Today’s Hispanic consumers have more household wealth and economic influence than ever before—and marketers should be taking notice, placing greater importance on the development of appropriate methods to attract and retain customers in this growing segment. With U.S. Hispanics expected to control nearly $1 trillion in purchasing power by the end of this year, businesses already have reasons to maximize this huge, underserved marketplace. The forecasted landmark data findings from the 2010 U.S. Census may be just the impetus for some businesses to explore what it takes to reach this valuable and influential audience.
Measurability is the critical path in marketing, and the U.S. Census, the mother of all measurability tools, will help identify new Hispanic audiences, confirm locations and validate estimated statistics on audience dispersion. The Census will also confirm what many have known for years—the face of America is changing dramatically. Direct response strategies must evolve as well. As the anticipated cultural impact of the Hispanic market increases, brand managers may be looking at their marketing portfolios and asking, “Am I doing enough to capture this audience?”
Recognizing Multicultural Opportunities
According to a recent Hispanic marketing trends survey, the 2010 Census is expected to confirm Hispanic population numbers at more than 50 million. It also promises to provide insightful data, such as household residency, presence of children, country of origin and level of acculturation by state, that will help validate growth trends relevant to dispersion into secondary markets.
From a marketing perspective, the Census has great potential to prove the significance of multicultural audiences. For many years, Hispanic consumers have been undervalued based on traditional financial scorecards. Despite the rapid growth and increasing purchasing power of this segment, roughly 50% of U.S. advertisers don’t include Latinos in their marketing mix.1 The Census should serve as a wake-up call to this missed opportunity and prompt marketers to do more, including more accurately distinguishing audience behaviors and purchasing preferences, and aligning brands with the resulting demand for pertinent content.
Cultural Relevance as a Data, Creative and Brand Strategy
Cultural relevance is a key factor in achieving measurable results. To be successful, new campaign strategies have to speak to the unique experiences of Latinos in the U.S., and marketers must capitalize on the “total market” opportunity with cultural variables that offer the insight necessary to develop breakthrough Hispanic marketing initiatives. Fortunately, the segment is more approachable than ever before, thanks in part to the growing Hispanic online population (52%)—currently representing 23 million users and expected to reach 30 million by 2012.2 These consumers are primarily U.S. born and are comfortably bilingual. Considering that Hispanic consumers tend to be younger than the general market and resilient during economic downturns, a real opportunity exists for marketers to build longer-term customer relationships with this group.
Research has shown that Hispanics prefer interpersonal relationships within groups that are nurturing and respectful.3 Hispanic families frequently attend community events and share their experiences with one another, creating real opportunities to connect one-to-one with brands. Marketers can respond to this collectivism by integrating core competencies with thought leadership. In fact, marketing disciplines not only allow an open exchange of data but work most effectively when integrated—from creative strategy by segment to the accelerating technology and functionality of digital campaigns.
Insight Drives Content that Connects with Consumers
How marketers evaluate and learn from campaigns has to do with their ability to apply reporting and analytic tools to identify core discoveries. Based on actual and predicted generational analysis of acculturated attributes, these discovered behaviors and values can provide insight for optimized performance. Shifts in the multicultural market can also be identified. These key factors serve as the impetus for continual improvement. Marketers have a real opportunity to fill the content void between lead generation and conversion and offer the culturally relevant messaging that consumers are seeking. When messaging connects consumers with their preferences, it also creates the perception of value and legitimacy.
As today’s consumers are frequently in control of the way they wish to engage with their preferred brands, social media has gained significant traction. It’s all about “listening in real-time to what consumers are saying”—allowing users to share clips and relevant content across multiple platforms.4 Social media offers opportunities to be authentic and drive word-of-mouth. Latino-based PR recognizes social media’s potential and is well positioned to extend social media applications to consumers.5 At Rauxa, we commonly like to say, “hablando se entiende la gente,” which as translated means we can understand one another much more by encouraging an “open door” dialogue that will lead to rewarding brand experiences. This approach can deepen emotional connections with Latinos through strategies that educate and entertain to evoke a measurable response.
The Value of Deeper Cultural Awareness
Gone are the days of trying to impose general market analytic solutions on culture-based strategies. Although the analytic tools may be similar, interpreting data for Hispanic markets requires a different approach. This is because cultural variables and predictive models perform as differently as the unique values of multicultural consumers. By recognizing commonalities and differences, marketers can pay more attention to a brand’s fluency and relevance of messaging. For example, determining consumers’ media usage patterns and attitudes in the context of their American environment and Latino identity can be extremely eye-opening. This awareness points to a deeper, more comprehensive segmentation model based on race/ethnicity and lifestyle orientation. With a clearer understanding comes a greater appreciation for the importance of listening to how these consumers wish to be treated.
As the nation’s largest and fastest-growing minority, Hispanics have seen their buying power more than triple between 1990 and 2008. The Census will only validate this group’s growing numbers and relevance to marketers. Beyond these figures, marketers have a unique opportunity to dig even deeper. Those who truly embrace this audience’s potential—and market with “cultura”—will have a significant advantage. By understanding cultural subtleties and nuances, these marketers will develop successful data-driven strategies and tactics for precisely targeted campaigns that speak to and reach Hispanic audiences on both an emotional and rational level.
1 2010, PRNewswire, Hispanic trending, New Survey Finds American Advertisers Acknowledge Hispanics' Impact on U.S. Culture but Half Don't Market to Nation's Largest Minority.
2 2010, Consorte Media, A Highly Engaged Audience, http://www.consortemedia.com/corporate/en/hispanic_audience/online_trends.
3 2008, Basic Hispanic Cultural Values, http://bandura.sbs.arizona.edu/hcp/OLC/resources/work_hispanics/wihp_2.htm.
4 2009, Hispanic Market Weekly, Social Networks Reshaping Hispanic Digital Marketing.
5 2010, HispanicBusiness.com, Hispanic PR Census results, PR Newswire, http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/news/2010/5/12/hispanic_pr_census_results_shows_marketing.htm.