Led by multicultural pioneer Maria Twena, new practice aims to close the gaps to real business with the biggest growth segments in the U.S.
HOUSTON (October 2, 2019) – 9thWonder has introduced a new practice targeting the X factor in emerging markets - consumers that represent the future of brands but elude marketers because they’re hidden within demographic and ethnic groups that appear monolithic. Consumer X will help marketers identify, understand and connect with these overlooked consumers that are the true influencers in America’s changing economy.
“Marketers’ biggest opportunities are hiding in plain sight,” said Jose Lozano, CEO of 9thWonder. “They’re the real influencers within groups that marketers know are expanding but don’t fully activate. The reason is, their one-size-fits-all marketing fails to connect with the X consumers in personally relevant ways.”
Consumer X is designed and led by Maria Twena, who has joined the agency as Partner, Global Head of Consumer X. Twena has made a career of delivering marketing programs for major brands such as Microsoft, HR Block and Verizon Wireless that connect “affectively” with powerful audiences they’ve overlooked. She ran GlobalHue Latino, created MRM/McCann’s direct marketing business targeting second-generation Hispanics online, and served as CMO of media companies Entravision and Pulpo Media. Along the way, she won the AdColor Award for Innovation for her work in segmenting Hispanic audiences by nativity.
Consumer X will field a dedicated team of researchers and strategists to work across disciplines serving 9thWonder’s 100+ clients. The team is taking a systematic approach with advanced analytics – from researching mindsets to pre-testing message hierarchies, ads and activations, and executing marketing mix modeling – that transcends the typical processes of multicultural or ethnic marketing. In addition, Consumer X will develop powerful consumer segments beyond ethnicity, starting with original research into the mindset and lexicon that bond emerging consumer groups.
“You can only understand Consumer X from experience, and then you have to communicate ‘affectively’ with them,” said Twena. “Marketers focus on reaching them when they need to touch them. We’re set up to drive qualitative consumer growth by code-talking to consumers in all forms of brand messaging.”
Consumer X will start with the Latin market, where 27 million English Latino First (ELF) consumers are redefining the segment. ELF consumers are immigrants who came to the US before their tenth birthday or U.S.-born children of an immigrant parent; they account directly for approximately $1.7 trillion in spending and influence much more.
ELF consumers not only respond to different cultural and linguistic cues, they prioritize different media from the generally accepted Hispanic population. They’re online first and foremost, where they can find and express their voice, connect with others like them (outside of their locale and immediate geography), create content for themselves (and folks like them), and share with others.
“ELFs straddle two worlds, between their family ethos of collectivism and American orientation toward individual achievement or self-reliance,” said Twena, who is an ELF. “Our biculturalism informs us much more than our bilingualism does. That’s what most marketers and agencies miss, and where we can make a profound difference.”
A similar dynamic is true of many Consumer X groups 9thWonder intends to develop. Twena’s next target is rural consumers whose mindset transcends geography and has profound impact on brand consumption as well as politics.
“By showing clients how to embrace the uniqueness of Consumer X, we can create exponential growth,” said Lozano. “One by one, we’ll do that for the most powerful, overlooked consumer groups in America.”
9thWonder is an independent marketing agency built for business impact. The agency brings together diverse thinkers and specialties from across six offices (Houston, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Buenos Aires, Argentina and Nha Trang, Vietnam) to identify hidden opportunities, generate marketplace results and develop lasting advantages for clients such as Public Storage, Cox Enterprises, Natrol, Phillips 66 and Stage Stores. 9thWonder was founded in 2018 when agency entrepreneur Jose Lozano formalized a collective of successful independent agencies as one integrated enterprise.