Posted by Elena del Valle on July 12, 2007
By Terry J. Soto
President and CEO, About Marketing Solutions Inc.
Terry J. Soto, president and CEO, About Marketing Solutions
Photo: Terry J. Soto
Managers often perceive that the process of setting Hispanic metrics is different and somehow more challenging than setting metrics for the rest of the organization. I propose that if a Hispanic market strategy has been well-conceived, planned and implemented, and top management answered the following questions at the outset, appropriate metrics become obvious and well-supported.
1. What is the company trying to achieve? The answer to this question should not be as vague as; to penetrate the Hispanic market; to capitalize on the growth of the Hispanic market now and in the future or; to position our company for growth in the future.
The answer to this question is really about defining the specific outcomes management wants to achieve and which they feel are worthy of investment.
The answer to this question might be:
• to maximize our sales percentage increase over last year by___;
• to minimize sales declines over last year by___;
• to extend our product reach through Hispanic relevant distribution channels;
• to diversify our employee base across our operations;
• and/or to improve long-term retention of ALL our customers.
2. How will we measure success and how will we know when we’ve achieved it? Once the company’s desired outcomes are known, move to define industry benchmarks across defined outcome areas and use these along with existing company metrics for relevant context, to define the company’s Hispanic success metrics and measurement systems.
The answer might be in terms of:
• the number of pounds, boxes, cars sold or accounts opened,
• the number of Hispanic relevant retailers that carry our products,
• improved customer satisfaction and customer retention,
• the number of successfully integrated, productive and satisfied Hispanic employees across the organization.
3. What is the value to the company of achieving the outcomes? If you don’t know the short and long-term monetary value to your company of moving forward, don’t. If the value of a Hispanic strategy is not identified at the outset, it will be impossible challenging at best for management to see the benefit of supporting it, let alone of investing appropriate budgets and resources against it. And, more to the point, measuring something management doesn’t value as a strategic pillar is pointless.
You will need to do a little number crunching, but the value might be stated as:
• we will fall short of meeting our sales objectives by $2 million dollars short-term and by as much as $10-15 million within the next five years as the population grows and we do nothing,
• we will not realize our share of incremental Hispanic sales of $5 million dollars currently flowing through Hispanic relevant retail channels where we have no distribution or bilingual merchandising,
• we will decrease a sales loss of $500,000 dollars due to unsatisfied customers who are currently leaving or buying our products less,
• having the right people in place will increase sales by $1 million dollars because we will be more successful in Hispanic channels – we will be in a position to not only think about our Hispanic customers, we will be able to think like them;
• improving our image as an employer which supports diversity will minimize time and resources to attract and hire top talent by $500,000 per year.
When management knows the value of moving forward to achieve the company’s desired outcomes or sees the consequences of not doing so; how, who and how much become secondary concerns because the short and long term company’s and its stakeholders ROI scenario is clear and measurable.
Persistency in holding stakeholders accountable for answering these questions at the outset will result in metrics about which they will care, Hispanic strategies that are well funded and well supported, and as importantly, strategy stakeholders who feel acknowledged and are ultimately rewarded for their efforts.
Terry Soto is president of About Marketing Solutions, Inc and the author of Marketing to Hispanics – A Strategic Approach to Assessing and Planning Your Initiative. She is a well-respected voice in Hispanic market strategy consulting, working with Fortune 500 companies across a variety of industries.