Understanding Acculturation & The Hispanic Market

By Vivian Acosta uSamp.com

In a previous post, Gregg Lavin introduced uSamp’s Hispanic Panel. A large part of getting access to the Hispanic market is tapping into the multiple segments. One can get very granular in segmenting the market by country of origin, but understanding acculturation level is critical. Why? Acculturation has a large impact on behaviors and needs which directly translate into specific purchasing behaviors and brand awareness.

It is important to understand and clearly define the unacculturated Hispanic segment because their consumer needs and behaviors are markedly different than the acculturated segment. Acculturated Hispanics have adopted the culture, and they are more likely to demonstrate consumer behavior, which is similiar to the general market. Conversely, the unacculturated population is comprised of those who have not relinquished the behaviors, attitudes, and traditions of their origin and as such demonstrate different behaviors, which brands certainly need to decipher. Simply put, when brands fail to segment the Hispanic market in this manner, they often fall short in their marketing and product development ventures.

How can market researchers better understand this complex and diverse audience? It is essential to gain expertise in this market, invest in tapping new, unique sources, in order to help clients glean the business insights that have been out of grasp for far too long.

Can Panel Suppliers Learn The Language?

Building an unacculturated Hispanics panel presents challenges that suppliers don’t face in other markets: How do we cultivate an experience unique to them? Cultural immersion is very difficult to measure, and there are many questions to consider before reaching out to a particular audience. Do we speak to the unacculturated Hispanics as Latinos in English, or in the language they’re comfortable speaking?

We started by studying the Hispanic consumption of media. The key is to find out where they are and speak to them in the language they understand in both traditional and new media channels. Hispanics’ presence on social media platforms is extraordinarily powerful, as these channels present a level of comfort — a trusted community where individuals can communicate in their mother tongue. A recent study revealed that Hispanics are more active on social media channels than other ethnicities, 27% of Internet users spending six or more hours engaging on these platforms.

Perhaps Jose Cancela, principal of Hispanic USA, said it best when he noted, “We [Hispanic audiences] want to be courted in the language we make love in, for most of us, that would be in Spanish.”

Nike, Macy’s, Ikea and H&M are just a few of many multinational brands that offer their products in Spanish in order to reach unacculturated Hispanics, as they have realized the importance of breaking down the language barrier. So what was our takeaway from all of this?

When developing our private-label panel, SúperOpinión, we wanted to give our members the option to fully customize their account – language preference, email invitation frequency, etc. Additionally, they can begin the registration process from their mobile devices and access hundreds of customizable rewards: from online gift cards to airline miles. By building and managing our own proprietary rewards engine, we strive to bring panelists an unparalleled user-experience and retain them for the long-haul. We realized that no two panelists are alike, and we wanted to build an environment that accommodated their diverse needs. This is only the beginning of our efforts to engage and build these audiences, and hope that we keep reinforcing our central mission: panelists are people.

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