By Lisa Arthur (Forbes.com)
Cinco de Mayo is around the corner, and some brands are leveraging the holiday to roll out special promotions and discounts. (For example, Tyson Foods, Tabasco brand and Jose Cuervo’s nonalcoholic margarita mix have teamed up on a “Fiesta of Flavor” retail savings promotion.)
While I love the idea of engaging consumers around special events like holidays (and this Fiesta of Flavor campaigns seems like an innovative, multi-channel winner), I also want to add a few words of caution. If you’re a brand that wants to be more relevant to Hispanics (and you should be), it’s time to start thinking beyond Cinco de Mayo alone. These days, Hispanic marketing campaigns need to be comprehensive, consistent and year-round.
Why do you need to start focusing on the Hispanic market?
A recent Nielsen report doesn’t mince words. From State of the Hispanic Consumer: The Hispanic Market Imperative:
“The U.S. Hispanic population is the largest minority segment and is growing at a dramatic rate towards ethnic plurality, which has already occurred in the most populous states and is beginning to occur among the U.S. baby population. Ethnic plurality refers to the coexistence of numerous ethnicities and races with no one segment in the majority. If the present U.S. economy substantially benefits from Hispanics, the future U.S. economy will depend on Hispanics by virtue of demographic change and the social and cultural shifts expected to accompany their continued growth.”
As the report also points out, if it were a standalone country, the U.S. Hispanic market buying power ($1 trillion in 2010 and $1.5 trillion by 2015) would make it one of the top twenty economies in the world.
Hispanics are a primary driver of growth and change in the American marketplace, and marketers must recognize that engaging the Hispanic market is now an imperative for future success.
How can you reach the Hispanic population?
I can’t give you a foolproof formula (no one can), but I do know this: Hispanic consumers want what all consumers want –authenticity. Don’t make the mistake of relying on stereotypes or broad-based generalizations. Instead, get to know your target audience and customize your communication to speak to its individual needs.
For Latino populations, that means finding ways to relate your brand and your messaging to Hispanic culture, lifestyle, language preferences, media use, technology adoption, etc.
There are plenty of survey results offering clues to get you started in the right direction. The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project foundAfrican-Americans and Latinos are more likely than whites to use Twitter. Another study by comScore concluded that Hispanics are highly engaged with the Internet and new digital technologies and they tend to spend more per e-commerce transaction than non-Hispanics.
The Nielsen research I mentioned above is loaded with important information, too: Across all retail channels, Hispanics tend to shop less often, but spend more per trip; In several categories, Hispanics have different consumption growth rates than non-Hispanics; Hispanic name-brand loyalty prevails in three specific CPG categories with significant consumption – hair care, baby products and health and beauty; etc.
But, your job is to find what resonates for your brand. Here’s the key question: How can you make an authentic connection to Hispanics so that you can start truly engaging them and provide a relevant and personalized customer experience? My advice is to answer this all important question for your brand right away. Then, start testing and measuring so you can proceed with confidence.Execute, evaluate, evolve.
So, what’s the biggest mistake you can make about in marketing to Hispanics? For starters, relying on a one-hit-wonder campaign centered around Cinco de Mayo. Today’s Hispanic population is diverse, discerning and engaged –as such, it demands your consistent, thoughtful attention year-round.
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