October 14, 2014
By Sebastian Aroca
It's no longer news that the Latino market is one of the fastest-growing consumer segments in the U.S. and has been for years. Many companies are aware of and actively engage with this audience. Some brands focus on reaching U.S.-born Hispanic Millennial while others focus on reaching foreign-born first-generation Hispanics.
Of course, some companies attempt to cover the entire spectrum of Hispanic-Americans. Those targeting the broader Hispanic population are more likely to create culturally-sensitive marketing campaigns and initiatives in both English and Spanish and may also offer bilingual and Spanglish programming, depending on relevancy to the target audience. Such companies tend to use various strategies to reach Latinos, including organic, social and paid channels.
Common Mistakes in Latino Marketing
One common mistake is when businesses choose a marketing agency without multicultural and/or cross-cultural capabilities to work on a specifically Hispanic marketing initiative. This is akin to choosing a table saw to loosen a screw.
We agree that there’s enough complexity, to begin with, in choosing the right marketing model and approach to reach the Hispanic market, as discussed by Jose Villa in “Two Models for Two Hispanic Markets.” Furthermore, Hispanics are not a monolithic group and designing a strategy to include the right Latino audience requires know-how and market intelligence. For that reason, when clients opt to work with a general marketing agency focused on mainstream marketing to plan and execute a Latino initiative, it causes concern in the ranks of many specialized agencies who feel undermining Latinos in advertising is ineffective at best, insulting at worst. While there are no guarantees in marketing, a few things are certain when it comes to Latino-focused SEO, PPC, social media and mobile marketing campaigns:
1. Companies that want to build serious connections with the Hispanic market are best served when hiring an agency that specializes in this market or in multicultural markets as a whole. Such agencies have the expertise and specialized skill set needed to benefit the client, so everyone wins.
2. Companies that decide to work with agencies that don't have the expertise needed to understand Latino consumers tend to sabotage their own potential in reaching the Hispanic market and suffer from problems with their bottom lines as a result. Many of these agencies may be doing very well working with the general or mainstream market, but they often fall short when it comes to ethnic-centric initiatives. Translating keywords and content from English into Spanish is simply not sufficed. Businesses that take this path tend to take the nuances of the Hispanic culture for granted and fail because of it. So remember, when someone tells you the Hispanic market simply isn't profitable, remember they are most likely basing that judgment upon their own experiences of missing the mark.
Allocating Your Marketing Dollars: The Right Amount and With the Right Agencies
According to the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies (AHAA), the top 500 advertisers in the U.S. utilize between 5 and 6% of their budgets when targeting Latinos. These expenditures are a full 10% lower than the actual demographic presence of Latino consumers in the U.S. market.
Today, many companies plan insufficiently and don't do a good job executing campaigns for the Hispanic market. They then document their failures online, and other businesses become extremely skeptical about increasing budgets for Latino marketing. Unfortunately, many companies feel it is too risky to increase their budgets for Latino-centric marketing even though Hispanic-Americans make up approximately 16.7% of the U.S. population.
Because Latinos do make up such a significant 50+ million market segment, it simply makes sense for entrepreneurs and executives to allocate a few more dollars of their marketing budgets to target Hispanic-Americans. Of course, it's absolutely crucial to allocate funds to specialized agencies who can provide the right supporting team to choose the best Hispanic marketing strategy, model and approach and drive profits and ROI.
Source: Media Post