J.C. Penney Aims Marketing Squarely at Latinas

From AdAge.com

J.C. Penney is ripping up its marketing playbook once again, this time fashioning itself as the department-store destination for Hispanics.

It’s a critical time for a retailer attempting a turnaround following three tumultuous years of management and agency upheaval; repeated shifts in strategy; and a marked decline in sales. In a push for growth, J.C. Penney isn’t just zeroing in on the Hispanic customer — it’s identified the demographic as its “North Star.”

The push will be on display this week with an expansive World Cup campaign that specifically addresses Latinas (there is no general-market component, a first for the retailer) and a sponsorship of Univision‘s World Cup coverage.

“Our growth depends on catering to the Latina,” said Lyris Leos, director-multicultural marketing at J.C. Penney. Until now, “we have never overtly stated and assertively made the claim that the Latina is our brand muse.”

“Because she has a higher taste level and consumes fashion at a faster rate, our Latina woman will make J.C. Penney better as we rebuild our brand and the goods we offer,” said Debra Berman, senior VP-marketing. “If we do right by her, we will do better with our general-market work, as our Latina customer is increasingly reshaping the general market.”

Hispanics make up 9% of J.C. Penney’s customer base and account for a double-digit percentage of store sales, in addition to a single-digit percentage of online sales. The segment is expected to be the single-biggest source of growth for the retailer in 2014.

That recognition has sparked big changes.

Internally, J.C. Penney has done away with its dedicated Hispanic marketing group, embedding those execs into existing marketing groups and hiring new talent. It’s added Havas to its roster, which already includes Grupo Gallegos. And recently it introduced a new, inclusive tagline, “when it fits, you feel it.”

J.C. Penney is also getting a better handle on the demographic through a new Hispanic Facebook page and a revamped rewards program. It’s rolled out two lines of cookware targeting Hispanics — Simplemente Delicioso and IMUSA — and more products could be on the way.

Read More at AdAge.com

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