Hispanics are the fastest growing minority consumer group in the U.S., so it makes sense that companies are scrambling to find ways to successfully target their marketing strategies towards them. The Hispanic population in the U.S. has doubled in the past ten years, yet the community remains grossly underrepresented in the media.
Many companies think that replaying a commercial in Spanish equals effective marketing, as if that’s the only difference between Latino and Anglo households.
Multi-cultural marketing strategies are turning up all across the board from commercials to billboards, all with somewhat mixed reactions. But there are groups out there doing it right – here are six of them.
The Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA) named McDonald’s Marketer of the Year in 2014. The AHAA cites the fast food chain’s commitment to leading with ethnic insights, consistent focus on Latino research and business practices, and budgeting of multi-cultural business strategies. McDonald’s excels highly in part to their decision to have three separate marketing directors to focus on different ethnic segments (Asian American, African American and Hispanic). The company develops committees of 25 members, led by multi-cultural directors and employees, to create strategies and marketing content specifically for their target audience.
CNET proved that one of the best strategies for meeting the needs of a Latino market is to partner with high-profile Latino names. The company recently partnered with Latin World Entertainment, a marketing agency founded by “Modern Family” superstar Sophia Vergara, to reach a wider Hispanic audience. Together the two brands have developed partnerships with Hispanic-targeted ad agencies as well as teaming up with celebrity talent many Hispanic Americans are already familiar with. The companies have also used the partnership to create a Spanish-language tech site that appeals to younger, more tech-savvy customers.
AT&T rolled out its “Mobile Movement” campaign in March this year in effort to entice the young millennial generation to switch to AT&T’s service. The brand expanded on this by utilizing Spanglish to reach young Hispanic consumers. The home and wireless service provider developed ads that showcase young Hispanic Americans speaking about the difficulties they face in balancing living with two different cultures. AT&T claims the ads are very effective across both American and Latin American markets.
Latinos are reportedly 15 percent more likely to buy a Japanese auto brand, like Nissan, Honda, or Toyota, than any other group. And Latinos make up 20 to 30 percent of the brands’ overall consumers. Toyota, in particular, has been the top-selling brand for Hispanics for over 10 years thanks to effective marketing, like the “Somos Muchos Toyota” campaign and the implementation of Total Toyota earlier this year. Toyota created the Total Toyota strategy, or T2, to increase focus on minority communities and sales by heading up the project with a team of minority leaders in business.
DISH proved that combining English and Spanish-language programming is integral in connecting with modern Hispanic audiences. The satellite provider grew their Latino consumer base by offering packages that target bilingual households, combing two cultures into one with DishLatino. Hispanic families in America are becoming more culturally diverse as many younger generations are born in this country, making it even more important to include aspects of Hispanic culture in programming and advertising.
Wal-Mart proved that drawing in Hispanic customers often means opening your wallet. In 2013, the company spent almost $60 million in advertising campaigns specifically targeting Hispanic audiences. The superstore corporation also entered into a three-year partnership with Univision Communications, the largest Hispanic company in the U.S., to help develop customized content at the local level for Hispanic communities.
What has not worked?
For every brand that gets it right, there are those getting it wrong. A big failure in advertising to a Hispanic audience is using simple translation to convert English-speaking commercials into Spanish. For instance, the California Milk Processors Board famously neglected to consult an actual Spanish speaker when they converted their “Got Milk?” slogan to the squirm-inducing “Are You Lactating?” motto. Correct translation is everything.
Companies’ failure to spend enough money targeting Hispanic audiences, along with brand reluctance to engage in Latin-specific apps and media, causes companies to neglect a large portion of Hispanic consumers. Spanish-speaking youth can be just as tech-savvy as their English-speaking counterparts, though most businesses fail to recognize and capitalize on that aspect.
How will it affect business models?
The AHAA endorses a model that evaluates and uses the changing values of Latino culture to help businesses transition into more effectively targeting Hispanic audiences. Companies will need to move away from language-based marketing and move toward cultural values that represent the majority of Hispanic Americans.
Business owners will have to forge relationships with Latino and Latina business owners to help reach their already established audiences. Companies also need to recognize that a growing number of Hispanic consumers are bilingual and businesses should be able to bridge the language gap in advertising by incorporating both instead of only focusing on one language.
With Hispanic purchasing power approaching $1.5 trillion, this group is exceeding the purchasing power of every other minority in the country. Latino-owned businesses are also growing twice as fast as the national average, meaning Hispanic culture and needs are going to be a driving force in the industry, which is something businesses should certainly keep in mind.