All successful Hispanic marketing initiatives are driven by managers that are not simply “involved” with the project, but genuinely committed. And the difference between being committed and being involved is perfectly exemplified in a plate of bacon and eggs.

In bacon and eggs the chicken is involved… but the pig is committed.

Starting a Hispanic marketing initiative is very difficult. It implies changing the way an organization does business and engages with the market.

It’s not for the faint of heart, but for the “intrapreneur.” I first heard of this term last year during the South by Southwest interactive conference. One of the panels focused on how to be entrepreneurial inside a big corporation… or how to become an “intrapreneur.”

[pullquote align=”right”]Successful Hispanic marketing managers see themselves as country managers, in charge of a territory bigger than Canada.[/pullquote]While the conversation was about spearheading interactive marketing initiatives, it hit me that the most successful Hispanic marketing projects we’ve executed have been driven by intrapreneurs.

The thing is – a lot of companies know of the Hispanic market. But in many cases it’s like the weather: everybody talk about it, very few do anything about it.

It always takes a daring marketing manager that not only sees the possibilities, but is also willing to stick his or her neck out and spearhead the necessary internal changes to make things happen.

Successful Hispanic marketing managers see themselves as country managers, in charge of a territory bigger than Canada. They’re also faced with the challenges that any country manager would face when entering a new area.

Author David Arnold in his book “Strategies for Entering and Developing International Markets” summed up the challenges for companies expanding internationally:

“Entering a new country-market is very like a start-up situation, with no sales, no marketing infrastructure in place, and little or no knowledge of the market. Despite this, companies usually treat this situation as if it were an extension of their business, a source of incremental revenues for existing products and services.”

Familiar, huh?

Hispanic marketing intrapreneurs have a few common traits, which are the ingredients for success:

  • Make a solid business case: Hispanic marketing initiatives are about making money… and Hispanic market intrapreneurs get lots of numbers together that show the money. They show not only how much they will make for the company, but how and when.
  • Are in it for the long haul: any successful new market entry takes time and effort. Getting results from Hispanic marketing initiatives will take several years, not a quarter. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
  • Build an internal network: A successful Hispanic initiative needs to be a cross-functional effort. Successful intrapreneurs find advocates across the relevant teams within the organizations, and recruit them for their cause. From marcomm and PR to call centers and distribution, they think through the areas of the company that need to change and find people who can make those changes happen.
  • Find a high level champion: Intrapreneurs need air coverage to help them move the big rocks. They usually look for someone high in the organization that may is willing to be an advocate if they get stuck. The best bet is to approach senior executives with a tradition of innovation, or that lead an organization that will benefit directly from Hispanic marketing successes.
  • Sell, sell, sell: Our intrapreneurs usually become the “Hispanic market guy” or “Hispanic market girl” in their companies, and spend a lot of time selling the initiative internally. They talk to people about it. They make their enthusiasm contagious. Having a great idea is less important than articulating it. In this way people can understand it, get excited about it and come along for the ride.
  • Find an agency that is right for them: We’re not just saying this because, well, we are an agency. Many agencies will help you acquire the knowledge you’ll need to sell the initiative internally. They can become your “marketing team” and will be fundamentally important when it’s time to start execution. If you’re starting up, and unsure of your budgets, a smaller agency will make sense. If you secure large budgets and belong to a large organization, a larger agency will be best for you.

With commitment, persistence and vision, a Hispanic marketing initiative will be successful. This high visibility success can truly propel a career to new heights.

You will not end up like the bacon, but your success will taste as delicious.