Does your marketing influence the Latino Consumer?

The other day, my wife was talking with my daughter after dinner about IBS - irritable bowel syndrome. My son in law was on his smart phone. I thought he was playing with his new toy. Nope, he was doing research and joined the conversation by sharing what he had found. A few minutes later, he said - I need to go to see the doctor. Robert had an Aha moment. The moment he said I need to do this. The moment he decided to take action.

For marketers, this is a key moment of truth. However, influencing the “aha” moment is more than communicating with the end consumer. We live in a more connected and complex world and we are facing some of the biggest challenges ever experienced in marketing to Hispanics, as demographics and technology changes consumer behavior.

2060 Hispanics will become 119 million of U.S. population

In 2014, Hispanics were 17.14% of the U.S. population totaling 55.4 million people that equaled 12.2 million Hispanic family households. It is estimated that by 2060 Hispanics will constitute 119 million people or 28.6% of U.S. population. Since 2000 the primary source of Hispanic growth has shifted from immigration to native births. Hispanic millennials (18-34) make up the second largest Hispanic cohort living in the U.S.

No one wakes up and says “I want to see an ad”, more likely they want to share a story. A story of something that they saw, read, heard, or talked about the day before.

In the past, the role of a media strategy was the selection of media channels to reach a specific target. It was fairly straightforward, we had a few channels to play with - TV, radio, print, outdoors, and online. Today we no longer rely on a few channels for communication.

Consumers are overwhelm and are filtering information. We live in a crowded, noisy, place. On average, people in the US receive 5,000 brand messages per day according to Razorfish. No wonder our attention span has fallen to 8 seconds in 2013 from 12 seconds in 2000 according to a Microsoft research. A goldfish has a greater attention span than you and I.

Thus, it is more relevant to think that marketing’s purpose is to be in front of influencers and to think of media channels as touch points. Touch points that helps you tell your story to your customers’ family and social network. Hispanics turn to family and friends for information. According to SMG Multicultural, 57% said family and friends are the primary source of information, while 60% are influenced by their partners and 50% from their children when making decisions. The good news is that Latinos are socially engaged on and offline and this offers a great opportunity to increase your touch points and influence the aha moment.

"Hispanic consumers perceive themselves as a more mobile segment, and view mobile technology as a critical support for this lifestyle"- pwc

Hispanics access media from every platform available and often lead non-Hispanics as early adopters of technology. According to Nielsen, overall media consumption is still rapidly growing. Much of this growth is led by the Hispanic population digital video viewing. Nearly half of Hispanics watches mobile video and spend more time than the overall population watching video on their smartphone every month. And we are not just talking about millennials. Older Hispanics have adopted mobile video, too: 20% of 60+ Hispanics watch streaming video on a weekly basis vs. 8% for non-Hispanics according to Latinum Network research.

Latinos are more likely to download apps 74% vs. 66% of non-Latinos. What is more interesting is that Spanish speaking Hispanics are driving up the social app usage. In fact, nearly 70% Spanish speaking users vs.51% for English speaking and 60% of bilingual Hispanics are driving social apps consumption, according to Hispanic internet users surveyed in December 2013 by Latinum Network.

According to Nielsen, television remains a key way for reaching the Hispanic community. Hispanics spend roughly the same amount of time as non-Hispanics watching TV, as 63% of Hispanics report being moderate/heavy TV viewers (defined as at least nine hours spent per week) compared to 61% of non-Hispanics. However, Hispanics are more likely to multitask on other devices while watching TV, over half engaged in various online activities than non-Hispanics. For example, 51% of Hispanics report being likely or very likely to browse the internet while watching TV, compared to 40% of non-Hispanics).

This growth toward a larger and more diverse Hispanic market and a more complex media industry requires a new approach to reach their desired consumers.

How can we strengthen our marketing strategy when traditional models are becoming impotent?

We focus on 3 pillars that remain constant. Cultural + Content + Context. One of the most important factors in reaching Hispanics is connecting culture to content to context.

Culture - One size doesn’t fit all. Hispanics are culturally diverse and live in a multigenerational community. One in four Hispanic families have at least three generations leaving in the same household. And while Hispanic millennials may want to strike out on their own, they are also more likely to still be living in their parents’ home. GenX, Boomers, millennial, and the upcoming Z generation have different cultural orientation. Such orientation that ranges from traditional to more liberal values giving marketers a gamma to play with.

Culture is additive, it’s not a zero sum game. I can be 100% and Latino and 100% American at the same time without giving up any part of my culture to become more American. Being Bi-lingual and Bi-cultural is a duality that is part of my reality everyday. I encourage you to not look at Hispanic culture as one overreaching guide. Instead look at the cultural orientation and focus on the cultural aspirational values for each Hispanic segment. For instance,

  • First generation Hispanics want a better future for their children
  • Latino millennials want to “stand out and be noticed. This group wants to become heroes, healers, and rescuers as well as small business owners
  • Latinas are the household CMO (chief medical officer) helping everyone be safe and healthy

Content - Create content that speaks to their aspirational values. Make it shareable.

For Latinos it's not about me, it’s about we. Hispanics make large decisions in a more collective setting with members in the household or family who may be at different levels of language proficiency. That’s a great opportunity to increase your touch points by a factor of three.

Creating content that speaks to how Latinos can achieve their aspirations will help you be relevant, increase engagement, and ignite dialogue among family and friends.

Ask the following questions:

  • How does this content help my audience move towards his/her aspirations?
  • How are we making it sharable?

I can’t talk about content without touching on language preference - Spanish, English or Bilingual. Pew Research reports that six in ten Hispanic adults living in the U.S. speak English or are bilingual. According to the U.S. Census, 38.4 million Hispanics (5 and older) in the United States spoke Spanish at home in 2013, a 120 percent increase since 1990. However more than half (58%) of Spanish speakers spoke English very well.

Spanish, English or Bilingual does have to be an either or proposition. Depending on your target audience, chances are you will need both to communicate properly to reach the Hispanic community.

According to a 2014 Nielsen’s Neuroscience study, conducted on Effects of Language in Advertising, Language Matters for Emotional Connection, Resonance, and Memory appropriate use of Spanish and Spanglish enhances resonance and memory. English language messaging may not be the most effective, unless audio and visuals are balanced with language. And Spanish/Spanglish may offer the biggest benefit when communicating to bilingual audiences. Although it can be tempting to just translate English to Spanish-language, remember that audio and visual clues play a crucial role in evoking emotions, creating resonance, and ad recall.

Context- Context is personal and like culture, one size does not fit all.

In media strategy, context is answering the why and how each Hispanics segments uses different media channels. In other words, understanding how a channel fits in to your customers life. This is important, because as media continues to evolve and get more fragmented, consumer behavior with existing channels will change as well.

One way to find out is doing  the following exercise:

My (audience) use this (media channel) to ______  in this circumstance _______

For instance:

  • First generation Hispanic males will use an Apple Watch to check phone messages because he can’t hear his phone.
  • Hispanic millennials use Twitter chats and Facebook to advance a cause or share important community information
  • A Spanish speaking mom uses Facebook and WhatsApp to keep in touch with family and friends in their countries.

With a more diverse Hispanic market and evolving media landscape that is becoming more and more fragmented, focusing on cultural orientation, generation’s media context, and developing aspirational content your Hispanic marketing strategy can influence an aha! moment, so your customers as like my son in law can say- I need to do this.

Hispanic Marketing

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