in four Arizonans, call the Grand Canyon State home. Since 40 percent of the state’s population now consists of Hispanic and other minority residents, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates Arizona will soon be joining Texas, California, New Mexico and Hawaii as a “majority minority” state.
Hispanics are the biggest and fastest growing minority group in Arizona, in its K-12 schools and in the United States, according to Datos 2005, an annual report released by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The number of Hispanic Americans grew by 40 percent between 1990 and 2000 and 49 percent from 2000 to 2004. Between 2000 and 2020, Hispanic growth is estimated to outpace that of non-Hispanic Whites by nearly 2 to 1. “Local businesses need to focus on the Hispanic market,” says Dr. Loui Olivas, assistant vice president of academic affairs at Arizona State University. “Whether businesses do an effective job will be measured through the metrics of customers, billing and revenue by market segmentation. But unless, and until, businesses grasp the numbers and clearly identify what they mean, the Hispanic market will continue to be a lost opportunity for many of them.”
Harry Garewal, president and CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, recommends local business owners utilize published data to learn about the Hispanic market. Datos 2005 is a 10-year culmination of demographic and census data that can help businesses understand the changing Hispanic market, and in turn, help them develop a sound marketing strategy for selling products and services to the Latino community. “Businesses will have a better chance of developing a good marketing strategy if they understand the market,” Garewal adds. “That includes understanding that all Hispanics are looking for the same things as everyone else—opportunity, good quality of life, education and what brings happiness in life.”
Avondale Mazda, an independently owned used car dealership that opened in November 2005, used the Datos report to develop its first marketing strategy. Since close to 50 percent of the local community and its customer base are Hispanic, the report was extremely helpful, says Xavier Brizar, Avondale Mazda’s Hispanic marketing and business manager. “Datos helped us gain a better understanding of the Latino market and the information was easy to understand,” he adds. “In the dealership world, no one in the past would consider using direct mail, but we learned from the report that Hispanics do read it, so using direct mail has been very successful for us. We also know the Latino market uses the Internet (13.6 million Hispanics online), so we have an Espanola link on our Web site to direct them to an Avondale Mazda site in Spanish.”
Avondale Mazda has banners, signage and information about buying cars in Spanish inside the dealership, which makes Hispanic customers feel welcome and comfortable. The dealership also is involved in the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and is supportive of local community events. “This is a small dealership with only 40 employees, so if someone calls that speaks Spanish, they get to talk to me every time,” adds Brizar, who prior to Avondale Mazda spent 18 years as the marketing manager of Pioneer Ford, where 50 percent of customers were Hispanic. “We know our Hispanic customers want to speak with a person, so it’s important we take care of them in the manner they appreciate.”
Home furnishings retailer IKEA launched a Hispanic multimedia marketing campaign in the United States in late 2004. The ongoing campaign includes Spanish-language TV and radio commercials, print ads, a 300-page Spanish catalog, store signage, product information brochures in both English and Spanish and sponsorships. They also have Spanish-speaking employees in stores. “The Hispanic market is vital to our business,” says Maria Lovera, IKEA’s deputy marketing manager for general and Hispanic markets in the United States. “We’ve always seen it that way, but in the last couple of years, we have strengthened our efforts to address their unique needs and understand their culture. We have also allocated more money for our Hispanic marketing efforts and made a very significant increase in our advertising budget. We feel this is a fast-growing market that is going to be phenomenally successful for retailers who can understand the benefit and embrace the Hispanic community.”
Phoenix is a top 10 Hispanic television market. Hispanic consumers spend an average of 58 hours per week watching television. Arbitron ranked Phoenix as the ninth largest Hispanic radio market reaching 742,000 Hispanics more than 12 years old. Nearly half of Phoenix Hispanics read a Spanish-language newspaper compared to half as many reading an English-language daily.
The Hispanic marketing team at Qwest has used Datos every year since 2000, as one of its tools to compile demographic and census information on the local and regional Hispanic market. They also use it to compare differences year after year in population growth, household growth, buying trends and purchasing power and to develop the company’s marketing strategy. “Datos comes in handy for the Arizona market in particular because it has the lionshare of the Hispanic market in our region,” says Hector Placencia, marketing director for Qwest. “Arizona’s population changes year to year and the updated reports keep us on the curve of these changes. There are many tools out there, but for us, Datos speaks to our customer base. We also share it internally with senior management to raise awareness of change within the Qwest organization.”
Based on the growth of the Hispanic population in Arizona over the last year, Qwest, like IKEA, has allocated additional monies for marketing and advertising to the Hispanic community. The fattened budget also includes face-to-face events. “The Hispanic consumer likes to do business in person,” says Alex Juarez, marketing manager for Qwest. “So we partner with businesses in the community like Food City where we have Qwest kiosks set up to meet with them face to face. It works out great because we understand our market very well.”