Hispanic Marketing Insight
from Garcia 360

Hispanics Need White Flour Too (November, 2003)

When targeting the Hispanic market, most advertising agencies make a crucial mistake; they neglect to see the Hispanic as a consumer. The Hispanic shopper is, first and foremost, a purchaser with the same needs and desires as any other consumer of goods and services. By separating Hispanics and basing decisions solely on "cultural" attributes, a marketer can miss crucial lifestyle and life-stage needs which may be more persuasive.

The implications for marketers can be beneficial. For example, thinking of the Latino consumer as a part of the overall customer landscape can help you integrate them into research, creative executions and other aspects of the marketing mix, which will reduce overall costs.

The point is, do not rush to figure out what is different from your target consumer and your Hispanic consumer. Instead, first rush to figure out what is common. The crucial differences will reveal themselves at that point.

Tips and Tactics:
Advice for companies considering "multicultural" marketing

  1. You will need more than one "multicultural" agency. The truth is, different folks need different strokes, and if you want a campaign that will truly provide depth into all "ethnic" markets, you have to be willing to invest in more than one company. More often than not, clients get shortchanged by companies that can only offer a surface understanding of ethnic consumers.

  2. Find a common thread to your campaigns. To avoid fragmentation of your brand through the variety of messages that you might need to employ to capture all ethnic markets, set some ground rules as to the elements of visual styles that need to be used across all marketing channels.

  3. Assign each agency or company a separate budget. When working on a multicultural campaign, it is tempting to budget an allotted sum and then have the agencies "work it out among themselves." The result is rivalry instead of cooperation.

  4. Meet face to face with all agency leads monthly. This promotes integration and allows you to work through inter-agency issues face-to-face. It provides a great forum for brainstorming and for decision-making as well, since there are fewer people and decision- makers ready to solve problems.

  5. Don't forget the influencers. In ethnic markets, it is often not the actual target that makes the purchasing decisions, but their "influencers," i.e., parents, children, the local pastor. It is vital to remember that for many ethnic populations these influencers are just as important to target as the primary consumer.

Five Things to Consider Before Marketing to the Hispanic Consumer (November, 2003)

  1. Loyality
    Hispanics display more brand loyalty to companies which make an effort to market in Hispanic communities and are known to support the Hispanic community. Brand commitment is achieved through long-term relationship building and on-going communications.

  2. Credit
    Companies wishing to invest in the Hispanic market need to understand how most purchases are completed. As a group, Hispanics historically have not had the same access to credit as other market segments.They also have the lowest rate of credit acceptance, although Hispanics are steadily gaining ground as the financial sector adjusts credit policies to capture this important market segment.

  3. Word-of-mouth
    Hispanics tend to be information-sensitive shoppers. Word of mouth recommendations play a key role in purchase behavior and brand choice.

  4. Language
    If you sell to a customer in Spanish, you need to be prepared to service that customer in Spanish. If a company uses a Spanish-language communication piece, make sure the back-end is set up to service Spanish speakers.

  5. Customer service
    The overall cost of acquiring a Hispanic consumer over the phone may be higher because Hispanics often seek additional information and may not make a decision to purchase before placing the call. Rapport-building with the customer is key.

Time for an Understanding of the Hispanic Market (October, 2003)

The Hispanic marketplace is evolving quickly, primarily due to acculturation patterns among the age segments within the audience. According to the 2000 U.S.Census, 60 plus percent of Hispanics are under 28 years of age. This group is increasingly more comfortable communicating in English, and actually may prefer to speak English, as compared to the 55 plus demographic, where half prefer to speak and read in Spanish.

Part of the balancing act in marketing to Hispanics is advertising in Spanish to the current Hispanic market while courting future consumers, who will emerge as fluent in English and Spanish and much more acculturated than their parents.

The Role of Aculturation in Hispanic Marketing

Acculturation involves integrating one's cultural values with that of the dominant or "host" culture. By understanding these differences, marketers can structure market plans to meet the needs of the overall consumer target.

Acculturation plays a role in helping to understand personal and cultural experiences that need to be considered in the development of messaging and tactics. Acculturation also dictates the strategic overlay that makes the context and content of communication more relevant to the Hispanic audience.

Integrated marketing vs. segmented marketing, which to choose, why it is necessary.

In traditional marketing, the marketing mix is usually defined as the 4Cs: customer value, cost to the consumer, convenience for the buyer, and communication. In the Hispanic marketing mix, communication and public relations are essential to reach the consumer and to make the right impression. A stand-alone Hispanic marketing strategy cannot adequately reach Hispanic consumers who have become increasingly wise, less trusting, and more aware of value choices.

A customer-focused Hispanic marketing strategy recognizes that it takes more than a one-dimensional strategy, like media segmentation, to garner brand usage and loyalty. Strategic alignment and investment can effectively position brands allowing Hispanic consumers to differentiate between them.

Finally, an integrated Hispanic marketing strategy needs to be consistent and supportive of the overall non-Hispanic corporate strategic objective. Companies with the best understanding of the Hispanic market's contribution to revenue growth will find themselves in the best position to thrive over the long-term. The greater loyalty a company engenders in the Hispanic market, the greater the profit it will reap.

Articles by Luis Garcia in The CEO Refresher Archives

Face-to-Face, One-to-One Marketing and Hispanics
by Luis Garcia

What does it mean when someone tells you Hispanics are a "relationship marketing" population? If your current Hispanic marketing program does not include a relationship marketing component, you might want to have a little face-to-face with your ad agency.

Five Things About the Hispanic Market
by Luis Garcia

Hispanics are what has traditionally been considered a "niche" or minority population, but with some 36 million people, they account for 13% of the U.S. population. (One must wonder if the term "niche" market still applies).

Did You Mean “Leather” or “Naked”? (June, 2003)

Spanish is popping up everywhere. From street slang to food items, the Spanish language is enjoying the recognition of slowly becoming America's "second" tongue. And, of course, as companies tune into the Hispanic consumer, they also start tuning into Español. But just how tuned in are they?

The textbook example for mistranslation is the Chevy NOVA. Advertising folklore often uses this fiasco (Nova in Spanish means "no go," a car that doesn't run) to point out how companies need to be aware of the potential for missteps in mistranslations. And while in general most companies do right by their Spanish materials, there are still bad examples and practices to avoid.

The most common mistake occurs when marketers do not pay enough attention as to who is translating their material from English to Spanish. Surprisingly, companies often turn to an employee who speaks Spanish as their translator, assuming that, because this person speaks the language, they can also write and read it, which is not often the case.

However, what many fail to realize is that this in-house person also carries with them the slang learned from his parents and family, which is highly regionalized country of origin-centric. So, what they might read into the word, cuero, for example, is “leather,” but what people from other regions might read into it is “naked,” another possible definition of the same word. Wouldn't an airline be surprised to learn that if they wanted to tell people they are now flying in leather seats and instead told their clientele that they could now fly in their seats naked!

The second most common mistranslation mistakes result from the type of translator used. Most companies should not assume a translator will accurately get the meaning behind their writing. Most professional translators are just that, professional translators, whose job is to literally translate, not look for the meaning behind the message.

Marketers need to hire Spanish copywriters who understand the strategy alongside the intended message and can transcreate, not just literally translate, the copy. That is one mistake that a fast food restaurateur made when they literally translated "now open late" and ended up warning their Spanish customers that they, "open late now," potentially causing many clients to think that they were closed during key parts of the day.

In general, it’s not funny when a companies’ marketing work, money, strategy, and research goes down the drain thanks to one faulty translation. It is crucial to know who is translating and make sure that it is the right person for the job. Think about it this way. Would you put an accountant in charge of your creative department or vice versa? So why would you put an unqualified translator in charge of representing your company to one of your most important growth markets today? Exactly.

Parents Guard the Doors to the Vital Hispanic Youth Market (May 2003)

With one out of five babies born in the U.S. today is Hispanic; the Latino youth market is a vital niche, especially in urban centers. And the 2000 census showed Hispanic families migrating outside the "traditional" Southwest into Southeastern states, where they are spreading the influence their children will have in rural and suburban towns.

Targeting such a diverse and increasingly bilingual population is not easy. Latino youth have so many distractions that marketing messages aimed at them must also be reinforced at home, by the most influential gatekeepers of all -­ parents.

As companies consider ways to target Latino youth, they should take these insights into consideration:

  1. Hispanic/Latino tweens are intentionally isolated from messages or activities that parents see as threatening to family boundaries or irrelevant to their lives.

  2. Immigrant tweens face added pressures and responsibilities that force them to take on adult roles, i.e. learning English and acting as interpreters on their parent's behalf.

  3. As the Hispanic/Latino tween grows, fitting in requires negotiation between his culture and mainstream popular culture. Often "fitting in" is about taking parts of both and finding a comfortable balance. While some kids can, others, especially new immigrants, often have a hard time.

As the Latino Youth market grows in size and influence, it will be vital to work with companies that know how to position and sell to this population.

Luis Garcia is the founder and managing director of Garcia 360°, a San Antonio-based Hispanic communications agency specializing in integrated strategies. Garcia 360° helps clients assess opportunities in the Hispanic market, prepare services for their consumers/influencers, develop marketing plans, and creative to achieve business goals.

Contact Visibility Public Relations for additional information.

Many more articles in Sales & Marketing in The CEO Refresher Archives


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