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Who Else Is Looking to Attract and Retain Hispanic Customers and Employees?

Who Else Is Looking to Attract and Retain Hispanic Customers and Employees?

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You want to reach the fastest growing minority group in the United States, according to the U. S. Census Bureau, but you haven’t the foggiest idea as to where to start.
Well, the Census Bureau is an excellent starting point. According to their census data of 2000, the Hispanic population rate of 12.5% has surpassed the rate of African Americans that hovers at 12.3%. Likewise, the data also shows that the buying power of Latinos in the United States has surpassed the $800 Billion mark – and is estimated to rise to more than $1 Trillion by the year 2008, less than 2 years away.
The writing is on the wall. If you want to ride the tide of this projected big wave, now is the time to start attracting and retaining Hispanic customers and employees.
But how do you, Mr./Ms. Small Businessperson, best respond to the demographic shift and growing economic power of the Latino community? How do you gain awareness and loyalty among potential Latino customers?
One individual who has been extensively studying these same questions is Dr. Robert Rodriguez. As Chairman of the Board for the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement and Faculty Chair in the School of Business at Capella University, Dr. Rodriguez has studied what works and what doesn’t.
According to Dr. Rodriguez, “With the tremendous growth of the Latino demographic in the United States, companies are realizing that Latinos have a lot of purchasing power. So companies want to tap into this market, but they are recognizing that in order to do that, they need more Latinos working within their organizations that understand the Latino culture. It’s hard to market effectively to Latinos if you don’t have any Latinos working in your marketing department. “
“Latinos tend to be brand conscious and brand loyal when it comes to making purchasing decisions, so organizations with a strong employment brand will benefit. Employment branding does not refer to an organization’s products or services, but instead to an organization’s reputation as an employer. “
With that said, here are 10 ways to attract and retain Latinos employees and ultimately customers:
1. Understand the complexity of the Latino demographic and develop tailored approaches to reach out to different Latino communities. Never assume what works for one segment of the Latino population will work with another.
2. Leverage Latino employee affinity groups for recruiting purposes. The word-of-mouth and connections of existing Latino employees are powerful assets.
3. Learn about and be sensitive to the intricacies of various aspects of Latino culture. For example, as an employer, take time to know and understand the differences between the terms “Baricua”, “Chicano”, “Hispanic”, “Latino”, and “Tejano”.
4. Seek out and consult with Latino leaders in your community. Here the positive word-of-mouth marketing these leaders will foster along with the connections they have will prove to be invaluable to you.
5. Show that, although you value education and ethnicity, you still reward your employees based on their performance.
6. Place talented Latinos in senior positions. Doing so sends a strong signal of support.
7. Become involved in your local Latino community. Sponsor events, celebrate holidays, be visible and supportive. Place ads in or register your business on business directories, such as www.LatinXChange.net/ .
8. Partner with academic institutions with high Latino student populations.
9. Partner your HR Dept. with your Marketing Dept. to ensure consistency of public relations messages and then leverage every opportunity to reach out to Latinos.
10. Partner with Latino associations and professional groups to build awareness among Latino communities and build strong networking ties.
Remember: When you maximize your potential to attract and retain Latino customers and employees, we all win. When you don’t, we all lose.

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