Best Practices for Marketing to Latino Consumers

We are all aware of the dynamic growth of the US Hispanic market, not only in population but in spending power, cultural influence, and more. With an annual purchasing power eclipsing $1.7 trillion and a population of over 58 million, US Latinos are powerful influencers of brand market share and growth. The financial impact of effective strategies can make a dramatic difference to marketers’ bottom lines. Consider the sales growth within the personal care category alone; Nielsen notes that bar and liquid soap sales to Latino shoppers rose 9.5% in one year, while sales to the general population dropped 1.9%. Similar statistics can be found for sales of cosmetics, hand and body lotion, among many other categories.

Know Your Audience
As the US Latino population grows, comprising a larger share of the US population, implementing a dedicated marketing strategy specific to Latino consumers is increasingly important. But a successful consumer acquisition strategy cannot always be pared down to the lowest common denominator. Why? Because, by nature, the US Latino “market” defies definition. The question of who is the US Hispanic consumer defies answer. Diverse across seemingly infinite dimensions including country of origin, demographics, socioeconomics, US geographic area, level of acculturation, and more, individual Hispanic consumers have unique combinations of characteristics that influence varying personal and media consumption preferences.

Be Authentic
There are critical considerations for marketers who wish to engage US Hispanic consumers effectively. It’s not just about reaching them. It’s about relating with authenticity, making an impression, and earning an invitation into their lives. You should ensure that the brand-consumer experience is relevant and meaningful, beginning with awareness and throughout the customer journey and beyond.

Be Culturally Relevant
It is essential to understand whom you are targeting and make sure that your message is not conveyed in a pandering way but instead is relevant, relatable, thoughtful, and meaningful. This goes well beyond translation, as cultural nuances can be lost in translation. In many cases, it is essential to create the messaging in the language in which it will be delivered and in the manner that will be most relatable to the target audience. It involves understanding the existence of diversity and sub-segments across demographics. As an example, your messaging in Houston may be much different from your messaging in New York City or even Miami, as different communities have differing attitudes, preferences and cultural influences, attributes and elements of emphasis. Beyond language, this comprises everything that will be seen, heard, and felt through your message, in addition to key campaign considerations such as when, where, why, and how. Communication to Hispanic consumers must reflect understanding and genuine interest, with the recognition that one size does not fit all in this diverse market, irrespective of language.

Avoid Assumptions and Missed Opportunities
A recent article stated that to be effective, messaging to US Hispanic consumers must be in English and bypass traditional media like TV and radio. With the growth of digital and social media, it is easy to assume that traditional media is a thing of the past, but this is not the case. Radio and TV are still effective channels for reaching Hispanic audiences and should be considered and evaluated by individual strategy. According to Nielsen, “From la música to las noticias, Hispanic American adults are avid radio listeners. In fact, 97% of this population tunes in each week. And since 2011, the weekly national Hispanic radio audience has grown 11% (from 36.5 million to 40.4 million).” Identifying relevant channels for your target audience may involve a combination of options across media to optimize reach and delivery, and oversimplification may mean missed opportunities.

In a similar vein, although there are now more US-born Latinos than foreign-born, this does not mean they reject Latino cultural influences. In fact, according to Nielsen, “…the majority of Hispanics—no matter their age and country of origin—are retaining their unique identity and preserving their culture.” This brings us back to the most important takeaway for brands: the US Latino population truly does defy definition. Avoid the tendency to take the path of least resistance, the “one-size-fits-all” strategy, when it comes to marketing to the US Hispanic consumer. Seeing the world through their eyes is the first step to earning their trust—and their support of your brand.

How you go about developing relationships with Hispanic consumers matters. For more information about growing your business by connecting with Hispanic consumers, contact Posada Media. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.

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