Want to know how to connect with the Hispanic market? Marketing strategies are crucial and strategy

Published: 03rd May 2011
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By Laura Cortés

Laura was born in Ecuador and has lived in several Spanish-speaking countries including Mexico, Spain, Ecuador and the United States, where she currently resides. Laura holds a Master in International Business Administration and a BA in International Relations. She is a project coordinator in the Acclaro Massachusetts office.

If you haven't yet considered crafting a specific marketing message for Hispanics in the U.S., 2011 should be your year. Among the many reasons you can no longer afford to neglect this segment are two fundamental razones:

1. Population. The U.S. has one of the highest populations of Spanish speakers in the world (34+ million or 12.1% of the U.S. population). The percentage of the U.S. population that speaks Spanish grows every year.

2. Purchasing power. Among the diverse Hispanic populations, purchasing power is currently valued at approximately $1 trillion, and is projected to increase at a rate more than twice that of non-Hispanics over the next several years.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, only 53% of this population speaks English "very well". So if you want to communicate with Latinos, you'll have to sprinkle your message with some Spanish language and culture. What follows are some general tips for the uninitiated Hispanic marketer:

Understand what is unique about this demographic. U.S. Hispanics come from 20+ different countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean, though the majority (60% by recent estimates) are of Mexican origin. Some speak only Spanish, some only English, still others differing levels of both and/or a mix. Hispanics have a unique cultural identity that is an amalgam of elements from both Latino and mainstream American culture. An appreciation of the diversity within this category will help you combine these disparate cultural elements into a meaningful message for your audience.

Use Spanglish in your ad campaigns, not just Spanish. Doing so will help you connect with "YLAs," or Young Latino Americans. Demonstrating "fluency" in Spanglish shows that you keep up with Hispanic marketing trends and pay attention to the Latino entertainment scene. The government caught on to this and used it to craft their recruitment campaign: "Yo Soy el Army". Sprinkling your brand communications with both Spanish and English will also help you reach a broader audience of speakers with varying degrees of proficiency in both languages.

Offer choices. Given the plethora of backgrounds and dialects within this segment, your best bet is to allow Hispanics to choose how they want to communicate with you. In your newsletters, emails, mailers, and even within your U.S. website, let them select which language they prefer (in addition to offering an international Spanish version of your website, of course). Spanglish is good for short marketing communications but when you really want to inform or educate your audience on your products, you will want to do so in whichever language makes them feel the most comfortable. Offering choices may require more work but it ensures that you reach your entire target audience.

Appeal to the sentiment of pride in Latino culture. McDonald's does this well with their Hispanic marketing. They created a dedicated Latin Pride section of their Spanish language website called Orgullo Latino. The message reads, "Demuestra el orgullo latino en el estudio, en el trabajo y en casa", which translates as, "Demonstrate Latino pride in your studies, at work and at home." Latin pride transcends borders and subcultures, unifying your target Hispanic audience in a common sentiment; acknowledge and affirm this in your marketing communications.

Finesse your branding to create emotional attachment to your products. Use feel-good messages — these are well received in any culture but especially in Latino culture. Come up with emotion-evoking messages like Coca Cola's "Destapa la felicidad", "Open up the happiness", or Nestlé's "A gusto con la vida", "At ease with life". Indulge in a little artistic license instead of creating literal translations of your brand messaging in English. Whenever possible, season your message with a little humor, as Virgin Mobile Telecoms Ltd did in its ad campaign "No soy normal", "I'm not normal" to promote its pay-as-you-go plans.

Think out of the box. In the age of information overload, a little cleverness will go a long way in making your brand memorable. The NBA's social media marketing is a great example of this. Instead of calling their Facebook page "NBA en Español', they dubbed it "éne•bé•a", which is phonetically how Spanish speakers in the States refer to their network. Their page currently has over 274,000 fans.

Play the community card, both on and off line. Hispanics are community oriented and are known for having strong family values. Use these community ties to connect with them. Take advantage of local events, ethnic holidays and festivals as opportunities to communicate. Jose Cuervo played this card for Mexcio's bicentennial, creating a very specific marketing project, "Let's Celebrate 200 Years of Mustaches" around the anniversary with the slogan "Unéte a nuestro movimiento bigoton", "Join our mustache movement." For the same occasion, Hennessy released a commemorative bottle with Mexico 2010 engraved on the neck, paying tribute to Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.

Acclaro can help you market to the Hispanic market by offering regional and cultural-specific English-to-Spanish translation of your website, marketing materials, search engine marketing campaigns and more. Contact us to learn more.

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