Hispanic Marketing is an All-Year Pursuit

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ADOTAS — Hispanic Heritage Month, which ran this year from September 15 to October 15, is designed to celebrate the unique contributions of the Hispanic American community. But are we as marketers doing all that we can to ensure Hispanics are being recognized as unique consumers as well? An increasing amount of marketers are beginning to understand that Hispanic Heritage Month can actually be EVERY month. Emerging ethnicities demand a full year’s worth of attention.

If you need convincing, consider the facts. The Hispanic population is extremely lucrative, as Hispanics significantly outspend non-Hispanics in several markets. For those who are skeptical, the latest American Marketscape DataStream Report found that Hispanic households are projected to spend over $400,000 more in their remaining lifetimes than non-Hispanic White households. Further proof, a recent study by Geoscape, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, shows that in back-to-school spending alone, Hispanic households increased by over 54.9 percent between 2003-2011. Compare that to non-Hispanic households, which grew 35.6 percent in the same timeframe.  As Hispanics spend significantly more than their counterparts, we need to be making more of an effort to get to know these consumers on a personal level.

Who is the Hispanic Consumer?

Traditionally, marketers have targeted minority groups based solely on language or skin color. But in order to be successful, it’s important understand that behaviors differ greatly based on country of origin, current location and socio-economic status. Spanish speakers can originate from many different areas around the globe, including: Mexico, Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Guatemala, etc.; all of which possess unique traditions, behaviors and preferences.

Mexican-origin Hispanics form the majority of Hispanics in the U.S.; followed by Puerto Ricans, Salvadorans, Dominicans and Cubans. With today’s technology, we are able to gain further insight, with the ability to view where groups of these specific subcultures reside in the U.S. and allow them to communicate with those consumers through each subculture’s preferences.  In order to track these preferences, there is a new marketing term has emerged called the consumer’s “CultureCode®.” CultureCode measures the degree to which people of a certain heritage in the United States retain elements of their culture while simultaneously acquiring elements of the American culture. It’s a granular approach that digital multicultural marketing requires.

Next steps

In order to ensure your message is reaching the desired population, you need to begin by identifying the behaviors of the subculture. This can be done by determining socio-economic status, income, life stage, country of origin, media usage and shopping behaviors. Then it’s important to take advantage of today’s targeting technology, which codes households, individuals, retail trade areas or ZIP codes to localize your marketing efforts. Finally, by enhancing current Customer Information Files (CIF) with cultural characteristics, CultureCodes, language preferences and media habits, you can tailor your brand messaging and customer experience to their specific preferences – using the “PLatino Rule” of targeted marketing.

As America grows increasingly diverse and we realize the value of the Hispanic consumer, it’s important to remember that diversity exists within the Hispanic community and that getting to know this community is well worth the investment.  Let us as marketers lead the charge to celebrate Hispanic Heritage all year instead of limiting it to a mere 30 days.

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