Calling the Latino Market

The CFO of a new cell-phone retailer tells how the company is reaching the diverse, rapidly expanding Latino population.

The Hispanic population in the United States is exploding. There were an estimated 53 million Latinos in the United States in 2012, and the Census Bureau expects that number to more than double by 2050. The group’s purchasing power was $1.2 trillion in 2012, according to the Selig Center for Economic Growth.

Latinos also happen to be 28 percent more likely to own a smartphone than non-Hispanic whites, according to Nielsen.

Chad Jensen, CFO of Moorehead and Viva Móvil

Chad Jensen, CFO of Moorehead and Viva Móvil

So it’s not especially surprising that this year, cell-phone retailer The Cellular Connection (the doing-business-as name of Moorehead Communications) teamed up with Jennifer Lopez, Verizon Wireless and wireless distributor Brightstar to launch Viva Móvil, a separate company that is specifically targeting the Latino market. But how exactly will that be done, considering that Latinos have strikingly variable demographics, needs and incomes, depending on factors like country of origin, region of the country and even neighborhood? CFO sat down with Chad Jensen, finance chief of both TCC and Viva Móvil, to find out.

As the CFO of two companies, how do you divide your time?
I leverage my teams to complete a lot of the work. Our corporate offices are housed in the same location. So on the Moorehead side I have a full finance and accounting team of about 50 people. On the Viva team I have one dedicated finance person that works directly with me, and we effectively outsource the tactical functions to the rest of the Moorehead team.

What are the shopping preferences of Hispanic consumers when it comes to  mobile phones?
To start off, when we looked at that demographic it was really underserved, specifically by our Verizon market. One of the key things we focused on was the shopping experience. There’s more of a family atmosphere when they’re shopping, more of a sharing feeling in that process.

How does that play out when it comes to cellphones?
One of the key things is having a family “share everything” plan. Another is focusing on making Viva Stores a family zone, specifically having an area set up with tablets so the kids can be occupied and use some technology while the parents spend time with our sales agents so they better understand what the customers’ personal needs are — what type of phone, what type of plan, what type of apps would really fit their lifestyle.

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