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Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Department

International Studies

First Advisor

Kent Warren

First Committee Member

Christopher Cartwright

Second Committee Member

Francisca Trujillo-Dalbey

Abstract

The goal of this study was to better understand the needs of the Mexican American community in relation to the services offered and what their perception was of the American Automobile Association (AAA). At the time of the study, the AAA membership rate for the Hispanic/Latino community was 5% (American Automobile Association, 2014) while this same population in the United States was approximately 17.8% (U.S. Census Bureau, 2016). White/Caucasian members in the AAA accounted for 87% of total memberships yet was estimated at 77% of the U.S. population. With a steady population growth of the Latino community, the AAA seeks to increase membership from this population to better reflect the corresponding makeup of the United States. For the purposes of this study I focused on the Mexican American community, knowing that it was exclusive of other Latin American populations. The 2010 U.S. Census (2011) revealed 59.87% of Hispanic/Latinos identified as Mexican American.

Historically, new immigrants immersed themselves in their new country and stepped away from not only their culture, but also their language. Ensuing generations of Mexican Americans are reconnecting with their roots and redefining their social identity, however, they have created new, fluid identities: Mexican American, American, and a blend of the two. To which identity does the American Automobile Association need to market to?

This study suggests that AAA, a predominantly white corporation with low Hispanic/Latino membership rates, is not getting it right. Whites and Hispanics believe different advertising elements would be more relevant to the Mexican American population. Further study that includes face-to-face meetings or focus groups with the community is needed. However, there are clear messages that using the internet would better reach the Hispanic population, and to reach the most underserved group in the AAA, millennials, marketing apps for mobiles would be crucial.

Pages

71

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