How does a brand go about broaching a relationship with this coveted audience?
Unless your product is singularly germane to Hispanic culture, you may not spend much time targeting specifically to the U.S. Hispanic populace. That may be a mistake. New research shows that the economic impact of this market is on the rise. Hispanics are active, engaged, and ready to spend online.
In the May 2012 Advertising Age Insights Trend Report, "Cultural Connection" was the major trend. While Hispanic Americans identify strongly with the American culture they know so well, they also maintain strong ties to their roots. For digital marketers, measuring that "self-identity" can be a challenge, but not one that can't be overcome.
Efforts are well underway. Retailers are establishing Hispanic food aisles in their grocery stores, and brands are choosing Latino actors for their ads. Recently, the Milk Processor Education Program behind the famed "got milk" campaigns released a new collection of print, TV, and online ads as part of "The Breakfast Project" initiative. The ads feature Latina actress Salma Hayek as the organization's first bilingual spokesperson.
In February, the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced it would be enhancing its multilingual website to provide a more "complete" and "personalized" experience for Spanish-speaking users. And earlier this month, Telemundo Media and movie content and ticketing site Fandago embarked on a journey to launch Fandago Cine, what the companies are calling, "the first comprehensive and dedicated digital offering designed to reach U.S. Hispanic movie fans." The site is scheduled to go live later this year.
The purchasing power of U.S. Hispanics last year reached $1.1 trillion, reports say, and right along with the size of the population, it will only continue to grow. So how does a brand go about broaching a relationship with this coveted audience? Here are five easy ways to get you started.
Do your research. Since 2009, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has maintained a Hispanic Research Working Group. Look for new reports (the 2011 study can be found here), or join the group yourself in order to stay abreast of news and trends.
Establish knowledge-sharing partnerships. Few companies are as well equipped to teach you how to engage with Hispanics through digital media than the digital media properties themselves. Seek out partnerships with properties that have cultivated an expertise on the subject, such as Telemundo Media, AOL Latino, and Batanga, and let them help you experiment online to determine what kind of culturally relevant message works best for your brand.
Look for new opportunities. With so many companies eager to establish brand loyalty among Hispanic consumers, new placements are cropping up all the time. In addition to the potential of fresh sites like Fandago Cine, a new teen Spanish language reality series called "Sayulita Life" stands to provide integrated branding opportunities both online and off. Marketing entertainment company Hollywood Branded says the Puerto Vallarta-based show will resemble a Mexican "Laguna Beach" and will air on MTV and VH1 stations come August. Media buyers with Spanish-speaking 18-25-year-olds in your sights, take note.
Don't overlook social media. It may not come as a surprise to learn that Hispanic Millennials (aged 18 to 34) rely on social media more than non-Millennials (aged 35 and older) do, but in fact, both demographics can be found on the sites en masse. According to the Ad Age report, 86 percent of Hispanic Millennials use Facebook compared with 47 percent of non-Millennials. And it gets better: marketers can now target Hispanics through self-serve Facebook advertising, as ClickZ recently reported (Facebook has about 7.7 million U.S.-based Hispanic users aged 18 and over to date).
Leverage cross-media marketing. One of the most interesting barometers for digital engagement among potential consumers is always their willingness to engage with brands online. In this sense U.S. Hispanics certainly don't disappoint. The same Ad Age report finds that 55 percent of those Hispanic consumers for whom family, heritage, and community are particularly important go online to research a product after seeing a TV spot. Forty-four percent have scanned a mobile tag or barcode, while 36 percent are likely to click on a mobile ad.
Hispanic consumers in the U.S. represent a highly valuable audience for digital marketers. They're ready to speak to our brands online. It's time we put more effort into creating campaigns that speak to them.
Tessa Wegert is a business reporter and former media strategist specializing in digital. In addition to writing for ClickZ since 2002, she has contributed to such publications as USA Today, Marketing Magazine, Mashable, and The Globe and Mail. Tessa manages marketing and communications for Enlighten, one of the first full-service digital marketing strategy agencies servicing such brands as Bioré, Food Network, illy, and Hunter Douglas. She has been working in online media since 1999.
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