While companies have now started allocating some of their advertising dollars to target the US Hispanic community, developed marketing strategies for this specific demographic are still relatively new. Advertisers continue to experiment and employ new campaigns that sound great on paper for campaigns targeting non-Hispanics, but not necessarily for the Latino-American population. Without understanding the basics, US Hispanic marketing campaigns fall flat before they can even get started. To help ensure this doesn’t happen, for any of your campaigns, here’s five things to fix or avoid with your current Hispanic marketing initiatives.
1. DON’T USE SPANISH THAT’S NOT USED BY THE HISPANICS YOU’RE TARGETING
Assuming your company has already progressed beyond the days when writing Hispanic ad copy meant writing the content in English and using a Spanish translator service or an employee who studied the language in college, using correct Spanish does not necessarily mean that your message will resonate with the Latino markets you’re targeting. As Hispanic population has grown with increases in immigrants and new births across Mexicans, Salvadorians, Ecuadorians, Argentines, Chileans, and more, the increases have also brought about different dialects depending on the country, and at times, regions from where the Latinos have initially been based. As an example, a car dealership or automotive manufacturer advertising a car would be fine using the word “coche” for Mexican-Spanish speakers; however, an ad using “coche” could also be misunderstood as an ad for a shopping cart by Ecuadorian-Spanish speakers.
However, even in this case, sometimes Spanish may not always be the best choice. For example, as Hispanic Millennials will have often been born and raised in the United States they will also identify with a cultural duality that significantly entwines the culture of their Heritage country with that of the American cultures where they were raised. As a result, their language preference will skew towards English, however, they will also remain rooted in Spanish language to maintain their cultural identity. Working with this knowledge, companies targeting the US Hispanic Millennial can gain an advantage by still using the English language, or even Spanglish to the extent where linguistics maintain a level of respect for the Spanish language, rooted in the heritage culture of young Hispanic adults.
2. DON’T GROUP ALL HISPANICS UNDER THE SAME CAMPAIGN
As the language has also increased a need for different linguistics to target different Hispanics within different markets, so too has the need for different campaigns to target different Hispanic cultures across different states, and at times within the same cities. While Mexicans may make up the vast majority of the Hispanic population across the country, in areas like New York and Miami, the largest Hispanic populations are from other countries such as Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, and Cubans. As such, campaigns that show high levels of ROI in California should not be expected to show the same return in other locations where the population may sway strongly towards Hispanic demographics of other cultures. Likewise, in New York, a campaign performing well in Manhattan where Dominican’s are the largest Hispanic population, may not perform as well in the Bronx, where they are outnumbered by Puerto Ricans.*
3. DON’T JUST TRANSLATE YOUR ENGLISH CAMPAIGNS FOR HISPANIC ADS
While this should be a no brainer, in many cases, there are campaigns still being launched that may have performed well in the English non-Hispanic market that will identify with the American only culture and ignore the tendencies of even the general Hispanic American market. Most recently, Covered California was working to encourage more Latinos to sign up for Obamacare. To accomplish this goal, the company ran campaigns highlighting that no one could be denied health insurance. However, the result did not prove to meet the campaign’s expectations, in large part due to a large percentage of the Hispanic population of California never having, or never applying for coverage.**
4. DON’T FORGET TO HAVE A DIGITAL ASPECT FOR YOUR CAMPAIGNS
The most successful campaigns, and most talked about campaigns have all had a digital marketing aspect to target Hispanics from their laptops, tablets, and, most importantly, mobile phones. Enter Ford Fiesta’s “Ready Pa Tu Mundo” campaign that initially ran in 2010. While launched a couple years ago, this campaign particularly designated what a digital campaign could help to provide through a specialty website, encouraged higher levels of social interaction for increased sharing, viral video, mobile marketing, and more. The success of the campaign saw more than 1,000 Fiestas sold to Hispanics in the first four months of the campaign as well as 125,000 people with interest shown in placing orders.*** The campaign also led to increases in fan growth, audience engagement, and hand raisers as per Dave Rodriguez, Multicultural Marketing Manager for Ford Motor Company.****
More recently, General Mills operated with a similar strategy for the Hispanic marketing campaigns by launching Que Rica Vida, which saw a 35% increase in traffic to their digital site between 2012 and 2013.*****
5. DON’T THINK MOBILE SECOND OR LAST FOR YOUR HISPANIC WEBSITE
According to the Pew Hispanic Center, 76% of Hispanics access the internet from a cellphone, tablet, or other mobile device.****** They also are more likely to over-index in mobile use for local shopping from everything to researching to actually making transactions.******* Without even looking at the new SEO indexing factors for mobile and mobile responsive sites vs. non-mobile sites, websites looking to target the mobile Hispanic audience should implement “mobile-first” strategies when looking to launch, relaunch, or redesign websites in order to create a more user friendly experience, cohesion between devices, and increase overall sales for purchase minded Hispanics.