But appealing to this rapidly growing segment is not as simple as hiring a Spanish translator. "Marketers need to incorporate into their perspectives how purchasing decisions are made by Hispanics," the authors write.
The opinions of family and friends, for instance, weigh heavily in the choices Hispanics make. For example, a realtor profiled on HGTV arranged for prospective home buyers to spend an evening entertaining loved ones in a house they were considering. "The family decided to purchase the house after getting positive feedback from the guests," write Aguilar and Pierce.
They also suggest wooing first-generation customers with brand names they recognize. For example, Colgate-Palmolive imports Suavitel, a fabric softener popular in Latin America; and Blistex has created a lip balm flavored like the ubiquitous soda Jarritos.
Once you've penetrated the market, however, companies must target their Hispanic audience with highly tailored messaging: "This likely requires new positioning to differentiate the brand from competitors while earning credibility and relevance," they note.
In short, one-size-fits-all solutions won't work for this important segment (nor, frankly, with others), nor will brand loyalty be achieved by merely translating ads into Spanish. Rather, you have to understand your Hispanic customers—their various sub-segments, their wants and needs, and their proclivities.
And, in that vein, in case you had any doubts about Hispanics' readiness and willingness to buy, "Hispanics are less affected by the recession, tend to be more positive about it, [and] shop more often," according to a recent Mediaweek article citing an Experian Simmons study.
Some of the reasons you might want to consider Hispanics vital consumers, according to the study:
- More Hispanics (34 percent) than non-Hispanics (25 percent) expect to be better off financially in the next 12 months.
- Only 45 percent of Hispanics have credit cards (versus 71 percent of non-Hispanics) and are less burdened with potential debt.
- Similarly, fewer Hispanic consumers have loans (34 percent, versus 53 percent for non-Hispanics).
- Compared with non-Hispanics, more Hispanics say they go shopping frequently—34 percent versus 29 percent. (Moreover, Hispanics are more willing to pay for branded prescriptions, for example, than non-Hispanics: 31 percent versus 15 percent.)
How might you attract these potential customers? Here are a couple of tactics to consider:
- Target them with discounts. "Hispanics are more likely to look out for special offers. In general, they use cash and are more careful with money," says Experian's Tom Morrison.
- Target them with TV ads. Hispanic viewers enjoy TV ads more than viewers in other US households, Morrison reports: "They see [ads] as a source of information, not a nuisance."
So you might consider targeting the smart Hispanic shoppers in your community with a TV ad that offers discounts.
Outreach tactics also need to be adjusted for this market, according to Aguilar and Pierce: Community celebrations such as Mexican Independence Day, for example, and local festivals and sponsorships of athletic activities, can build bonds with Hispanic consumers.
"Smart marketers will achieve breakthroughs with this critical audience...by engaging both the hearts and the minds of the Hispanic community in all their efforts," they conclude.
Ann Handley is an 11-year veteran of creating and managing digital content to build relationships for organizations and individuals. Currently, Ann is the Chief Content Officer of http://www.marketingprofs.com which provides strategic and tactical marketing know-how for marketing and business professionals through a full range of online media and live events. She also blogs at http://www.annhandley.com, her acclaimed personal web log.
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