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Wells Fargo’s Winning Hispanic Segment Strategy

In our ongoing recap of the 2015 Leading the Change conference, this post will dissect another popular session in which the Head of Hispanic Segment Strategy at Wells Fargo took our audience through a brand’s evolution in Hispanic marketing from setting the ground work at the earliest stages, to what the eventual, fully realized goal looks like.

To paraphrase the proverb, every difficult journey starts with a single step. This was the main takeaway from Mariela Ure, Wells Fargo’s Head of Hispanic Segment Strategy when she discussed how multicultural segment marketing takes shape over time.  “Movement in market share doesn’t come as a result of one tactic, but as a result of a holistic strategy against the segment,” she said.  As Ure explained, there are three key phases each brand travels through to get to the point of being fully committed:

  • Building a Foundation: This is the stage when the opportunity is sized, the business case is built, and a consumer needs assessment takes place. At this stage, market share is not growing, and revenue is not being generated. Many companies elect to attempt pilots in this stage, which Ure does not recommend. She says, “You’re never going to see significant results from one pilot, [not enough] to be able to truly move a company towards capturing that segment.”
  • Developing a Strategy: The second stage is when levels are set; objectives and strategies are established and implemented, research and measurement tools are utilized, and a true “segment strategy” is forming. This is the roadmap that is shared throughout the company on how to succeed in the marketplace.
  • Optimizing the Plan: Finally, this is when the company begins to understand results holistically, and focuses on optimizing them. Investment tends to increase at this stage both across technology as well as marketing budgets, and this is when the total market strategy is implemented. It is at this stage that companies pursue cross-functional alignment with their multicultural strategies across business units to ensure cohesion and harmony of message.

A total market strategy, to Wells Fargo, is inclusive of all segments; their marketing efforts aim to reflect the increasing diversity across the U.S. and highlight the myriad positives that multiculturalism has had on American culture and everyday life. Addressing segments should be folded into a larger total market strategy since the groups being targeted are a part of the total market, not addressed in isolation. The reality is that the country doesn’t look like that. Diverse segments don’t live in isolation from the total market or who we think is the total market.”

According to Scarborough data, Wells Fargo has enjoyed terrific success in gaining market share among Hispanics over the last 5 years, garnering 2.3 million of the total 5.2 million new Hispanic bank users added during that timeframe. “This is not the results of one tactic, not even two or three tactics,” said Ure. ”This is the result of a very consistently executed enterprise segment strategy.”   Wells Fargo committed to reaching the Hispanic bank user years ago, and they developed their in-language capabilities over time; these are obviously necessary, but don’t have to be “end-to-end” on Day 1. As a result, they’ve enjoyed reciprocal commitment from the Hispanic consumer. The road to getting to a fully realized total market approach will certainly have some challenges along the way, but the journey will be exciting, and will ultimately pay off if the proper strategy is implemented. With the right partners, developing that strategy will be easy. The hard part, of course, is taking the first step.

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