LatinaLista.net -- Even before the US Census releases its final findings on the status of the nation's Latino population, it's known that Latinos are the largest demographic after the Anglo population.
For that reason, it's natural that businesses would target Latinos as potential customers -- if they can get over their biased assumptions first.
For example, a widely held belief is that Latinos won't ski or snowboard because of the expense of the sport. And while that's true of anyone who doesn't have money to spare, it's not true of those Latinos who do have extra money or among the new generation of Millennial Latinos.
The Denver-based team of Juan Alberto de la Roca and Marcus Jimenez decided to show the snow sports industry just how wrong they were about Latinos and snowboarding and released a detailed report in December called The M.A.S. Report: The Multicultural's in Action Sports Report.
The report highlights the huge potential for the snow sports industry to draw more young Latinos into snowboarding.
From a socioeconomic perspective, the misconception is rooted in the belief that most African Americans and Hispanic Americans can't afford to go snowboarding, as they generally share lower household (HH) incomes than their general market counterparts. this is compounded with a belief that as these segments are concentrated in large metropolitan cities only, it places them well outside the proximity of most ski resorts. simply put, the industry posits that if multicultural consumers have no money and no way of getting to the resort, then how are they going to participate?
So industry outreach efforts have primarily focused on exposing urban youth to snowboarding through non-profit and more altruistic platforms...these programs demonstrate how the sport does indeed resonate with multicultural youth, and just how powerful the use of an influencer model within the ethnic community can be.
Yet, de la Roca and Jimenez say that the industry cannot rely on this model of recruiting more Latinos to the sport. According to them, it's unsustainable and the snow sports industry needs to do its part in doing outreach to a segment of the population that has exhibited an enthusiasm for the sport.
The two men answered a few questions from Transworld Business about the report and what they hoped to accomplish with its release. A portion of the Q&A follows:
What were your biggest "Aha moments" in the research?
Juan: For me it was how easy it was to debunk the myth of affordability. When we looked at what the average snowboard consumer looked like, especially household income, and examined it in relation with Hispanic statistics, it quickly became apparent that the notion that there was no money to participate in snowboarding was false. That is the first thing people ask when thinking about Hispanics and snowboarding.
Marcus: Another Aha moment came when we synthesized the cultural narratives from all the qualitative analysis pointing towards the emotional benefits that the sport provides. The fact that the mountains presented a reward or symbol of achievement wasn't just a domestic insight, but a global one. We realized this during our interview with Pamela Flor, a Paraguayan national who now lives in Winter Park. When she described how getting on the hill for the first time changed her entire mindset, and how she was then able to see a path towards a more rewarding and enriching life than the one she led back home, we knew we were on the right path. Her description of how she overcame such adversity and how snowboarding provided her s sense of accomplishment and confidence is an incredibly powerful insight, one that we probably would never have uncovered without conducting this study.
What are the keys to successfully and authentically speaking to Hispanic millenials?
Juan: The key understanding is that your target market is bicultural. They walk, talk, and feel in two cultural worlds, and they navigate easily between both of them. It's about giving them the means or tools necessary for exploring new concepts and activities.