By Monica Paul
We live in a dynamic world, as marketers we’d better do our best move to evolve and follow the pace of a changing environment. We live in a huge Babel Tower where companies struggle to take their message to all the inhabitants of this huge home called United States of America.
Lately the Hispanic consumer segment is on the radar of every Fortune 500 CMO. These are the facts and a good reason to invest in it: a 163% increase in Hispanic population between 2010 and 2050, this means the 30% of the population by 2050. One trillion dollars in buying power in 2010, rising to $1.5 trillion next year, an increase of 50% in five years which is now!
Spanish is the second most spoken language in almost all the U.S. states. Actually, Spanish floods the country except for two French areas in a few states near the Canadian border and Louisiana; and a German speaking spot in North Dakota. Yupik, a Native American language, is the second-most spoken language in Alaska; and Tagalog is popular in Hawaii thanks to the large Filipino population.
Companies willing to grow can tap a growth opportunity of up to 25% coming from this segment; however only few brands have a specific strategy for this audience. Using data from the American Community Survey conducted by the Census Bureau, where respondents were asked to list the languages spoken in their household. Is it easy to conclude that companies should develop targeted Spanish marketing strategies and copy-writing. Besides the dramatic facts mentioned above, keep on reading for more reasons:
1. Hispanic audience is everywhere. According to the Nielsen report Universal Studios promotes close to 80% of their releases annually to the Hispanic audience. Actually 10 million Hispanics watch mobile video more than six hours a month. Hispanics are 17% more likely to access web and email from their phones and tablets. They are heavy consumers of Apps too. Now, the American Community Survey conducted by the Census Bureau shows that from more than 50 million Hispanics living in the U.S., a 23.1% of the Latino households don’t speak English or speak it in a basic level. This means the trend is campaigns in Spanish.
2. Speak their culture, topicalize doesn’t meant translate. Covering the Hispanic market is much more than translating to Spanish. Culture is a language as well; although living in the same country, Hispanics and Americans are way two different cultures. Hispanic cultures have pretty rooted traditions and beliefs. This means that in order to succeed in this segment, products and services should be addressed differently; they need to become attractive and culturally relevant to this audience. For example, the U.S., banking system is pretty different from the banking system in most Latino countries, so in order to get them investing and opening accounts, clear explanations, instructions and customer care is crucial to gain this segment’s trust.
3. Hispanics make a constantly connected community. The U.S. Hispanic audience will only gain cultural and economic prominence in the coming years. This isn’t just sheer numbers; it is technology. Constantly connected consumers are influential ones, they are spreading ideas, culture and content. This works both ways, of course. With the appropriate campaigns, brands can make great use of digital communication to connect with this audience. Empathy is crucial, emotionally, this audience is more likely to engage when companies make the effort to speak their culture and language.
4. The translation’s risk. English and Spanish roots are totally different. Therefore translations are rarely accurate; actually when translating from English to Spanish and vice-versa an interpretation addressing the appropriate target language’s grammar and syntax is a must to make sure the message remains intact. This means that the development of an efficient bilingual campaign needs a copywriter for each language or one copywriter with full command of both languages. Slate published a typical example of these kind of errors in a political campaign. You can see it here.
5. Brand awareness and reputation leading to success. Investing in targeted campaigns for the Hispanic population in Spanish helps companies building up brand awareness a good reputation and positive results with a reasonable return of investment in a relatively short term. The Spanish speaking population strength is growing exponentially; a good example of this goes beyond Universal, Mattel or Fisher Price, just look at Hillary’s success as a brilliant Democrat candidate. She has been talking to the Hispanic population in their language; meaning in Spanish but also in terms of the Latino people interest. Just look at the news.
Executives may ask about the investment risk in an unknown segment. But the risk as well as the first investment are perfectly justified facing the opportunities it is offering. Managers best choice would be towards a multicultural marketing team with strategist and copywriters from both cultures and with both languages’ full command.
The list of benefits that brands can get is too long to be disregarded:
- More sales in less time
- Brand awareness and positioning
- A positive reputation in a rowing segment
- New ways and media to sell their products and services
- Gain a closer and long term relationship with clients in a growing segment
- Little risk with lots of new opportunities
The process of giving and receiving is a crucial part of nature’s rich abundance. This is simple, the more companies give this deference to the Hispanic segment by understanding their culture and talking to them in their language; the more benefits they will get in terms of sales, reputation and brand awareness. This is undoubtedly a win-win relationship.