latino lingo

All things related to effective Hispanic marketing, Hispanic advertising and Hispanic public relations.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Marketing to "ilegales"

President Bush is on the road this week to border towns to pitch his immigration strategy, which combines a guest worker program for foreigners with border security enforcement. An article on describes this approach as an attempt to satisfy both his business supporters, who believe illegals boost the economy, and conservatives, who take a hard line on illegal immigration.

From a marketing perspective, businesses also have to tread a thin line when marketing themselves to illegals. On one end, they don't want backlash by overtly offering services to those who are here illegally, and on the other they want to appear "inclusive" and "sensitive" to the unique needs of the illegal population.

There is no doubt businesses want a piece of the illegal immigrant market. Here are some brief statistics on the illegal immigrant population:

-- Estimated at 11 million, mainly Latinos from Central and South America (U.S. Census)
-- Add 700,000 consumers a year, mainly ages 18-44, to the work force (Pew Hispanic Center)
-- Conventional mortgages could hit $60 billion in the next half decade (National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals)

Banks, for example, tread this line by communicating the "alternative" identification they will accept to open an account. In 2001, the U.S. Treasury allowed banks to use the matricula consular card, a piece of identification issued by Mexican consulates, as a basis for the undocumented to open accounts, according to an article in the New Haven Register.

Smart banks recognize they have to first get them in the puerta before they can start advertising their rates on mortgages, CDs, business loans, etc.


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