When I started my work studying Millennial Marketing back in 2005, it wasn’t the only interesting subject on the table. It seemed that nearly every conference I attended had a session on “Marketing to Hispanics” or “Serving the Underbanked”. Topics like this were often perceived as gratuitous additions to the agenda as few market examples were available to share and fewer in the audience were tasked to find solutions to these narrowly defined “problems”.
Over the past twenty years I’ve witnessed an insulated, mostly Cuban community in Miami become a diverse assembly of Latin American diaspora which have increasingly adopted American language and culture. At one point in the 90’s marketers might have agreed that simply translating traditional advertisements and offers into Spanish would be sufficient to get results. Now, it’s truly difficult to discern which people prefer to speak first in English, first in Spanish, or those who comfortably blend the two into “Spanglish”. If you can get the targeting right, the task remains to craft a message that will connect with each group.
In short, marketing to the multi-cultural population is a tough nut crack.
At the same time, loyalty marketers have been trying to find the right formula to create a coalition loyalty model that works in the US. Two attempts have failed to date and I believe, along with many others, that regional or demographically focused programs might be a more practical path to market.
When I became aware of Valoramás.com, I thought I had found an answer to both questions. Valoramás is the “first of its kind online bilingual rewards program”. It’s also effectively a coalition loyalty program that serves up a great solution for “marketing to Hispanics”.
Members pay a $25 annual fee to become part of the community. By shopping online across almost 2,000 retailers, members can earn cash back rewards that average more than 5% of purchase amounts and can range as high as 57%. In the process, members support the Latino community by generating donations for a selected set of charities supported by Valoramás and its members. My understanding is that national voting from the membership base will determine the charities receiving grants later this year.
OneBigTent, LLC is the parent company of Valoramás, and has aligned itself with a group of business partners that includes República, Marketing Strategists, FreeCause, Inc, Reward Paths, TransNational, and Miller Cooper & Co. Mike Capizzi and Terri Gaughan are the principles of Marketing Strategists, so we know that significant loyalty expertise backs up the program plan.
OneBigTent states on its web site that it believes “giving back is the highest form of citizenship”, and they pledge to give back more than half their annual gross revenues to members and to organizations making a difference in the Latino community. Funds allocated for schools, scholarships, job training, community centers, the arts, and health care among those being considered for grants.
Valoramás might be the most effective effort to date to bring Latinos together in support of their interests and communities. It’s also a worthy example of social giving and, we hope, a boon to the Latino community in the US.
In the process, marketers will have a venue through which they can finally capitalize on a solution for “marketing to Hispanics”.