J.C. Penney Plans New Marketing Campaign, Hopes to Win Over Hispanic Consumers

June 23, 2014 by No Comments

Can J.C. Penney turn its sinking ship into port by marketing to the Hispanic community? That, it would appear, is the department store corporation’s latest bid for a turnaround in profits.

For the past several years, J.C. Penney has been struggling in more ways than one. Right now, the company is indicating that its former CEO, Ron Johnson, is responsible for most of the company’s woes. Penney has reported losses for six consecutive quarters, revenues are down, and same-store sales are down.

Many agree that Johnson’s extreme makeover of the company — attempting to get rid of all the sales and promotional strategies the company had been known for, and cutting popular in-house brands — was an integral part of the current downward spiral.

J.C. Penney is hoping to woo Hispanics — a large, growing, and powerful demographic in the U.S. currently — into their stores with this week’s extensive World Cup campaign, which is specifically aimed at Latina communities. “Our growth depends on catering to the Latina,” explains Lyris Leos, director-multicultural marketing at J.C. Penney. The marketing campaign for the World Cup includes two 30-second commercials that will air during all of the 56 tournament games.

Until now, J.C. Penney has not explicitly stated that their brand is moving toward being Latina-catering. “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,” agrees Debra Berman, who is the senior VP for Penney marketing.

The Hispanic community currently accounts for 9% of the company’s customers, but comprises a larger percentage of store sales. The realization that Hispanic-catered marketing could positively impact their brand has led to other in-house changes. Instead of having one Hispanic marketing group, J.C. Penney broke that group up and integrated the members into all their marketing groups.

J.C. Penney has also identified stores where large numbers of Hispanic customers visited, and has adjusted the in-store experience accordingly by introducing bilingual signage and store associates, as well as popular Latin-American music. It would seem as if J.C. Penney is more successfully connecting with the community than other retailers, and they are working to lead Hispanic customers into buying their products, rather than pushing them into the decision.

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