When NxStage Medical Inc. realized Spanish-speaking people made up 15 percent of the market for its home kidney dialysis equipment, the company created a website and brochures printed in Spanish.

NxStage, which started its marketing campaign to Hispanics a year ago, has also increased its staff of Spanish-speaking customer service agents.

“If we’re doing our job in the community, 15 to 20 percent of our growth would come from the Hispanic population,” said Jeff Burbank, CEO of the Lawrence, Mass.-based company.

There are about 55 million Hispanics in the United States, according to the Census Bureau, which reported Hispanics accounted for more than half the U.S. population growth from 2000-10. By 2060, it’s expected there will be 119 million Hispanics, making up nearly 29 percent of the population.

Hispanics also have enormous buying power — $1.4 trillion, according to an estimate by market research company Nielsen. Large companies such as NxStage have taken notice — and so have smaller firms.

Smart companies go beyond ad campaigns; they’re hiring Hispanic employees, said Cid Wilson, president of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility, an organization aimed at increasing Hispanic employment in U.S. companies.

“Companies that don’t embrace Hispanic inclusion run the risk of being labeled a company that does not embrace diversity, and they might make a mistake in how they market to our community,” Wilson said.

But some companies haven’t yet gotten the memo. In a survey of 150 marketing executives released by the CMO Council marketing association, 55 percent said they didn’t have the support of their CEOs for multicultural marketing programs, and 60 percent said they didn’t have the support of their boards of directors. That has left few marketing dollars allocated to multicultural marketing; only 14 percent said a quarter or more of their budgets are devoted to multicultural marketing.

However, sensitivity to the Hispanic population led companies including Macy’s and the Spanish-language TV network Univision to end their relationships with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in response to his comments describing some Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals.

Underserved market

When Gilbert Cerda and Aaron Munoz started their Los Angeles financial advisory firm, Cerda Munoz Advisors, in 2013, they focused on Hispanics who weren’t being served. Many financial advisers cater to the wealthy and didn’t want to work with Hispanics who didn’t have a minimum net worth, Cerda said.

Hispanics are starting to accumulate sizable nest eggs, Cerda said.

“Who better to provide the service than someone who speaks the language?” he said.

Many franchise companies recruit franchisees to serve Hispanic customers. Liberty Tax, which operates tax preparation franchises, has gone further, creating SiempreTax, whose target market for services including tax and immigration help is the Hispanic population. It has nearly 60 locations; some Liberty Tax locations are being converted into SiempreTax franchises, said Martha O’Gorman, chief marketing officer.

Strengthening relationships

Budding Co. began installing signs in Spanish in its stores in Camp Hill and Horsham, Pa., in 2009, and created brochures in Spanish after consulting with a community college professor to be sure it was using the right phrasing.

About 20 percent of Budding’s customers are Hispanic business owners, including landscapers, general contractors and masons, said Hoyt Bangs, the company’s website manager. The Hispanic customer base has grown through word-of-mouth advertising that has also helped Budding build a business shipping its products to Mexico.

 

Joyce Rosenberg is a business reporter with the Associated Press.